After years of testing out traditional and online banks, I’ve found N26 to be the best overall banking experience for anyone who travels frequently, digital nomads or not. With free worldwide ATM withdrawals, exceptional travel insurance coverage, and an intuitive, powerful app, I’m a strong believer that N26 is the best bank account for most Europeans.
I recommend starting with a free N26 account and upgrading later to N26 You if you feel the need. With no credit checks and a signup process that takes 5 minutes or less, open your free N26 account with confidence today.
#1 What Is N26?
N26 is an online bank account built for millennials, frequent travelers, and digital nomads.
Launched in Berlin in 2015, N26 now has more than 5 million users.
So why is this German neobank so popular?
I believe there are two main reasons:
- A thoughtful, technology-focused approach to banking that makes transacting across borders and with multiple currencies a breeze.
- A robust, easy-to-use app that allows you to bank as quickly as you use every other app.
With that in mind, you can’t write an N26 review without breaking down the bank’s features and benefits. Let’s dig a bit deeper into the specifics of what N26 has to offer.
#2 Benefits of N26
Free ATM Withdrawals
One of the major financial pain points travelers encounter comes when they want to withdraw money from ATMs while they’re abroad. It seems like no matter what country you’re from, just about every traditional bank account everywhere penalizes you for traveling abroad.
N26 is the rare exception.
All N26 accounts get free ATM withdrawals in Euros. That means you can travel freely to any Eurozone country and not pay any fees when you withdraw money.
If you have N26 You or N26 Metal, you get free ATM withdrawals in any currency.
Why are free ATM withdrawals such a bonus? Let’s look at how the math works out.
Right now, every time you withdraw cash from a foreign ATM you’re paying fees in 3-4 different ways:
- The 1.5 – 2.5% foreign currency conversion fees that your bank charges.
- The additional ATM withdrawal fee of €2-5 that your bank charges.
- The 20-24% annualized cash advance fee if you withdraw using a credit card, which averages to about 2% out of your pocket if you pay your statement every 30 days.
- The €2-10 withdrawal fee that ATMs charge.
When that’s all said and done, you end up paying 5%+ just to withdraw your cash! Put another way, everything is 5% more expensive than you think it is.
That doesn’t sound like a huge difference, but even if you travel modestly and only burn €1,000 – €2,000 per month, that’s an extra €50 – 100 you didn’t account for, or €600 – €1,200 per year.
Imagine that: €1,200/year just in banking fees!
That ends with N26.
Zero Foreign Transaction Fees
This may sound the same as zero ATM withdrawal fees, but it’s not.
Zero foreign transaction fees means you pay the exact exchange rate when you make a purchase in a foreign currency, whether you’re in a physical store or shopping online.
This is important, because most banks charge 2.5% in foreign transaction fees, which means if you’re spending €1,000 – €2,000 per month, you’re shelling out an additional €25-€50 (or €300 – €600 per year) in foreign exchange fees, too.
But with N26, that’s €300 – €600 more that you’ll save.
Worldwide Travel Insurance
One of the most-overlooked things about being an N26 cardholder is the insurance coverage that comes with your card.
Because the N26 insurance policy is one of the best you’ll find with any checking account or credit card, period.
N26’s insurance policy covers emergency medical insurance up to an unlimited amount, has very generous flight and luggage delay coverage, and even reimburses you if your phone gets stolen.
Here’s a deeper look at what the policy covers (Note: If no deductible is listed, that means there’s no deductible charged):
Type of Insurance
Stolen mobile phone
€300 (€50 deductible)
€500 (€50 deductible)
€5,000 (10-20% deductible)
Unlimited medical insurance policies are almost unheard of, and they never come without a hefty price tag, except with N26.
Insurance doesn’t come with a free N26 account, but it is included with N26 You and N26 Metal, and it covers the first 90 days of your trip.
Most credit cards cover up to maximum of 30 days if you have a premium card, so 90 days is a very impressive coverage period.
Note: I recently reviewed SafetyWing, the $40/month comprehensive travel & medical insurance subscription, which is worth checking out as well. I recommend using your N26 insurance for the first 90 days of every trip, and then buying a SafetyWing policy for additional travel beyond that.
#3 Nine More Features Of N26
- Apple Pay & Google Pay: You can pay anywhere that accepts Apple Pay or Google Pay with your N26 card.
- Real-time transaction notifications: Whenever money goes in or out of your checking account, whether it’s a bank transfer you’ve initiated or a pre-authorized payment, you’ll get a notification.
- Transaction categories: Every transaction is assigned a category like “Bars & Restaurants” or “Travel & Holidays” to help you keep track of your spending.
- PIN resets: Resetting your PIN is as simple as logging into the N26 app and changing it. No calling support, no trips to the ATM—30 seconds and it’s done.
- Locking your card: Just like resetting your PIN, locking your card is as simple as logging into the app and pressing a button. Unlocking it is just as easy.
- Payments abroad, online payments and cash withdrawals: For your security, you can toggle each of these on and off from within the app at any time.
- Spending and withdrawal limits: Another security feature that you can choose and change in the app at any time.
- CASH26: Withdraw and deposit cash from thousands of retail locations, turning grocery stores, drug stores and more into your private ATM.
- MoneyBeam: Make free, immediate money transfers using just the recipient’s phone number or email address.
#4 Cons Of N26
It’s worth pointing out that N26 is not perfect. Here are the top two complaints users have about N26:
- No 24/7 phone support
- You can only hold a single currency in your account
In my case, I’ve never found myself needing phone support, even as a Metal member. The app works flawlessly, and N26’s chat support is fast and helpful enough to answer any small questions that have come up for me.
