N26 Review 2024 – Is the best bank for travelers?

N26 Review - Is the best bank for travelers?

N26 Review – Are you looking for an N26 Notice before organizing your trip in 2024? Or just to open a second bank account? I explain everything to you in this article. Indeed, I started to take an interest in bank charges abroad during the preparation of my world tour (when the N26 bank did not yet exist ^^).

My experience with traditional banks as a traveler

It was 6 – 7 years ago. I naturally made an appointment with my traditional banking advisor to find out if any options existed or if my card could be adapted to my project. This dear lady told me: go ahead, there is no problem, we take into account that you are abroad, we will not block payments and withdrawals.

I said to myself, that’s great. And in the end, this story cost me dearly . When you don’t have any special options, you have fees on each payment of up to 2%, plus withdrawal fees abroad.

I realized this after 5 months of traveling. I was in Mongolia, I met French people who were also traveling on a road trip. While discussing our travel habits, we noticed that we were at the same bank.

And there they told me about the International Jazz option. I directly sent a message to my banker who had left (I’m sure due to incompetence) and there I was offered an option for international withdrawals and payments.

Then I used this option for the end of my trip and for a few years. Please note that this option is of course cheaper than no option but is not free. Between the option and miscellaneous costs, that’s around €20/month. It may not seem like much, but put together, it makes a nice budget.

What are the types of bank charges when traveling?

As you know, I travel a lot. I am therefore very often faced with bank charges abroad.

But this is also the case if you travel little because traditional banks apply fees which are sometimes not negligible in your annual travel budget.

Bank card fees abroad

In the cutthroat world of banking, there are two types of cards: MasterCard and Visa . Then, these two cards have different levels of service: gold, premier, etc. They cost on average €30 to €40 per year for a simple card. It also depends on the banks because online banks are very competitive.

Send money abroad (pay less) with Transferwise

If you’re looking to send money abroad, I recommend TransferWise . It’s a great tool for sending and receiving money abroad with low fees – much cheaper than using your local bank.

You can also get your own local bank details in Europe, UK, USA, Australia and New Zealand with the TransferWise Borderless account.

Bank account maintenance fees

It’s basically someone managing your account . Some banks apply it as long as you have an open account whether it is used or not…. It is monthly or annual debit.

Fees related to foreign transactions

They are numerous and quickly expensive.

Bank charges abroad

  • For withdrawals, it is made up of fixed (2 to 3€) and variable (2 to 4%)
  • For card payments, there are “just” the variables (2 to 4%) of the amount.

Foreign exchange fees

Visa or MasterCard sets it, around 1%.

ATM or ATM fees 

Not all the time but it can happen.

Foreign transfer fees

For all transfers outside the SEPA zone (Europe)

In addition to bank charges, you may also have banking problems abroad. Finding yourself in the middle of nowhere with zero means of payment isn’t the most unforgettable travel memory, at least not in a good way.

Before giving you my Review on N26 for 2024: My meeting with the N26 bank

A year ago, the N26 bank arrived on the market . Much less naive than 6-7 years ago, I am now on the lookout for anything that can simplify my daily life as a traveler . N26 is one of them and here’s why.

What is the N26 bank?

This is a German online bank , aimed at 18-35 year olds.

Online banking offers two options depending on whether you travel a lot or a little.  In my case, I subscribed to the traveler option but I’m going to tell you about both.

The first, the basic N26 offer

It is a Mastercard: opening the account and the card are free .

Cash withdrawals in euros are free up to 5 times a month. Then it is charged €2 per withdrawal, regardless of the amount. And a great advantage, bank card payments are free and unlimited whatever the currency and therefore the country.

N26 You, the Premium offer

This is the offer I subscribed to, dedicated to travelers. I’ve been using it for over 2 years. You can see it in detail on this link .

See the latest N26 You price

Opinion N26, the bank for travelers in 2024?

This offer and its N26 You card are suitable for frequent travelers or those who are going on a world tour.

You do not need to have regular income to subscribe to the offer unlike HelloBank or ING. You simply need to reside in one of the 17 countries where the neo bank N26 is active (including France of course).

The price of the N26 You offer and what it includes

You must commit to 1 year and it costs €9.90 per month (price up to date in January 2024).

You have in this offer:

  • the N26 You card and its rather nice design . It’s anecdotal for some but I like it.
  • Free and unlimited withdrawals anywhere in the world and for any currency. No more pockets full of bills!
  • The N26 You card gives you access to rather practical concierge offers .
  • no bank management fees .

Insurance for Premium Accounts

Bank N26 offers the following insurance package for N26 You, N26 Business You and N26 Métal premium accounts with (among others):

  • An extension of medical emergency coverage to members of the same family
  • Insurance for self-service vehicle rental
  • Insurance for your smartphone ( up to €1000 in the event of theft or accidental damage )

N26’s partnership with Allianz Assurance

It’s the little extra that goes a long way if you ask my opinion on N26!

It includes protection insurance if your phone is stolen, 90-day travel insurance abroad and protection if your phone is stolen when withdrawing from an ATM. And above all, reimbursement of hospital medical costs as well as costs if your flight is delayed by more than 4 hours .

This insurance is sufficient for a trip of less than 90 days . Beyond that, I advise you to take out travel insurance which will start afterwards. This still saves you almost €200 on your budget for a world tour.

Read Also: N26 vs Revolut – Which is Better in 2024?

