N26 bank was launched in Germany in January 2015 and has been available to Irish residents since December 2015. N26 has become the most popular fully digital bank in Ireland.
N26 has today more than 5 million customers across Europe and the USA, with over 150,000 in Ireland.
N26 has had a full European banking licence since 2016 – so any funds you have with it are covered by the German Bank guarantee up to €100,000.
N26 Bank is licensed by the European Central Bank and is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland for the conduct of business rules in Ireland.
With N26 you get a IBAN bank account number so you can get your salary etc. paid in and you can also set up Direct Debits. Joint accounts are not possible – but there are ways that couples can share an N26 card by using Google Pay or Apple Pay on separate phones.
You can send money instantly to other N26 users from your phone without knowing their account details. N26 call this MoneyBeam. You can send up to €1000 to other N26 customers within a 24-hour period.
N26 supports Apple Pay and Google Pay but, being branchless, N26 does not deal with cash or cheques.
N26 started off as a smartphone-based app and also has a web-based app so that most of their banking functions can also be carried out on tablets, laptops and PCs.
N26 Mastercard debit Card
The N26 bank account comes with a Mastercard debit card (not a prepaid card). The only fees on this are a €2 ATM withdrawal fee if you make more than 5 ATM withdrawals in Ireland in a month.
The €2 ATM fee does not apply to ATM withdrawals outside Ireland, but there is a 1.7% fee for all non-euro withdrawals. This 1.7% fee is lower than the Irish banks, who all charge around 3.5% for non-euro cash withdrawals.
Unlike all the other Irish banks there are no conversion or processing fees for using the N26 debit card to make purchases in currencies other than Euro. The N26 Mastercard also has no fees for contactless payments.
Signing up to N26 is free and needs to be done with a smartphone via a video call. You just need to fill in an online form and show yourself and your passport. Over 18s only, no joint accounts. They'll send out your Mastercard after a few days.
Apple Pay is a method of paying for things using an Apple iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch or Apple Mac. It is a digital wallet, you store your card details on the device then use the device to pay rather than the card itself.
In shops, you hold the device over a contactless reader, but unlike contactless cards, where the payment goes through straight away, with Apple Pay, you put your finger on the Touch ID sensor on your phone or double-click the side button on your watch.
The money comes out of the same bank account as if you used the physical card.
Apple Pay has been available in Ireland since March 2017, but not all Irish debit cards can be used with Apple Pay. Apple says that using Apple Pay is safer than using a plastic debit or credit card because every Apple Pay transaction requires authentication with Face ID, Touch ID, or a passcode.