N26 Brings Out New Mobile Payments-Style Banking App

July 15, 2019         By: Steven Anderson

Mobile banking is rapidly proving to be a welcome addition to people’s day, especially in a world where, unaccountably, the bank is pretty much only open during times when you’re already at work. Sure, in some circles, it’s proving a bit too welcome, taking over the branch bank option, but that’s a different story. N26 recently tipped us off about its own foray into mobile banking, in the form of a newly-launched app.

N26, for those not familiar, is actually the US branch of N26 GmbH, a German operation that’s been described as one of the fastest-growing mobile-only banks in Europe. The launch is actually being set up as a “staged rollout,” the reports noted, with the 100,000 customers currently occupying the US waitlist being invited to sign up and given complete access in the process. The app is effectively in beta right now, and a full launch will arrive in phases throughout the rest of the summer.

Users get access to a mobile app and a debit card, both of which include the features most common to their breed. Real-time account activity is displayed, and transactions automatically fall into categories for easier reference later. Daily spending limits are also in place for those who want some help sticking to a budget, and the debit card can be locked and unlocked from the app as needed.

Perhaps the best part of the app is for the traveler: foreign transaction fees are gone when making purchases internationally. That’s in addition to the Spaces system, which allows users to create sub-accounts specifically devoted to certain tasks, like one for an upcoming vacation, or a larger-than-normal purchase.

The offering seems to be solid enough, though it’s likely to have a tough time getting fully launched thanks to the sheer amount of competition it’s going to be wading into. Sure, it’s got that 100,000 or so wait-list number—and that’s good enough for a start—but is it enough to hold an entire bank together? Well, maybe; there are certainly small-town banks with fewer than 100,000 customers. It may not be enough to put it in the same class as, say, Bank of America, but it’s certainly a base to work from.

It will be interesting, however, to see what—if anything—N26 can do with that base.