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N26 vs Wise

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N26 vs Wise Multi-currency Account: Is Wise Better Than N26? Which Can I Trust?

Aug 15, 2022
Affiliate disclosure

N26 and Wise's Multi-Currency Account are two world-class fintech services that offer a range of useful features and services to users. While the two have some similarities (including the fact that Wise's money transfer technology is built into N26's banking platform), Wise's bank-like multi-currency account is ultimately a very different offering to N26, a fully-fledged direct bank geared toward a slightly different market.

Upon closer inspection, N26 and the Wise Multi-Currency Account both provide a range of modern financial services through modern mobile apps. N26 offers a fully-featured current account, while the Wise Multi-Currency Account is designed to make international money transfers quickly and easily.

If you’re trying to choose between the two, we have the information you need. We’ve carried out the research and explored the facts, so you can make an informed decision. 

recommendation icon

Wise vs N26

Wise: Generally, we recommend Wise's Multi-Currency Account for expats and travellers due to its flexible cross-border payments options.

N26: We recommend N26 as a banking alternative for EU and Brazilian nationals. N26 does not have a multi-currency account but is an excellent travel card within the European Economic Area.

N26
8.0
Wise Multi-Currency Account
9.3

Trust & Credibility

Background check

Background check
Background check

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

Regulated by the FCA and HMRC in the UK and the relevant authorities in all operating counties.

Security & reliability

Security & reliability
Security & reliability

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

Lacks a banking license, but uses segregated user accounts, HTTPS, and 3-D Secure.

Company size

Company size
Company size

Around 7 million customers and 1,500 employees worldwide.

Over 10 million customers and nearly $565 million in annual revenue.

Transparent pricing

Transparent pricing
Transparent pricing

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

A full overview of pricing is easily accessible and provides every fee as per the regulator-standard fee schedule.

N26 vs Wise: Which can I trust?

Both N26 and Wise are large and legally licensed firms that you can trust with your money. Both are regulated by the competent authorities in every jurisdiction that they operate, making them equally recommendable in this regard.

Wise scored higher on our trust metrics mostly because they're a larger company. With over 10 million customers globally, Wise is larger than N26, which has around 7 million customers only in the EU/EEA and Brazil. We also found Wise’s fees to be easier to access than N26’s, which counted in their favour (although we didn't have the impression that either company was trying to obscure or hide any fees).

The major difference between N26 and Wise is the type of licenses that each company has. With a full bank license in the EU/EEA and Brazil, N26 is able to offer deposit protection of up to €100,000 in the case of bankruptcy, overdraft, and other debt instruments. 

Is Wise a Bank?

Wise, on the other hand, is not a licensed bank, and instead partners with licensed banks to provide its international services to you. As an Electronic Money Institution, Wise cannot offer debt or investment services to its Multi-Currency Account customers. This limitation to its services does not affect its safety, however. Wise is required by law to keep your money safe and segregated from its own account. That means that if Wise goes out of business, your money will be unaffected and be refunded to you in full. 

Does N26 Have a USD Account?

N26 does not have a USD account, and only holds Euros in its accounts for its EU/EEA clients. Wise has a far more global reach than N26 does, and this is due largely to the types of licenses with which they operate. With a banking license from Germany’s BaFin regulation institution, N26 offers its bank accounts only to citizens and residents of EU/EEA countries and Brazil. N26 also recently announced that it would focus its business on Europe, no longer offering accounts to American citizens or UK citizens.

Best Borderless Bank Account

Wise, on the other hand, offers its multi-currency card to residents in the UK, US, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Switzerland and EEA. Wise works with 10 countries to connect your card to unique bank account details (including a European IBAN, American account number, and a UK sort code).

Does Wise Have a Banking License?

Wise does not have a banking license and is instead regulated as an electronic money institution. It is also regulated by each competent authority to conduct international payments in each of the available currencies. For example, Wise is regulated by FiCEN for operating in the United States with USD and by the FCA in the UK with British pounds.

N26

Wise

🖊 Licensing

Bank (BaFin)

E-Money Institution (FCA)

📃 FSCS-Insured

💰 Profitable

📈 Publicly Listed

Try N26 ❯Try Wise ❯
N26
8.0
Wise Multi-Currency Account
8.9

Service & Quality

Using the mobile app

Using the mobile app
Using the mobile app

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

Slick and well-designed with interesting features, including transfer scheduling, a virtual card, and spending statistics.

Managing the account

Managing the account
Managing the account

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

Supports many currencies and top-up methods, but overdraft, joint accounts, and interest aren't available.

Contacting support

Contacting support
Contacting support

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

FAQ, live chat, and phone support are readily available, although not 24/7.

Making card payments

Making card payments
Making card payments

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

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

N26 vs Wise: Which Has the Better Account & Card?

It will be hard to go wrong with either Wise or N26. They are leaders in their industries, innovating digital and fee-free solutions to online bank account management and foreign payments. Both are connected to 3-D secure debit cards, easy-to-use mobile apps, and direct debiting.

