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Updated on Wednesday, July 22, 2020
N26 is a cash management account made for younger generations. The mobile-first N26 account comes with a sleek debit card, cashback rewards on subscriptions and early paychecks via direct deposit. N26 is relatively fee-free, so you can focus your money on spending and saving, which N26’s other features can help you do. The N26 account seems to have it all — except earned interest. Find out more about what this cash management account has to offer.
- What is N26?
- N26 fees and limits
- N26 pros and cons
- N26 vs. other cash management accounts
- Is N26 right for you?
What is N26?
N26 is a mobile-first cash management account available for both Apple and Android devices. Originally launched in Germany and Austria, N26 is not a bank itself; rather, its U.S. banking services are provided by Axos Bank, Member FDIC. This means that Axos Bank provides the FDIC insurance for N26 deposits, as well as the account’s linked Visa debit card.
You can use the linked N26 debit card to get physical access to your money at any Allpoint ATM for no-cost withdrawals in the United States and Puerto Rico, Australia, Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom. Use the N26 mobile app’s ATM map feature to find the closest Allpoint ATM to you. (Note that you cannot make cash deposits into your N26 account at this time.)
The N26 account comes with the added benefit of getting you your paycheck up to two days earlier through direct deposit. Institutions are able to do this by depositing your direct deposit paycheck into your account as soon as it’s made available to them, instead of holding it for a couple days.
N26 partners with subscription brands like Babbel, Headspace and TIDAL to offer cashback rewards. When you sign up for a one-user subscription directly through the N26 partner links and use your N26 account as your form of payment, you’ll get an automatic cashback rebate each month for that subscription payment.
N26 also partners with several other brands — including 8fit, Blinkist and YOOX — to bring its customers special discounts and promotions. When you use your N26 account to make purchases with these brands, you can benefit from the discounts and promotions. Plus, there’s no limit to the number of offers you can use at a time, either.
The N26 account doesn’t earn interest, but it does still have a couple of other handy savings features. For one, it has a feature called Spaces, which allows you to create up to two additional sub accounts to set your N26 money aside for various personalized savings goals. You can set a savings target and contribute and track your progress in Spaces.
You can also move money around between your different accounts, unless you “lock” a Space, which prevents you from moving money out of that sub account, keeping you on track. You can also prevent a Space from appearing in your total N26 balance, so you’re not tempted to spend more than you can.
N26 also helps you keep track of your money by categorizing your spending. Through its handy charts, you can more easily see the areas where you’re spending too much — or too little.
N26 fees and limits
N26 is generally fee-free if you steer clear of less common transactions. There are no monthly service, minimum balance or insufficient funds fees, and no charge for Allpoint ATM withdrawals. N26 also won’t charge you for teller withdrawals, though non-Axos banks may charge their own fee for that service.
Take a look at N26’s fee schedule below.
|N26 Fee Schedule|
|Out-of-network domestic ATM use||$0 for first two transactions per month
$2 for following transactions
|International ATM use||$2, plus 2% of withdrawal amount (in U.S. dollars)|
|Teller cash withdrawal||$0|
|Card replacement||Standard: $5
|Processing of court or administrative orders||$100 per order|
You’re also beholden to the N26 account’s balance and transaction limitations.
|N26 Account Balance and Transaction Limits|
|Daily limit||Monthly limit|
|ACH credit or debit||None||None|
Note that N26 places a cumulative 30-day limit of $30,000 on all point-of-sale, ATM and other withdrawals. While you can’t surpass these limits, you can adjust your personal limits as you please in the N26 mobile app.
It’s also worth noting that N26 does not place a cap on how much money you can keep in the account. Just remember that no matter how high your balance is, it’s not earning any interest while in the account, nor is it guaranteed to be FDIC insured if your balance surpasses the legal limits for your account.
N26 pros and cons
- No monthly fee and fee-friendly
- No minimum or maximum balance limit
- Cashback rewards
- Exclusive discounts and promotions
- Easily save for different goals with Spaces
- Doesn’t earn interest
- Out-of-network ATM fee
- Limited brand choice
Overall, N26 is full of pros. There’s no monthly fee or even a minimum or maximum balance limit, which opens this account up to all balances. It earns cashback rewards and offers customers a chance at discounts and promotional offers from some top brands.
However, you can only really benefit from the offers and cashback rewards if you’re interested in the brands N26 partners with. With partnerships with companies like TIDAL and Headspace, these benefits may appeal more to millennial and Gen Z customers.
N26 isn’t without its savings features with Spaces, which is almost par for the course with the cash management accounts of today. Spaces helps you save toward separate goals, which can be hard to track when you have all your savings in one account.
That being said, N26 lacks the main savings feature you would want: a competitive interest rate. A competitive interest rate would help your money actually grow in the account, rather than sit there stagnantly.
N26 vs. other cash management accounts
|N26||$0||N/A||Yes, through Axos Bank|
|Aspiration||As low as $0, but up to you (Pay What Is Fair)|
$3.99/month (Aspiration Plus)
|1.00% APY with Aspiration Plus||Yes, through partner banks|
|Chime||$0||N/A||Yes, through The Bancorp Bank or Stride Bank|
|Simple||$0||0.80% APY||Yes, through BBVA|
Aspiration Spend & Save
Aspiration Spend & Save is two different accounts bundled together. To earn that 1.00% APY on Save balances up to $10,000, you’ll need to pay $3.99 per month (or $3.75 per month if you pay annually) for Aspiration Plus. This plan also gets you 10% cashback on purchases from Conscience Coalition companies and one ATM fee reimbursement per month.
There’s also a Pay What Is Fair option, where you can pay as little as $0. You can still earn 3% to 5% cash back on Conscience Coalition purchases, but there is no interest-earning Save aspect with this plan.
Chime is another cash management account that allows you to get your paycheck up to two days early via direct deposit. It doesn’t earn any rewards, but it can help you cover overdrafts at no extra cost, if you qualify for its SpotMe program.
The Chime savings account, which is separate from the Chime spending account, is an easy and free add-on that can help you grow your savings through its modest 1.00% APY and automatic savings features that can set aside some money with every purchase or paycheck.
Simple is the closest competitor to N26 here, as it offers similar spending and savings features. The Simple Account includes a debit card for use at all Allpoint ATMs. Simple also includes a Safe-to-Spend feature that lets you know the amount of discretionary spending you have available after bills and other expenses.
Simple does have a leg up on the savings side, with a competitive 0.80% APY on its Protected Goals feature. This is the savings component of Simple’s cash management account, which also allows you to create separate goals so you can more easily save toward different objectives. Note that the checking component also earns interest, just at a much lower 0.01% APY.
Is N26 right for you?
Given its rewards system, the N26 account is probably best for customers — likely millennials and Gen Z — who already frequent the brands that N26 partners with. That way, you can use your N26 account for those special offers and cashback rebates to help you save some cash.
The Spaces feature can also be helpful to younger Gen Z consumers who need help differentiating their savings goals within one account and app. N26 can also help these individuals track their spending habits to create more cohesive and responsible financial habits.
Otherwise, savers who want more from an account should consider an interest-earning cash management account like those mentioned above or a high-yield savings account. These will help you actually grow your savings, and often at a fee-friendly basis as well.
Any rates and fees mentioned in this article are accurate as of 6/23/2020.