N26: The best bank account for newcomer and foreigners in Germany

Updated January 2020  

 

The advantages at a glance:

  • A free bank account with no monthly minimum input
  • Free prepaid Mastercard credit card
  • Free worldwide cash withdrawals in any ATM with Mastercard (5 times per month for a free account)
  • English Banking with Mobile app
  • Modern banking facility with a smartphone
  • No Credit check
     

About N26

N26 (formerly called NUMBER 26) is a modern banking facility provided in partnership with Wirecard Bank. Since Wirecard bank is a bank governed by German Law, your account is protected by the German Deposit Protection Fund.

N26 account

Terms at a glance

Account management: 
Cost:€0 pm
Conditions:
Cards: 
EC-/Maestro:
Credit Card:Mastercard – Free Prepaid Credit Card
Interest: 
Credit interest checking account:
Credit interest credit card:
Overdraft interest:
Banking: 
Website:N26.com
Banking options:Smartphone App / Internet banking
Free Cash: 
Germany:free in all ATM machines accepting Mastercard
Abroad:free worldwide (no transaction charges on withdrawal)
To apply

Free Bank account

N26 checking account is free of cost. It provides all the facilities of a normal bank account such as IBAN number and transactions. There is no minimum monthly deposit needed.

Free N26 Mastercard with free worldwide withdrawals

With the bank account, you get a free N26 Credit Card. This is a prepaid credit card, so it does not allow overdrafts.

You can only withdraw or use the balance you have on your account. Therefore, it is technically like a debit card, but since it has the Mastercard, you can use it to make transactions wherever Mastercard is accepted. Most importantly, it allows free cash withdrawal at any ATM worldwide that accept Mastercard.

There might be some ATM’s which may charge a fee, but according to Number26 they are only about 2%, otherwise, it is free to use the card in the other 98% of the ATM’s. The cash withdrawal in other currencies is subject to the exchange rate applied by MasterCard exchange and is generally better than if you change money abroad. There are no currency transaction fees charged by the bank either. In summary, free cash withdrawal worldwide. No transaction charges, no currency conversion charges, no nothing.

English mobile banking App

Called Europe’s Most Modern bank, Number26 provides a smartphone app for making all the banking functions on the smartphone. And it is in English. You can check your account balance, make payments, temporary block the card and manage your expenses with the smartphone app. This app is one of the best banking app provided by a bank. Not only does it contain the normal functions required for any banking service, but it also contains functions such as budgeting. However, note that you need a smartphone to open and use the account. The mobile app can be downloaded and used on iPhone with iOS 7 or newer, or Android phone running with Android 4.3 or newer. So if you do not have a phone with the above versions, you cannot complete the process or need to find other ways, possibly by having a virtual android phone. However, beware that you cannot use all the account features like deposit cash, for which you need access to the app at all times.

No credit check

This is a blessing for foreigners and newcomers to Germany. Usually, banks perform a credit check of the clients from the Schufa rating agency before opening a bank account. Unfortunately, since newcomers do not have a credit record in Germany, some free banks refuse to open an account for them. Even if an account is opened, it will take some time before you build a credit history to obtain a credit card from the bank. Since Number26 provides a prepaid credit card, they do not make a credit check of your credit history. This makes it easier for a newcomer to Germany without a credit history in Germany to open a bank account and obtain a credit card. The bank also does not make a credit entry once an account is opened.

Usually, banks inform the credit agency Schufa of any activity such as opening an account or having a credit card. The more bank accounts you have, the more credit records are made. Sometimes a large number of records are considered not good therefore may affect your credit score. Since Number26 account does not make a record on the credit history, it does not affect your score. Therefore, it is not only for newcomers or foreigners, but it is also the best option for residents who need another account and a credit card without affecting their credit score. So no need to provide an employment contract. No need to have a credit history.

Fast Account opening – fewer documents required

As already mentioned, since your credit rating is not checked, the account opening process is fast and the documentation required in minimum. In fact, you can open a bank account in 8 minutes. The documents required also are minimum. The requirements are:

  1. A document for Identity verification. This could be your passport irrespective of the country.
  2. You must have an address in Germany, Austria, Ireland, France, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Portugal, Finland, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Estonia, Greece, and Slovakia. You do not need to provide proof for this address (Anmeldung). You should just be able to receive documents which will be sent to this address.
  3. You must be over 18 years of age.