Best Multi-Currency Online Bank Account

The question will come primarily down to if a multi-currency account is critical to your needs. With a Wise account, you will be able to hold and save up to 52 different currencies at any one time, and access any of them with a single card — an incredible innovation. N26, on the other hand, only offers one current account in euros (€). 

Even still, N26 has partnered with Wise to offer its customers unlimited free payments worldwide. So if you use your N26 card abroad, you will never be charged a foreign transaction fee. This integration with Wise’s infrastructure allows N26 customers to reap the benefits of borderless payments, but from a single account denominated in euros.

N26 Card vs Wise Card

The N26 and Wise debit cards are extremely similar. N26 partners with MasterCard while Wise partners with both MasterCard and Visa, but both offer Google Pay, Apple Pay and contactless payments. Each provider allows you to block and unblock your debit card from their app if it goes missing. If you prefer a virtual debit card, you’ll be able to get one with either company.

Account Experience

Both platforms offer a range of features to make banking easier. Both have financial services, including notifications, financial analysis, and budgeting on your mobile phone or on a desktop display. Wise offers savings ‘Jars,' though we find N26’s ‘Spaces’ advanced savings features to be quite a bit more capable due to their flexibility and budgeting features.

The Wise Multi-Currency Account isn’t a full bank account in the traditional sense. Although you can easily exchange currencies, pay in money and spend money from the debit card, you can’t get cashback or access overdraft. However, you can set up things like direct debits (in USD, EUR, GBP, AUS, and CAD), scheduled transfers, and trigger transfers at specific exchange rates. 

N26 offers direct debits in EUR together with a wider range of services than the Multi-Currency Account, including a more comprehensive in-app budgeting and spending statistics tool. Both Wise and N26 are available across both a mobile app and a website. Neither provider offers a joint account, although N26 does allow you to link your money “Spaces” with up to 10 other N26 users. N26 also guarantees your funds, up to €100,000. 

Local Accounts Available in Specific Currencies

N26 provides balances in EUR, while Wise offers a huge range of currency balances. Among Wise’s over 50 currency accounts include GBP, EUR, USD, JPY, and CHF. 

In addition to these accounts to hold currency, Wise gives you local, virtual bank account details in the U.S., U.K., EU, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hungary, Romania, Singapore, and Turkey so you can easily receive a transfer from a bank in any of those 10 countries.

Other Bank Account Features

N26 does offer interest on savings if you’re in Germany or Austria, with rates of up to 1.38%. N26 also offers an overdraft to German and Austrian users, charged at 8.90% annual interest. Wise does not offer interest on savings, have an overdraft facility or provide joint accounts. 

You can still use the Wise or N26 web interfaces if you don’t have access to your smartphone. Wise and N26 let you freeze and unfreeze cards via their apps if your card is lost or stolen. 

Topping up Your Account

Wise has a convenient top-up service—you can pay in funds with a bank transfer, credit card, debit card, or wire transfer. These top ups are very low cost to free if done in the same currency. N26 offers account top-ups via direct deposits, external bank transfers, and top up via debit and credit cards. Top ups can also be done by cash if you’re in Austria or Germany. 

N26

Wise

Card

Card Model and Design

Transparent debit Mastercard

Green debit Mastercard or Visa

💳 Contactless

🔒 3D Secure

🍎 Apple Pay

💻Google Pay

🌐 Virtual Card

🧾Account Details

EUR

EUR, USD, GBP¹

⬆ Top-Up Methods

Bank transfer, cash

Bank transfer, debit/credit card, wire

💱 Currencies

EUR

EUR, USD, GBP²

📤Direct Debits

🪙 Interest

💸 Overdraft

👥 Joint Account

📱 Platform(s)

Mobile app, website

Mobile app, website

Go to N26 ❯Go to Wise ❯

1 Wise account details are available for the EU, the UK, the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hungary, Romania, Singapore, and Turkey.
2 Over 50 other currencies supported.

N26
9.0
Wise Multi-Currency Account
7.6

Fees & Exchange Rates

Everyday use

Everyday use
Everyday use

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

No day-to-day fees but ATM withdrawals come at a small cost.

ATM withdrawals

ATM withdrawals
ATM withdrawals

Free up to 3 withdrawals per month in the Eurozone.

Withdrawals over 200 GBP/EUR, 100 USD, or 350 AUD/NZD/SGD cost between 1.75% and 2% per transaction, with additional fees for more than two withdrawals per month.

Online spending

Online spending
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.

Online spending comes at no cost in the local currency, although a small conversion fee applies for spending in a foreign currency.

International spending

International spending
International spending

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

Fees are very reasonable for overseas spending, although conversion fees and ATM withdrawal fees do apply.

N26 vs Wise: How Do the Fees Compare?

N26 and the Wise Multi-Currency Account offer a wide range of features and financial services under their free plans. There’s no charge to open or hold an account with either provider, and both allow you to send money internationally. N26 just about wins in this category, though, due to their more fully-featured services, although if you’re more interested in currency exchange, Wise is also a great choice. 

