Fintech startup N26 is announcing yet another international expansion move. The company plans to launch its bank of the future in the U.K. at some point during the first half of 2018.
As N26 already has a German banking license, the company can also operate in the U.K. Without getting a separate license. British customers will get an account in GBP, a debit card and personal account information.
“First of all, we’ll launch with the same feature set as the rest of Europe,” N26 co-founder and CEO Valentin Stalf told me. “The thing that is going to be different for the U.K. is that you’ll have a U.K. sort code and account number. And also we’ll bring all the products that we have including our premium card.”
When you create an account, you get a debit card from MasterCard and a checking account. You can then send and receive money, accept direct debits, pay anywhere around the world with your card without any foreign transaction fee or markup, lock your card, set your own limits and get push notifications for each transaction.
The company also plans to launch savings, investment and credit features pretty quickly. In some cases, N26 will do it in house. In other cases, N26 will partner with another fintech startup. The startup might rely on its existing partners or look for new local partners.
The U.K. uses its own payment system. That’s why it took a bit of time to bring N26 to the U.K. N26 has developed a full integration with the British payment system. This way, you can replace your regular bank account with an N26 account from day one.
There are many competitors in the U.K. already, such as Revolut, Monzo, Starling, Atom and Tandem. Some of them don’t have a banking license and operate as an electronic wallet with a payment card. Others have a banking license, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that they have made the switch to their own infrastructure yet.
“If you look at our user base, most of our users don’t use the card primarily for travel,” Stalf said. “We’ve never gone for a sort of niche on the market. It’s not just a product for travelers. N26 is a bank that you love to use from standing orders to direct debits, credit and savings.”
Last week, N26 also announced plans to launch in the U.S. in 2018. Eventually, Stalf says you could imagine opening multiple N26 accounts in different countries. Each account could have its own account number. It’s not just one account with multiple currencies. N26 is getting aggressive when it comes to international expansion.