After Revolut (our test), we tested Number26. This startup in the fintech category was launched in Germany in 2015 by Valentin Stalf and Maximilian Tayenthal and also offers a 3.0 banking service.
What is the difference with a French online bank, such as Boursorama Banque for example?
In contrast to Revolut, Number26 has as its partner the Wirecard bank, based in Munich. The service claims more than 150,000 customers following its launch in various European countries (Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Austria, etc.). Without being a real bank, Number26 therefore offers a free bank account with no obligation of income. The advantage that Number26 also has over Revolut is that you also have a real RIB in your name (with an IBAN bank identification number).
How do I open an account?
Once the application is downloaded, you must identify yourself and validate your account. This happens online from your smartphone via video chat. Until 11pm you can register, a person who speaks English will ask you some information and supporting documents that you have to take a picture of. It takes between 10 and 15 minutes, if you have all the documents nearby (be careful, you need a passport, because the ID card does not pass). So it’s quite simple and your account is quickly opened!
What does Number26 allow?
As explained, this is a real bank account (which you will have to declare to the tax authorities via CERFA 3916) and you can receive or send money via transfers or even instantly via the mobile application. The latter is quite complete and offers daily management (via graphs, spending/purchasing categories, adding photos, notes, etc.) with a push system as soon as there is movement on your account. The service also offers a website where you will find all the app’s features, something Revolut did not offer for example. Note that access to Number26’s mobile application is secure (fingerprint, secret code, schema).
Like its competitors, Number26 also offers a free Mastercard equipped with NFC. The card is fully configurable on the app (PIN code, ceiling, foreign lock, etc.) and can even be deactivated.
On the other hand, Number26 is not a real bank and therefore does not offer consumer loans, interest-bearing accounts, cheque/cash deposits, home loans, savings books, etc. Similarly, it is not yet possible to make transfers to and from countries outside the Sepa zone.
How do you fund this account then?
In order to fund your account, you will need to have another bank account, as only bank transfer is accepted, please allow 48 hours (free). A friend who is a user of the service can also send you money via “MoneyBeam”. Where Revolut allowed to juggle with currencies (Euro, Pound, Dollar), Number26 limits to the Euro.
What are the hidden costs?
It does not charge any international fees for withdrawals and payments outside the Euro zone, regardless of the currency, which is the main advantage, especially if you travel a little! Note that there is no overdraft allowed, so there are no charges on that side either. On the other hand, Number26’s GNI is German, so even if it’s Europe, some banks can be capricious and charge a few fees on their side.
Closer to a traditional bank than Revolut, Number26 is a perfect extension to your existing bank. Simple withdrawal, sending money, payment on the Internet and of course payment when travelling all over the world, for this the service works perfectly. Number26 is not the bank of the future, but the bank of today. Mobile, accessible at all times and meeting basic expectations, Number26 is very easy to adopt on a daily basis.