Berlin-based startup N26 got its own banking license a few months ago. As N26 is building a mobile-first bank without any physical branch, the startup can expand to new countries much more easily. N26 co-founder and CEO Valentin Stalf is announcing on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt that the startup is now active in 17 countries across Europe.
As a European banking license works across the Eurozone, you’ll now be able to open an account in many countries in the Eurozone. While you could already open an account in Germany and Austria, signups had been on hold in France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Ireland and Slovakia for a while. You can now sign up again in these countries.
And starting today, if you live in Belgium, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal and Slovenia, you can also open an N26 account.
While N26 doesn’t have any branch, providing good customer support is key when you’re trying to build a bank. While many people speak English, it’s much easier to become mainstream if you can provide support in everyone’s native language.
The startup is taking tiny steps in this direction with a support team that can speak English, German, French, Spanish and Italian.
The company is still saying that it has 200,000 customers, but this new expansion could bring a ton of new customers. The transition from Wirecard to N26’s own back end is still in progress, and based on my own experience, it looks like it’s taking a few more weeks than expected.
But N26 is also adding new features. In addition to providing a modern checking account, the startup is building a fintech hub so that you get all the features you expect from a bank.
For instance, N26 lets you transfer money using TransferWise in the mobile app. There’s an investment feature for German customers and the company recently announced a premium Black card with a few insurance features.
Stalf showed logos of various fintech startups on stage at Disrupt, talking about some of the potential partnerships with other startups. For instance, you could image N26 working with Robinhood, FinanceFox, Vaamo, Raisin, Nutmeg, Auxmoney, Clark, LendingClub and Amazon.
The app alone makes N26 worth it. I’ve had some terrible experiences with other banking apps. Most of them aren’t even native apps, they use web technologies and are slow. N26 is a well-designed native app — it’s like drinking a glass of ice water in hell.