It has been a long time coming. N26 confirmed in late 2017 that they were going to open up to American customers soon. Initially, they hinted at a 2018 launch, but now, more than 18 months later, they have finally launched in the United States.
But you can’t just go to N26’s website and sign up just yet. First in line are the ones who signed up for the waiting list back in 2017, with a gradual rollout to follow over the summer.
I already signed up for a bunch of invites a long time ago, so you might jump the line by using one of those. Once I receive them I will send them to the people who leave their email here:
If you want to be notified when you can sign up for N26 in the US simply click here.
How to open an N26 account in the US
Once you get your invite (or they open up for the public later this summer), opening an account is a breeze. It only takes 5 minutes.
- You’re 18+ years old
- You’re a US citizen or a US permanent resident with an SSN
- You own a compatible iOS or Android phone
Step 1: Provide personal information
You’ll be asked for:
- Your full name
- Date of birth
- Social Security Number (SSN)
- Home address (not a postbox)
- Mobile phone number
- Your email address
Step 2: Verification
Next, N26’s systems will check your information against public databases. There might be additional control questions, but usually this is a quick and straightforward process that takes only a couple minutes at most.
Step 3: Funding your accounnt
Once you’ve been verified, you can set up an ACH transfer from your current bank to add money to your account. Or you can give your account details to your employer and wait for your paycheck.
Step 4: Receive and activate your N26 debit card
Typically you’ll have your new N26 Visa Debit card within a week. It’s being shipped by USPS.
N26 Features in the US
Unlike in Europe, N26 doesn’t have their own banking license (it’s an extremely long and convoluted process in the US), but will instead rely on a partner bank (Axos Bank). Deposits will still be insured by FDIC up to $250,000. Visa (instead of Mastercard) will issue the American cards.
Some of their popular features from the EU version has already made it across the Atlantic, including “Spaces” (virtual sub-accounts that help with e.g., savings goals) and their excellent budgeting features.
While their premium plans (Black and Metal) haven’t launched yet, they will probably be even more generous than in the EU, given the larger merchant fees banks earn in the US.
There is some good news here, and some less good, too.
First, the good:
- No monthly fees, and no minimum account balance
- No foreign transaction fee
- No overdraft fees (there’s no overdraft)
- Two free ATM withdrawals per month in the US (and soon N26 will be able to detect and refund ATM fees charged by the ATM owners as well—although that feature isn’t live yet)
- No fees for cash withdrawals from bank tellers or at e.g., supermarkets
Next, the bad:
- ATM withdrawals abroad cost $2 plus 2%
Ok, that wasn’t a lot of bad stuff—and it’s still much cheaper than most banks in the US. But compared to e.g., Charles Schwab, it’s not great.
How to open an N26 account from the United States right now
You can already open an N26 account while being located in the US right now, with the following caveats:
- You need to have a European mailing address
- The account will be based in Germany (or the United Kingdom), so it’s not practical to use for transfers or direct deposits in the US. But as a travel card, it’s still useful—especially if you have income in Euros (or British Pounds).
But if you’re planning on using the account primarily in the US or only have income in US dollars, it’s probably better to wait a bit longer before signing up.
However, as long as you’re a US resident or citizen, you can actually (and a bit surprisingly) have an N26 account both in the EU and the US at the same time. I say surprisingly because they don’t allow you to have a UK account and EU account at the same time. All you need to do is to sign up with a different email address than your original account.
Tip: If you use Gmail, you can add a unique string to your email address, like this: email@example.com in the case your regular email is firstname.lastname@example.org. It will still get delivered to your regular inbox.
If you have any questions or comments, leave them below!