As for only holding a single currency, this hasn’t been an issue for me, either. Every transaction you make—regardless of the currency—is converted at the Mastercard exchange rate to the currency you hold in your account, which is extremely close to the inter-bank exchange rate. This means that you’re essentially holding every currency in your account
However, if you need to transfer money in a specific currency that’s not your base currency, I can see why this would be annoying. In that case, I highly recommend making a low-cost transfer with Wise.
#5 N26 You
N26 You is N26’s premium account.
I’ve personally been using N26 You for over 3 years now, and I find it offers the best value-for-money out of the three N26 accounts.
With that said, I started with a free N26 account, and recommend that you do the same to remove any risk and ensure you like the bank before you start paying for it.
Here’s a table comparing the benefits you get with N26’s free account, N26 You, and N26 Metal, which we’ll introduce in the next section.
|N26 Free||N26 You||N26 Metal|
|Free ATM withdrawals in Euros||✔||✔||✔|
|0% Foreign Payments Fee In Any Currency||✔||✔||✔|
|Worldwide ATM Withdrawal Fees||1.7%||0%||0%|
|Mobile Phone Theft Insurance||✔||✔|
|Access to MasterCard World Elite Benefits||✔||✔|
|10 Sub-Accounts With IBANs||✔|
|Dedicated Customer Support||✔|
#6 N26 Metal
N26 Metal is N26’s ultra-premium offering. N26 Metal members are given a beautiful metal card, and the account carries a monthly fee of €16.90/month.
N26 Metal Benefits
Here are four major benefits you get with N26 Metal that don’t come with N26 You:
- 10 Sub-accounts with Individual IBANs: These can be very handy for organizing your money, paying bills, budgeting, and more. You can also share these sub-accounts with friends, which makes pooling money together easy.
- Tungsten Card: The N26 Metal card is surprisingly high-quality. I’ve been a Metal member for more than a year now, and my card still looks virtually brand new.
- Dedicated Customer Support: On top of in-app chat support, N26 Metal members also have access to a dedicated Metal phone line, which almost never requires waiting on hold.
- Partner Discounts with companies like WeWork, Hotels.com, IHG, Outfittery and more. You can find the full list of N26 Metal member benefits here.
When you break down the numbers, I believe it makes little financial sense to upgrade to N26 Metal unless you’re already spending a considerable amount of money with one of the partners in that list of member benefits.
For example, if you used your free day at WeWork each month, that would more than pay for the extra €7/month between N26 You and N26 Metal, making Metal a money-saver.
Overall, I can’t recommend N26 Metal from a purely financial perspective, though it’s hard to put a price on the shock you’ll see on your friend’s faces when you drop that metal card.
Instead, I recommend starting out with a free N26 account and upgrading to N26 You or N26 Metal later on if you feel the need.
#7 N26 Business
N26 Business is exactly what it sounds like: a business account from N26. It’s designed for self-employed and freelance users doing business under their own name.
N26 is available in all countries where N26 already operates, which includes Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Ireland, France, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Portugal, Finland, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Estonia, Greece, Slovakia, Poland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland, and the United States.
There are two restrictions to know about when it comes to N26 Business:
- You cannot have two N26 accounts at the same time. This means that if you have an N26 Business account and want to charge personal expenses not related to your business, you should sign up for an N26 Maestro Card, which allows you to create a joint N26 account (sort of).
- You cannot change your N26 account from a business account to a personal account, so you’ll want to be sure that N26 Business is right for you before choosing it on your N26 application.
N26 Business offers all the features of a standard N26 bank account and also gives you 0.1% cashback on every purchase. There’s no charge for N26 Business, though you can also upgrade to N26 Business Smart, N26 Business You, and N26 Business Metal.
Just like with the personal cards, I suggest starting with the free N26 Business account and upgrading later on if you want additional benefits. You can upgrade your account at any time direct from the N26 app.
If you’re torn between opening a personal account and a business account, I strongly suggest the personal account. It will make things easier for you down the road, and gives you a lot more flexibility should you choose to upgrade later on.
#8 N26 Fees
N26’s Price List is eight pages long and fairly dense, so here’s the important stuff:
#9 Is N26 Safe?
Here are a few key reasons you can trust N26 with your money:
- Deposit insurance: All N26 accounts have deposits insured up to €100,000 by the German government.
- World-class security team: N26 has thousands of employees and millions of users, and they take those users’ accounts seriously—they’ve never had any security issues, and have a large, dedicated team of security professionals on staff to ensure they never will.
- Toggle payments abroad, online payments and cash withdrawals: For your security, you can toggle each of these on and off from within the app at any time.
- Fingerprint login: Rather than using a password, you can access your account via fingerprint login, ensuring only you ever have access to your funds.
#10 How To Open An N26 Account
There are a few requirements you’ll have to meet to open your account:
- Be a resident of one of these countries: Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Ireland, France, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Portugal, Finland, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Estonia, Greece, Slovakia, Poland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland, and the United States.
- Be at least 18 years old
- Hold a recognized piece of government-issued ID (each country is slightly different, but generally passports, driver’s licenses and other forms of national ID are all accepted)
- Verify yourself in English, Spanish, German, French or Italian
The N26 Signup Process
Here’s how to sign up for N26 in 5 minutes or less:
- Click here and fill in your personal details on N26’s website.
- Choose the N26 account you want.
- Verify your identity and connect your smartphone via the N26 app.
A few days after you’ve done these three steps, you’ll receive your N26 card in the mail, which you can start using immediately.
We firmly believe N26 is the best bank available anywhere in the world today. With its rock-bottom fees, user-friendly app, and impressive travel insurance, N26 makes the lives of frequent travelers and digital nomads much, much easier.
We recommend opening a free account today and upgrading later if you feel the need. Open your N26 account with confidence today.