How to subscribe to the N26 offer?

Here too it is rather well thought out and simple.

You must go to their website and complete a registration form , return codes received by SMS. Then, you have a video chat meeting with an N26 person to take a photo of your passport.

Your bank card free of charge abroad is then sent to you within 2 to 5 working days.

The very nice sides of the N26 card

  • The mobile smartphone application which is well thought out and intuitive. You can schedule notifications and list your expenses into categories. A real budget ace, you will be!
  • Choosing your card code. It’s really great especially when you have several cards. End of headaches!
  • Sending instant transfers to other N26 online banking users.

But as with any product there are also other points to take into account and some less positive N26 reviews.

The less nice sides of N26 (in my opinion)

Small downside. It’s a debit card, not a credit card . For example, if you take gas, the station takes a deposit. There you are actually debited for the deposit amount even if you are re-credited afterwards.

Another negative point on this same topic is that you cannot use this card to rent a car. In fact, you cannot use the card as a security deposit . You can’t leave an imprint on this card. I got scammed once and had to go back to my accommodation to get another card, wasting 2 hours.

Well, it’s minor and it’s really manageable, especially considering all the benefits. And also note that there are no overdrafts allowed either.

Revolut, the competitor of the N26 bank

I can’t do an article where I give my opinion on N26 without talking about its big competitor Revolut!

Revolut launched into the similar niche of neo banks some time ago. I am not a customer of theirs so I have not been able to test the card. I still heard about it. Here’s why I won’t subscribe to them. 

First, withdrawals are free, but charged at 2% when you exceed the sum of 650 euros per month. And, it can go quickly sometimes.

That being said, more and more of you are telling me that Revolut has evolved so I will perhaps re-test their services in the coming months.

Afterwards, no real bank is linked and therefore no insurance is offered unlike the N26 and Allianz mobile bank.

Finally, you only have access to free services if you use it in certain currencies and I find that really unfortunate. I personally don’t want to limit myself in my travels or think that I would have costs because of certain currencies. There is so much to see all over the world, why limit yourself with such considerations?

Important tip to know: Always have a second bank card for traveling

Why have a second bank card for traveling?

I always travel with two credit cards on two separate accounts. For what ?

Quite simply because if one of your bank cards is:

  • lost
  • hacked
  • stolen
  • not accepted at a distributor

You will always have the second backup without having to wait a week or two for your bank to send you your new bank card.

In addition, it may happen that the distributor accepts Mastercard and not Visa. The opposite is also true.

So to summarize, I use my N26 bank account as my main account for all withdrawals and spending. But when Mastercard is not used or if I have a problem, I always have my second bank card which is a Visa.

Which travel bank to choose for your second bank card in 2024?

Personally, I subscribed to another free online bank for my visa : Capital One

Same, it’s a great, very practical online bank with a mobile application and very responsive customer service (online/chat). I’m very happy with it.

As for fees abroad, they charge a standard rate of 2% on withdrawals and payments.

Otherwise there is also Bunq with its new Schwab or Monzo card which I hear a lot of good things about!

I was with ING direct, but they provide a Mastercard. Additionally, I find that their service is in decline.

To summarize, always have two bank cards with you when traveling, a Mastercard (personally it’s my N26) and a Visa. Spread your travel budget between these two accounts in the event of hacking or theft.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) N26 Reviews

How to deposit a check on N26?

Unfortunately it is currently not yet possible to deposit checks on N26. In fact, the bank does not have physical branches so you cannot deposit your check remittances there. In fact there are a few physical agencies but only in Germany.

How do I put money and fund my account on N26?

You cannot deposit cash into your N26 account for the same reason as checks. No physical agency. But as some banks in France (like Nickel) can do, it is possible to deposit cash in the CASH 26 partner network. This network is currently only active in Germany, Austria and Italy but it should soon arrive in France.

How to make an N26 transfer?

It is very easy to make an N26 transfer. Everything happens in the online application and in just a few clicks. There are 3 types of N26 transfers. The moneybeam between N26 users is instantaneous. The SEPA transfer in the Euro zone where you can register a RIB in a few minutes and finally the international transfer with their partner Transferwise.

How to contact N26?

Everything happens exclusively within the N26 application. There are always advisors who are there to guide you via instant chat. It is also possible to communicate directly with the dispute department via this email address disputes(at)n26.com

How to activate an N26 card?

Have you received your N26 card and now want to activate it? Nothing’s easier. Simply enter a 10-digit code (token) located on the front of the card under your name. In addition, as N26 is an online bank you can use your card virtually without waiting to receive the real physical card with Google Pay or Apple Pay.

How to get a RIB with N26?

To find and download an N26 RIB, simply go to its mobile application on your account statements or in the “My account” section.

Can we be discovered with N26?

No, it’s impossible in France. Authorized overdrafts are only active for users in Germany and Austria. In France, the N26 card is under immediate debate so if you no longer have money in your account you will not be able to spend more.

Conclusion on the N26 bank travel blogger review

The N26 bank’s offer is worth around €7.90 per month and allows payments and withdrawals abroad. It’s 4 times cheaper than my previous option with a ton of very practical advantages : the app which is great, the choice of secret code (when you have a lot of cards it’s really good), making direct transfers between people who are at N26, payment by fingerprint, contactless, etc.

I’ve been using it for over 2 years and honestly I’m convinced. It’s well thought out and really helpful . It really made my life easier and I won’t change.

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