Digital Bank Guide

N26 does a Brexit

February 16, 2020

N26 gives UK account holders until the 15th April to move their money out

The Berlin based digital bank N26 on Tuesday announced that it will pull out of the UK market, claiming the reasons for its Brexit are Brexit itself. 

If we look into the UK banking regulations we find that EU banks which do not have a UK banking license will only have a few years to passport and use their EU banking license in the UK. It’s a wonder that N26 didn’t get its act into gear sooner and get a UK banking license, as many other players have done.

We speculate that the true reasons for the digital bank’s departure are lack of profits in the UK and the fact that it was struggling to compete with the likes of Monzo, Revolut and Monese and Starling.

What this means if you are a UK based N26 account holder

N26 has said it will give all 200,000+ account holders until the 15th April to move their money away from the bank before their accounts are closed. This might come as quite a surprise for those who have taken the banks word since the 18th months it has been operating in the UK. We note that there were several blog posts on the company website (since deleted) which mention that the bank would stay in the UK regardless of the outcome with Brexit.

What should I do if I want a new digital bank that operated in the UK?

We suggest you open a Revolut or Monese account, the former if you want a more full service offering and plan on doing international travel; and the later if you want a convenient digital bank for your daily banking needs.

The end of N26 in the UK but it will continue in the EU

N26 which has attracted considerable interest across europe, especially in Germany. It has amassed around 5M users and will continue to operate in the EU and focus its efforts there.

The bank has raised capital from several prominent firms like Tencent holdings and billionaires such as PayPal founder Peter Thiel and Hong Kong based Hutchinson Whampoa founder Li Ka-shing.

Will Sorby, the general manager of N26 UK, said: “We would like to thank all N26 customers for their support. We’ve planned the next steps carefully to ensure this process is as smooth as possible for every customer in the UK.”

It’s likely that the UK customers of N26 will have their needs more than taken care of by competitors Revolut, Monzo, Starling and Monese.


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