The Ultimate N26 Review: Currencies, Money Transfers, Exchange Rates, and Monito's Verdict

Sep 28, 2021

N26 is a good digital banking option (8.4/10) recommended by Monito for its low-cost debit card spending options (8.8/10) and savvy mobile app and account features (8/10). On top of its app and low costs, N26 also garners excellent feedback from customers (8.7/10) and operates as a fully-fledged bank in the EU, making it a robust alternative to traditional banks (7.9/10).

What Monito Likes About N26

  • Integrated with Wise for international money transfers;
  • A secure current account with a licensed bank;
  • Instant transfers to most other SEPA bank accounts;
  • The standard plan is practically free for everyday use.

What Monito Dislikes About N26

  • A 1.70% fee for foreign currency ATM withdrawals;
  • A lack of standard banking services that some may be looking for;
  • Upgrade needed for unlimited, fee-free cash withdrawals.
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Monito's Recommendation

One of the cheapest banking options available to EU residents, N26 shines when it comes to low-cost everyday use, and we therefore recommend the bank if you're looking for a smart, digital-only alternative to traditional banks in Europe (especially if you don't plan to withdraw frequently at the ATM). If you'd like to get a better picture of how N26 compares to its alternatives, then you can compare travel cards on Monito instead:

Who Is N26 For?

N26 is available to new customers in the US, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, and most of the EU, except for Bulgaria, Malta, Cyprus, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Lithuania, and Latvia.

N26 offers Euro-based accounts in Europe (even outside the Eurozone) and dollar-based accounts in the US.

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How Monito Reviewed N26's Services

As with all services reviewed by Monito, N26 underwent a rigorous evaluation to assess the quality of its service. To begin with, our experts analysed several key criteria, including customer reviews, the percentage cost of various transaction types, top-up options, access to customer service, as well as business and legal metrics such as revenue, appropriate authorisation, and company size. As with all Monito Scores, N26's score was peer-reviewed by at least one Monito expert.

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Trust & Credibility

7.9

Background check

Licensed as a bank in Germany and regulated by BaFin, the country's financial regulatory authority.

Security & reliability

Accounts are fully secured using segregated user accounts and HTTPS and cards are 3-D Secure.

Company size

Around 7 million customers and 1,500 employees worldwide.

Transparent pricing

A full overview of pricing is very accessible, although it doesn't provide every fee as per the regulator-standard fee schedule.

Is N26 Safe?

Yes, N26 is a very safe and trustworthy bank, and just because the company has no branches it is no less trustworthy than any other European bank. N26 has held a full banking license from the German regulator BaFin since 2016 and offers customers deposit protection of €100,000.

Compared to conventional banks, in our opinion, N26 customers are even better protected against fraud. You can set the daily limit of your debit card yourself in the N26 app. In addition, you will receive a push notification with every transaction, informing you of what is happening in real-time.

Logins and online purchases that exceed a certain purchase value must also be confirmed via the mobile app, and you can also generally deactivate your card for certain transactions.

You can find out more about the security aspects of N26 here.

Service & Quality

8.0

Using the mobile app

Well-designed and smooth interface with many interesting features, including 'Spaces' and in-app card freeze.

Managing the account

Overdraft and multiple top-up methods are available, but only one currency is supported.

Contacting support

FAQ and live chat are available on the standard plan, but phone support isn't available to all users.

Making card payments

Contactless, online payments, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and social payments are all supported.

N26's Service Quality

N26 is a internet-only bank accessible through a mobile phone app or online banking service. N26 is currently available across Europe and the US and is expanding rapidly. N26 provides a variety of simple banking services for busy people. It offers international money transfers through a partnership with the popular currency exchange provider, Wise (formerly TransferWise).

Currently, N26 offers transfers into 36 other currencies, but account balances are only possible in one, the Euro (for European clients) or the US dollar (for American clients).

Some banking services are not available through N26, including cash deposits, credit cards, and cash payouts outside of using an ATM. Also note that it is not possible to make a foreign currency transfer in the app from an N26 business account or to make transfers to businesses.

For free, worldwide ATM cash withdrawal, you will need to pay a monthly fee for the 'N26 Black' service. Free cash withdrawals from an ATM in your home country are set by N26 and vary depending on where you’re located.

Which Current Accounts Does N26 Offer?

N26 offers four different current accounts for private individuals. In addition to the free existing account, three chargeable variants are offered. These are 'N26 Smart', a relatively inexpensive entry-level account with telephone support, 'N26 You' an account for international lifestyles with a colourful debit card that is primarily intended to offer advantages to travellers, and 'N26 Metal', an extended 'N26 You' with a metal debit card.

Which checking account is worthwhile for you depends primarily on your needs and preferences. If you travel a lot and often withdraw cash from abroad, the “You” account can pay off. The "Metal" account, on the other hand, offers relatively few additional functions for the surcharge and therefore serves more as a statement.

As long as you have no problems with the N26's online chat function, we would not recommend the "Smart" account because there are hardly any additional extras apart from telephone support.

Most customers, on the other hand, will be delighted with the free checking account. Therefore, we will concentrate on this in this article and keep the paid variants in the back of our minds for now.

Is N26 Really Free?

As already mentioned, there is a free and a paid current account at N26. The free version has no basic fees and only costs money if you use additional services. A monthly receipt of funds is also not required. So you are free to use the N26 account as a second or third account.

It is important to note that the actual use of the account, i.e. receiving amounts of money and paying with the Mastercard, are generally free of charge. Withdrawing cash is also included for up to 3 withdrawals per month, at least in Europe. Anyone who draws money more often pays a flat fee of €2.00 per withdrawal.

