I’ve recently been looking to move my current account as I had a bad experience with Bank of Ireland. Ideally I don’t want to have to deal with keeping a minimum balance or lodging a certain amount of cash each money to receive fee-free banking. In the end I decided to go with KBC Extra account – even though I am required to lodge €2,500 per month, Android Pay played a large part in swaying me. The account was finally opened the same day I realise KBC might be leaving the Irish market. When looking into the options, N26 jumped out at me and I was very close to choosing them.
N26 was established in 2013 and launched in 2015. They are a completely online-only bank account based in Germany. In July 2016 N26 received its European banking licence making them a ‘proper bank’. All your interactions with your bank account are via the N26 app available for Android and Apple or via their website. They have no branches so there is no easy way of lodging cash to your N26 account. For many people this isn’t an issue but I would deal with cash quite a lot and would always need to have a secondary account used for cash lodgements. This is the same as with my new KBC current account – I am keeping an AIB account open to lodge cash at post offices and then transfer it over to KBC.
In Ireland N26 have two products both of which are current accounts – N26 and N26 Black.
|Included Insurance||None||Mobile Phone Insurance
ATM Theft Protection
|MasterCard Fee||€2.90 per month*||Free Black MasterCard|
|Foreign POS Transaction Fee||No Markup||No Markup|
|ATM Euro Withdrawal||
5 free per month.
Additional €2 ea.
5 free per month.
Additional €2 ea.
|ATM Foreign Withdrawal Fee||1.7%||None|
|Direct Debit Bounce Fee||€3||€3|
|Replacement Card Fee||€10||€10|
*Free if you sign up and complete ID verification by 1st February 2017
** There is some debate as to how N26 will charge Irish stamp duty. From their list of fees it appears they will charge €5 regardless of your usage.
As fee-free banking goes N26 is very competitive. If you sign up and complete your ID verification by 1st February 2017 you get in effect fee-free banking with no requirement for minimum balance or monthly lodgement on their basic N26 account. A big plus point is that N26 don’t charge a markup on foreign Point of Sale purchases instead they just convert at the MasterCard rate. I’ve seen reports that this isn’t quite as good as the rate offered by Revolut but still much better than offered by traditional banks.
N26 offer a more featured account called N26 Black with includes no foreign ATM withdrawal fee and insurance products for €5.90 per month. There is included Mobile Phone Insurance, Travel Insurance, ATM Theft Insurance and Extended Warranty. The terms and conditions of the insurance are on their website – although they say this is for German customers. I am trying to locate the terms and conditions for Irish customers or clarify if they are the same.
|ATM Theft Protection||€500||–|
|Mobile Phone Insurance||€300||€50|
The travel insurance includes luggage delay, trip cancellation, trip curtailment, medical expenses and although I haven’t read the T&Cs fully it does look like quite a good policy although obviously it is important to read the T&Cs fully. It is worth noting that for the coverage to be in force you must pay for the holiday with your N26 Black MasterCard.
I haven’t signed up for N26 as I chose to go with KBC. However, I am now having a serious rethink and again am looking into N26 Black for my main current account. If the insurance policy is as good as I think once I’ve read the T&Cs thoroughly I may take the plunge. I recently watched a video about the security (or lack of) in N26 which I will post shortly which made be have serious concerns. However, N26 have supposedly addressed all the issues located and the funds are protected up to €100,000 by the Compensation Scheme of German Banks.
As I haven’t used N26 yet I am limited in what advice I can offer the best bet is to head over to Boards.ie and check out the thread there. Here there are lots of reviews both positive and negative regarding N26. If you are on the fence it is worth making your mind up before the end of the month to get the standard MasterCard without a fee.
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.