N26 has long been my favorite bank in Europe, and for good reason. Their user friendly app, low fees, useful integrations—like Transferwise—and their investment module puts them miles ahead of most of the competition.
The fact that you don’t have to show up in a physical branch anywhere makes it an even sweeter deal—especially for the nomadic crowd.
I’ve written extensively in the past on why I love N26 so much, so if you’re still not sold check out this article.
In short, all you need to do is to:
- Register for an account here
- Download the N26 app to verify your ID
- Pair your smartphone
The process is quite quick and easy, but if you’re unsure about anything, keep on reading for all the details you might possibly need…
Anyone can open a N26 Bank account, as long as they are resident in the EU or EEA. In order to open an account, you need a mailing address in one of the countries where N26 operates for them to send you your Mastercard.
As of this writing, N26 operates in all the Eurozone countries, except Malta and Cyprus. That leaves Germany, Austria, Spain, Italy, Ireland, Slovakia, Greece, France, Belgium, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, and Slovenia. They will also start offering local accounts in the United Kingdom in late 2018 and the United States in 2019.
You also need a smartphone running iOS 9 or Android 5 or higher.
Opening an account in N26 bank is easily done in three steps:
- Filling out the online registration form
- Completing an ID verification
- If your address is outside Germany: ID verification by taking a selfie and a photo of your ID through the app or
- If your address is in Germany: ID verification through a video call or at a German post office
- Pairing a smartphone with your account
The first and thirds steps are the same for everyone, but the second step varies depending on your residency. For the rest of the article, I will assume your address is not in Germany. If it is, read this article instead.
You start by filling out the N26 registration form. Just go here and click the Open Your Account button.
The country you sign up with will determine the features and pricing for your N26 account “forever”, even if you move to another EU country at a later date.
You will be asked to enter your:
- Email address
- First name
- Last name
- Country where you live
- Date of birth
- Phone number (can be from any country, but not a virtual number like Google Voice)
- Mailing address (for sending your Mastercard—use of a C/O address is okay, e.g. if you want to have your card delivered to a friend or family member)
Next, you’ll be asked for “the serious legal stuff” (standard AML—anti money laundering—questions), which includes your:
- Job title and industry
- City of birth
- Tax residency (country where you pay tax)
- Tax ID number where you’re tax resident (optional)
Finally you have to agree to their terms and conditions, and optionally opt in to product updates and some privacy settings.
After you have confirmed your email, you can log in to your account and choose which N26 plan you want. Which plans you can choose from depends on in which country your delivery address is. If it’s in Italy you can choose between all plans:
- N26 (recommended if you don’t need travel insurance and don’t withdraw a lot of cash in other currencies)
- N26 Black (good travel insurance, and no FX fee on cash withdrawals)
- N26 Metal (same as Black, but with priority customer service, a super cool metal card, and exclusive deals and discounts)
- N26 Business (essentially the same as the regular N26 plan, but targeted at freelancers using the account for business purposes)
If you’re unsure, just go with the regular N26 plan for now. You can always upgrade later. NOTE: If you select the Business plan you can not change to a personal plan later, so for most people I would not recommend it!
Assuming you don’t have a German address, the ID verification is super simple: You just need to take a selfie and a photo of your ID document with the N26 app.
These are the ID documents for various nationalities that are supported through the N26 app:
- Algeria (Passport only)
- Angola (Passport only)
- Argentina (Passport only)
- Australia (Passport only)
- Austria (Passport & ID card)
- Belgium (Passport & ID card)
- Bosnia Herzegovina (Passport only)
- Brazil (Passport only)
- Bulgaria (Passport only)
- Canada (Passport only)
- China (Passport only)
- China - Hong Kong (Passport only)
- China - Macao (Passport only)
- Colombia (Passport only)
- Croatia (Passport & ID card)
- Cyprus (Passport only)
- Czech Republic (Passport & ID card)
- Denmark (Passport only)
- Egypt (Passport only)
- Estonia (Passport only)
- Finland (Passport & ID card)
- France (Passport & ID card)
- Germany (Passport & ID card)
- Ghana (Passport only)
- Greece (Passport & ID card)
- Hungary (Passport & ID card)
- Iceland (Passport only)
- India (Passport only)
- Ireland (Passport & ID card)
- Italy (Passport & ID card)
- Japan (Passport only)
- Kazakhstan (Passport only)
- Latvia (Passport & ID card)
- Liechtenstein (ID card only)
- Lithuania (ID card only)
- Luxembourg (Passport & ID card)
- Malaysia (Passport only)
- Malawi (Passport only)
- Malta (Passport & ID card)
- Mexico (Passport only)
- Morocco (Passport only)
- Netherlands (Passport & ID card)
- New Zealand (Passport only)
- Nigeria (Passport only)
- Norway (Passport only)
- Peru (Passport only)
- Philippines (Passport only)
- Poland (Passport & ID card)
- Portugal (Passport & ID card)
- Romania (Passport only)
- Russia (Passport only)
- Serbia (Passport only)
- Singapore (Passport only)
- Slovakia (Passport & ID card)
- Slovenia (Passport & ID card)
- South Africa (Passport only)
- South Korea (Passport only)
- Spain (Passport & ID card)
- Sweden (Passport & ID card)
- Switzerland (Passport & ID card)
- Thailand (Passport only)
- Turkey (Passport only)
- Ukraine (Passport only)
- United Kingdom (Passport only)
- USA (Passport only)
There are exceptions where an older passport, even from the mentioned countries, is not supported. That might be the case if it lacks biometric safety features—something most modern passports have.
If you don’t hold any of the passports or ID cards listed above, your only option is to open an account with a German address and go to a German post office.
After you have verified your email address, download the N26 app to your phone and log in. Make sure the lighting conditions are good so the pictures are clear.
Make sure you have your passport or ID card (according to the list above) and follow the instructions in the app. It shouldn’t take more than a minute!
The final step to activating your account is to pair your smartphone.
After you complete the ID verification, you will be guided through the steps for pairing your phone to your N26 account.
Make sure the number you entered during the activation is correct and click confirm. You then receive a four digit verification code via SMS and enter it in the app.
If you need to change the number you registered with, just contact N26 support and they will help you out.
Once you have paired your smartphone, you can use it to verify transactions such as SEPA transfers, Moneybeam, activating your Mastercard or Maestro card, and a few other things.
That’s it! Look out for your shiny new N26 Mastercard in the mail!
So what are you waiting for?
Open your N26 account right now—you won’t regret it!