Overall Banking Service

N26 offers a wide range of services under their free plan. You get zero everyday costs such as monthly fees, transfer fees, and local ATM withdrawal fees. You get a Mastercard debit card with no foreign transaction fees, a fully-featured current account, international money transfers through Wise, a mobile app and a range of other services. 

The Wise Multi-Currency Account is a more specialized service, ideal for fast and easy international money transfers and providing a local, virtual bank account in major regions. Wise also has no monthly fees and has a free ATM withdrawal allowance, but Wise does charge an industry-low fixed fee for foreign exchange services.

International ATM Withdrawals

Wise charges fees for withdrawing money from an ATM when you’re overseas. The first €200 per month does not attract a fee, but you’ll pay 2.00% of any amounts withdrawn above that. N26 charges a flat 1.70% of the amount you withdraw to take money out of an ATM outside of the eurozone. (N26 provides three free ATM withdrawals per month within the eurozone.) The overall charges are likely to be similar, depending on how much you take out.

Getting a Debit Card

Neither provider charges a fee for providing a debit card. It can take up to ten working days to get a card from N26. Wise takes between two and four weeks to send you a card. N26 also offers an express delivery service at the cost of 22 EUR to get you a card in one to three days. Neither N26 nor Wise charges a fee for providing you with a debit card by standard delivery.

International Money Transfers

In this category, N26 and Wise are at a tie. N26 provides currency exchange services through Wise, and, of course, Wise also provides money transfer services through its Multi-Currency Account. Wise is a much-loved way to send money abroad, with superb exchange rates and low, transparent fees. This means you’ll pay a fee of 0.35% to 2.85% of the amount you’re transferring, depending on the currency, although the actual fee to most popular currencies is typically toward the lower end of this range. 

Using your Debit Card Overseas

N26 doesn’t charge a commission fee to use your debit card overseas, making it an excellent choice for a travel card. Wise offers excellent exchange rates and charges 0.35% to 2.85%, depending on the currency. Once the local currency of your travel destination is on your multi-currency account, no foreign transaction fees will apply to your card purchases.

N26

Wise

Card

💷 Maintenance

€0.00

€0.00/£0.00

🏧 Foreign Withdrawals

1.70%

0.00% on the first €200/m, 2% thereafter

💳 Foreign Payments

0.00%

0.35%-2.85% depending on the currency

💸 Int'l Transfers

0.35%-2.85% depending on the currency (via Wise)

0.35%-2.85%

🚚 Card Delivery

€0.00

€0.00/£0.00

📆 Delivery Speed

Up to 10 working days

Between 2 to 4 weeks

Go to N26 ❯Go to Wise ❯

Last updated: 15/03/2022

N26
8.0
Wise Multi-Currency Account
9.6

Customer Satisfaction

Customer review score

Customer review score
Customer review score

Average Trustpilot rating of 3.9 out of 5 stars.

Average Trustpilot rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars.

Number of positive reviews

Number of positive reviews
Number of positive reviews

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

Over 121,000 four- and five-star reviews.

N26 vs Wise: What Are Customers Saying?

With millions of customers each — many of whom report overwhelmingly positive feedback — N26 and Wise are both large, popular, and well-liked digital finance apps. As such, we see this section as a draw, with no clear winner between the two.

On the one hand, Wise scores slightly higher than N26 on the independent customer review platform Trustpilot: as of March 2022, it scored 4.6 out of 5 stars while N26 scored 3.9 out of 5 stars. On the other hand, both have a large number of very highly rated reviews overall.

In the end, we therefore think it's safe to say that both services impress their customers by and large.

N26

Wise

🌍 Availability

EU/EEA, Brazil.

Worldwide

💬 Languages

English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese

English, French, German, Hungarian, Japanese, Polish, Portugese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Turkish

👥 Customers

7 million

10 million

🔒 Trustpilot

3.7/5

4.6/5

📞 Support

In-app live chat (every day, 07:00 - 23:00 Berlin Time) and email

Email, call center by country (hours varies)

🗨 Support Languages

English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese

English, France, Spanish, German, Italiano Polish, Portuguese, Japanese, Hungarian

Go to N26 ❯Go to Wise ❯

Last updated: 15/03/2022

N26 vs Wise: The Verdict

N26 and Wise are both highly recommended by Monito's experts and your choice to open an account with either should depend on your needs and preferences:

N26 is a registered and regulated bank in the eurozone, which gives you access to overdraft, interest on savings, free domestic transfers, low-cost international transfers, and zero monthly account maintenance fees. This choice is ideal for customers in Europe and Brazil who even want to swap out their current bank account entirely for a fully digital one.

On the other hand, if you simply want to compliment your bank account with an innovative foreign exchange and multi-currency service, then the Wise Multi-Currency Account will be perfect for you. With this tool, you can hold and spend balances in multiple currencies day-to-day at a low cost as well as send money abroad at industry-low prices.

To learn more about these two companies and their products, have a look at our in-depth Wise review and N26 review. You can also compare N26 and Wise to other alternatives with Monito's rankings of the best challenger banks in Europe in 2022 (spoiler — N26 takes the top spot!).

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