The following services are included in the N26 basic account:

  • A transparent Mastercard;
  • Worldwide free payments (contactless, Apple Pay, etc.);
  • 3 Free cash withdrawals in Europe;
  • All app features (support via chat, 3D secure, etc.);
  • Wire transfers and other banking functions;
  • German bank details (IBAN).

Fees & Exchange Rates

9.3

Everyday use

Zero everyday costs such as monthly fees, transfer fees, and local ATM withdrawal fees.

ATM withdrawals

Free up to 3 withdrawals per month in the Eurozone.

Online spending

Ordinary online spending comes at no cost in the default currency, although a small Mastercard conversion fee may apply for spending in a foreign currency.

Holidaymaking

Fees are quite low for overseas spending, although a 1.7% ATM withdrawal fee does apply.

N26's Fees and Exchange Rates

Every N26 bank account comes with a Mastercard. The free current account includes a transparent debit card that you can use to pay in almost all stores worldwide. With some N26 partners, you will also receive special discounts and offers when you shop with your N26 Mastercard.

For an additional fee of €5.00, you can also get a Maestro card that you can use as a backup in an emergency. This is also recognized by the partner companies. Until 2020, payments in foreign currencies at N26 generally cost 1.70% of the invoice amount, but this is now 100% free of charge for all customers. The free N26 account is already suitable as a practical travel credit card.

Cash withdrawals are also possible abroad and are billed at a flat rate of 1.70% of the invoice amount. In contrast to withdrawing money in the EU, there is no limit.

These are the fees for withdrawing money abroad:

Withdrawing cash from ATMs using a debit card

  • N26 Standard: 3 free ATM withdrawals per calendar month
  • N26 Smart/You: 5 free ATM withdrawals per calendar month
  • N26 Metal: 8 free ATM withdrawals per calendar month
  • N26 Maestro card: €2.00 per withdrawal

Withdrawing cash using a debit card in currencies other than euros

  • N26 Standard/Smart: 1.70% of the amount withdrawn
  • N26 Maestro card: €2.00 + 1.70% of the amount withdrawn

What Are N26’s International Wire Fees and Exchange Rates?

N26 does not list fees or exchange rates for N26 on their website, as they are only available from within the app when you decide to make a transfer. We know that Wise charges among the best exchange rates and lowest fees of all money transfer specialists, but we cannot confirm if these are the same rates and fees offered through the N26 mobile app.

N26 states that there are no hidden fees when making a transfer through the N26 app, and they say it is up to six times cheaper than a traditional bank.

If N26 does offer the same exchange rates as Wise, here’s how much it would cost to transfer money...

Sending 1,000 Euros to US Dollars

  • Mid-market exchange rate: €1.00 to US$1.1183
  • Exchange rate offered by Wise: €1.00 to US$1.1183
  • Fee charged by Wise: €4.23
  • The beneficiary receives: 1,113.57 USD

Wise offers the exact exchange rate as the base exchange rate, meaning you won’t pay any hidden fees. The only additional fee Wise charges is their service fee, which is very competitive.

Wise is often the least expensive, fastest, and most reliable money transfer business in most of our specialist currency provider comparisons.

If you want to know more about hidden fees in the exchange rate, take a look at our guide on how banks and money transfer operators make money with hidden fees.

Alternatively, to find the best travel card option to suit your needs (and see how N26 compares to the rest), run a search on Monito's real-time travel money comparison engine below:

Compare N26’s Travel Card Alternatives

Best Multi-Currency Cards Compared

To get a better picture of how N26's pricing compares to that of other multi-currency alternatives, take a look at the table below:

N26

Monese

Revolut

Wise

Currency Conversion Cost

0.00%

2.50% on weekdays (3.50% on weekends)

0.00% (first €1,000.00, 2.00% thereafter)

0.35% - 2.85%

Foreign ATM Fee

1.70%

£1.50/€1.50 + 2.00%

0.00% (first €200.00 per month, 2.00% thereafter)

0.00% (first €200.00 per month, 2.00% thereafter)

Card Delivery Fee

€10.00/£10.00

€0.00/£0.00

€5.50/£4.99

€5.00/£5.00

Trustpilot Score

3.9/5

3.5/5

4.4/5

4.6/5

Monito Promo

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Enter MONITO21 when signing up to get £5 after the first card transaction (excl. ATM) and £15 after spending £500*.

Free card delivery with the link below

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Go to N26Go to MoneseGo to RevolutGo to Wise

Last updated: 28/09/2021

Customer Satisfaction

8.7

Customer review score

Average Trustpilot rating of 3.9 out of 5 stars.

Number of positive reviews

Nearly 15,000 four- and five-star reviews.

N26 Customer Satisfaction

N26 has fairly good reviews on Trustpilot with a satisfaction score of 3.9/5. Over 18,500 people have left reviews, and we provide a summary of positive and negative comments below:

Positive N26 Reviews

  • Simple, well-designed, and slick mobile application;
  • High in-app security;
  • Opening an account is very smooth;
  • Straightforward banking solutions.

Negative N26 Reviews

  • Regulatory steps can make opening an account burdensome;
  • Customer service can be slow to respond.

Frequently Asked Questions About N26

Other In-Depth Guides by Monito

Wise Multi-Currency Review
January 10, 2022 - by François Briod
Revolut Review
September 27, 2021 - by François Briod
Best EU/EEA Digital Banks
January 3, 2022 - by Byron Mühlberg
Best UK Challenger Banks
January 3, 2022 - by Byron Mühlberg
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Global Impact Finance Ltd
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Switzerland

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