If you meet these requirements, you can open a bank account. For residents in Germany and Austria, you can use PostIdent

Complete online registration is also possible if you select VideoIdent. However, note that not all Identity documents can be verified using VideoIdent.

For non-residents also

It is now open to residents of Austria, Ireland, France, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Portugal, Finland, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Estonia, Greece, and Slovakia. So if you are a resident in any of the above countries, you can open a Number26 account.

N26 is working on also servicing residents in more European countries throughout the next year depending on customer demand. Therefore, if you are from a European country please pre-register yourself for the account so that Number26 can determine the demand from the country. Also, pre-registering will also give you advance access when the service is rolled in your country.

CASH26 – Cash deposit

Since it is an online bank, you do not have branches where you can deposit or withdraw cash. However, using CASH26, you can deposit cash in any of the 3000 locations in Germany.

The bank has a collaboration with different supermarket chains where you can deposit cash into your account or get cash. This includes some of the biggest supermarket chains including PENNY and REAL with has stores in a large number of locations in Germany.

Conditions for cash deposit using CASH26 are:

  • You can deposit up to €100 a month for free. Extra deposits are charged a fee of 1,5% of the deposit amount.
  • Minimum deposit amount is €50.
  • You can deposit up to a maximum of €999 each day (within 24 hours).

How to deposit cash using CASH26.

  • Open the N26 app and select CASH26 option.
  • Select the CASH26 DEPOSIT option and enter the amount you want to deposit. (Note: Min €50, Max €999; upto €100 deposit free each month).
  • Enter your PIN and Confirm to generate a Barcode
  • Find the branches nearby where you can deposit. You can do this by selecting “Nearby Branches” on the options menu on the top right corner.
  • Show the generated barcode to the clerk at checkout.
  • Pay the money and it is automatically deposited to your bank account.

Although there is an option, I do not find it really convenient like using a Cash machine, since you have to deal with people. And as you might have noticed, supermarket clerks at a busy time might not be the friendliest to deal with, especially if you are depositing coins.

Overdraft facility

Overdraft means you can use more than the balance in your account and interest is charged to you on the excess amount. The current rate of overdraft is charged at 8.9 %. N26 offers an overdraft facility up to €2000, however, it is only open to customers with a residence registered in Germany and depends on the credit score. This means that if you apply for an overdraft facility, the bank will check your credit score from the credit rating agency SCHUFA and make a record on it.

The advantages at a glance:

  • Free bank account with no monthly minimum input
  • Free prepaid Mastercard credit card
  • Free worldwide cash withdrawals in any ATM with Mastercard
  • English Banking with Mobile app
  • Modern banking facility with a smartphone
  • No Credit check – No Schufa records
  • Click here to open now

Few Disadvantages

Although this bank account it is as perfect as it can get, for an objective review of N26 it is also important to point out some drawbacks, or you may call shortfalls of the account. These are not major and even other banks have these, so you can live with them without affecting your life too much. Here goes the list

  • No EC/Maestro Card as of now, but they say Maestro card will be introduced very soon. Some shops in Germany may not accept credit cards and insist on EC or Maestro cards. But you can always withdraw free cash and purchase using cash as an alternative till then.
  • Most online banks do not provide an option for cash deposit at all. But although N26 allows deposit of cash at more than 3000 locations using Cash26, there are a few issues with this. The free deposit limit is €100 per month. If you want to deposit more than that, you will be charged 1.5% on the deposit amount. Most importantly, since you have to use a supermarket to deposit cash with the clerk, it is not convenient to deposit a large number of coins without annoying the other people in line.
  • There is a limit on daily/weekly ATM cash withdrawal and card use. Although the limit is large enough for normal use, some customer might need a higher limit.
  • No interest on the deposit. Unlike DKB bank, the balance maintained in your account does not give you any interest. But, they are honest and say that this is how they make money and are able to provide a free bank account and Free Mastercard with all these advantages.

Click here to open N26 account now

Click here  for a walkthrough step by step instruction on how to open a Number26 account


FAQ on N26 Bank Account

How much does Cash Deposit with N26 cost?

You can deposit up to €100 a month for free. Extra deposits are charged a fee of 1,5% of the deposit amount.

What is the min and max amount of Cash Deposit with N26?

The minimum cash deposit amount is €50. You can deposit up to a maximum of €999 each day (within 24 hours)