N26 Challenger Bank Launches in the United States

The German FinTech startup is the latest challenger bank to try to break into the US market

12.07.2019 | by Reve Fisher
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German FinTech N26 has officially launched in the United States, the latest high-profile challenger bank to do so. 100,000 people are currently on the waiting list, and the bank plans to open its services to the general public later in the summer.

“We’re very excited to bring our experience to US customers,” Nicolas Kopp, CEO of US N26, said in a press release. “In Europe, we’re loved for our effortless and sleek user experience, with no hidden fees. Starting today, you can sign up entirely from your phone in just five minutes. There are no account maintenance fees or minimum balances required. We will eliminate the frustration of visiting branches, waiting on the phone, and paying fees for basic services that should already be included. We will add even more benefits and features over the summer.”

N26 has 3.5 million clients throughout Europe and has raised over $500 million, as reported by TechCrunch.

Unlike some financial entities that have recently expanded beyond the European market, N26 is a full-fledged bank. Through its partnership with Axos Bank, American clients can download a mobile app, create a bank account and get access to ACH payments, routing and account numbers like any US bank. Users will receive a debit card a few days later that can be controlled from the app, which will send push notifications after every transaction. Through the app, clients can set their PIN codes, customise limits, register for online payments and make ATM withdrawals or payments abroad.

Basic N26 accounts are free, with no monthly fees, no minimum balance, and no foreign transaction fees. Clients get two free ATM withdrawals a month, but the company is hoping to automatically find and reimburse fees in its final product.

For those with direct deposit, N26 aims to clear those transactions up to two days early, allowing users to enjoy the fruits of their labour sooner.

The company plans to open its shared “Spaces” feature in the US later in the year. Spaces allow clients to set money aside for certain goals and needs, and shared Spaces will enable users to collaborate with friends and family “like a WhatsApp group,” according to N26 co-founder and CEO Valentin Stalf.

N26 plans to launch its premium plans, N26 Metal and N26 Black—albeit with some changes to their perks—in upcoming months.

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