Best free digital bank for non-French speakers
✔️ Best mobile app interface
✔️ Multi-lingual support
✔️ Excellent free base account
✔️ Zero fee transactions
✔️ Excellent benefits for higher-tier accounts
N26 Bank Review
One of the real upcoming giants in the digital world of banking is N26. Launched in 2015, it now has a full European Banking license, operating in 25 markets worldwide with over 5 million customers.
Your money is safe as can be in this digital bank since it is supervised by the Financial Markets Regulator. This means that clients’ funds are guaranteed up to €100,000 by the Deposit Protection Fund.
What does N26 offer and how do its different tiers work?
N26 offers “zero exchange fees on card payments in any currency” which is really useful for any of you who like to travel.
Since the bank account comes along with a free Mastercard Debit card (and an optional Maestro Card), your ability to pay should be accepted pretty much everywhere.
The sign-up process is short and can be easily be done completely in English, as well as French, Italian, German and Spanish. Which is a huge bonus over other banks if you struggle with Italian.
It’s important to note that you will need some form of EU/EFTA residence to open an account.
To give you a quick rundown on the 3 tiers N26 offers, here it goes.
The Basic N26 Bank account
The standard N26 bank account, with all its basic functions, is free and doesn’t charge any opening or maintenance fees at all.
With it, you can gain access to a French IBAN and its online mobile banking with a super easy-to-use app. And make unlimited payments in any currency anywhere in the world with your card or phone. Also, you can withdraw cash for free from ATMs up to 3 times per month.
The interface is honestly great, along with fantastic customer support to help you with everything.
You can even set up 2 sub-accounts with features to help you budget and manage your money to meet your financial goals.
It also uses artificial intelligence to “automatically categorize your spending”. So you can see the total amount you’re spending in each category. You can even create your own #tags categories – “#gifts # friends #eatingout, you name it.”
N26 also makes it pretty simple and easy to use in exporting your transaction information and downloading it as a CSV or PDF file to make your tax returns and invoicing easier.
For higher levels of features, you can upgrade to an N26 You account for €9.90 per month.
This increases your free cash withdrawals in the Eurozone to 5 times per month. Also, you now can have unlimited free ATM cash withdrawals worldwide in any currency outside the Eurozone. You also get some extra-poppy debit card colors to choose from.
N26 You gives you a whole travel insurance package to protect you with Medical insurance, Trip insurance, Flight insurance and Luggage coverage.
This definitely helps for people who like to travel by giving you peace of mind that you’re covered against any unpleasant surprises.
If you thought you weren’t insured enough, it also provides Mobility insurance for shared vehicles, covering you for damages of up to €20,000. There’s also Winter sport insurance in case of accidents on trips to the mountains.
N26 You also increases the number of sub-accounts you can create. From the basic 2 to up to 10 sub-accounts so that you can better organize your money and save for different goals and projects.
Finally, N26 You grants you premium partner offers and discounts with world-class brands. Which is a huge bonus for those who like to buy things from those partners anyways.
You might even end up saving more through the discounts than what you actually pay in the monthly fee. So, this is definitely a great option to consider.
Then, if you want to upgrade to the highest level of N26 Metal for €16,90 per month, you get to choose from 3 metallic shades to get a stainless steel Debit card.
Now on top of the N26 You benefits, your Eurozone withdrawals increase to 8 per month. Also, you’re given Car rental insurance for your rental care hires away from home of up to €20,000 as well as Phone insurance of up to €1,000 against theft and damages if the event and phone are eligible.
N26 Metal expands on the previous offers and discounts with their partners to bring Metal customers “access benefits and bespoke rewards” to complement your everyday, “from hard-to-find tickets, VIP passes to private events, unique workshops and memorable days out”.
You’re also given a dedicated priority phone line so you can call them to sort out any questions you have immediately.
Whilst some people might think N26 Metal is a bit ‘extra’ for most normal people above the N26 You, given the relatively cheap price tag versus the benefits, its actually a very attractive bank account tier to go for.
Of course, which one of the 3 tiers of accounts best fits you personally is up to you decide.
If you want the most basic version there is, the standard N26 account works best.
For more dedicated features, offers and support for those who might like to travel with extra perks and benefits, N26 You and N26 Metal are definitely the best for you.
N26 Bottom line:
N26 is definitely one of the best digital banks to use for foreigners and people who aren’t super comfortable with French.
It’s very simple to use and has the best digital app interface there is. And with the higher tiers, it can offer some of the best packages of perks and services that you would want.
The only possible downside is that since it is fully online and there aren’t any physical branches you can visit in France, you don’t have anyone you can talk to face-to-face to help sort out any questions you might have.
But since they always have online chat support and even a dedicated phone line for Metal customers, you should have no real problems getting your questions sorted out. They are well known for their high customer satisfaction and service.