I’ve been using N26 for nearly a month now and overall I’ve been very impressed. Its by no means perfect but the experience has been far better than my experience with KBC. Opening the account was a very straight-forward process and was completed in less than 10 minutes although it did take a little long to receive the standard MasterCard. My Black MasterCard was a lot quicker. I’ve already covered my experiences with their internet banking and mobile banking so I won’t cover them again.
Using the MasterCard
I’ve used my N26 Black MasterCard online and in stores using both contactless and chip & pin payments. The only place I ran into issues with using it was at the Post Office. They wouldn’t accept it as it showed as a Credit Card on their systems. This is an issue with An Post themselves and they told me they are working on fixing it – There were similar issues when the banks moved from Laser to Visa Debit cards. Apart from An Post, I’ve been using it without issues and getting very close to xe.com rates on currency exchange. Contactless payments are authorised in real time so there is a slight (1 second or so) delay in processing the payments compared to my old BOI Visa debit. Notifications pop up on my phone straight away for all transactions.
When you do receive your MasterCard I’d recommend using it at an ATM first. I just ‘changed’ the PIN to the same PIN and it activated the card so it would work in shops and contactless.
Setting up Direct Debits
Setting up Direct Debits can be a bit of a pain – it’s not N26’s fault. Some companies refuse to set up direct debits on accounts from outside Ireland. There is no reason not to do this but companies seem to use the “computer says no” excuse. I set up my BOI Credit Card direct debit on my N26 account online but Leap Card won’t accept Auto Top Ups from accounts outside of Ireland. This goes against SEPA and many companies are slowly allowing direct debits from foreign accounts after pressure from the Central Bank and CCPC. You can check this boards post for a list of companies that accept and don’t accept direct debits from N26 accounts. I’m planning to continue to pester Leap Card until they implement it. They’ve been working on the solution for over a year now. I’m really not sure how it could take anywhere near that length of time.
One thing I’ve noticed is that transfers from Revolut/PayPal/between my accounts are completed much quicker than with my BOI and AIB account. If I do an AIB transfer in the morning of a working day, it will be in my N26 account in the evening compared to the next day if I do AIB to BOI. A transfer out of N26 will hit my Irish account the next working day.
I’ve only had to contact N26 twice and used their Live Chat feature. I was waiting around 10 minutes to be connected the first time and around a minute the second time. Once connected the responses were quick and helpful. I would be slightly worried if I needed to contact them about fraud on my account or something similar – I’m not sure how quick the issue would be resolved.
I’ve signed up to N26 Black which costs €5.90 per month with a 1 year contract.With this, you get free foreign ATM withdrawals instead of a 1.7% fee as well as a bunch of included insurances. It is mainly the free foreign ATM withdrawals that led me to upgrade to N26 Black Account. If I withdraw €350 per month in foreign currencies I come out ahead. To me the insurances are just an added bonus. The mobile phone insurance doesn’t apply to me as my phone is too old to be covered. The travel insurance only covers €150,000 in medical costs when abroad for Irish customers compared to unlimited coverage for German customers. This is quite low especially for travel in America. The extended warranty and ATM mugging are nice to have but I wouldn’t be purchasing these products elsewhere if I didn’t get them through N26 Black.
N26 offer investment accounts and credit accounts in Germany and other markets but these are not available to Irish customers yet. I would imagine it could be a long time for credit accounts to be available here, our credit history system isn’t anywhere near as accurate and detailed as in Germany. Hopefully we will get savings and investment accounts soon and they continue to add more features. N26 is my main bank account now and I’m very happy with it.
In the interest of full-disclosure, links to N26 are affiliate links. Should you click through to N26 via my affiliate link and sign up to their bank account I will receive a small commission payment. These affiliate payments have no impact on my reviewing of the product. If you believe I have been influenced by the potential commission when reviewing a product please call me out.