Many readers of this blog are doubtless aware of N26, a German bank that is expanding to the US. I had put myself on their waiting list some months ago. (According to news reports about 100,000 people in the US had put themselves on that waiting list.) A week or so ago an email arrived saying that Real Soon Now I would have an opportunity to actually open an account. Today another email arrived saying yes I really can open an account. Which I have done. And I have a few initial reactions.
One thing is that as far as I can see, N26 does not have any connection with Zelle. I would have expected N26 to have a connection with Zelle but no.
Another thing is that as far as I can see, N26 has no way that a US accountholder could receive a bank wire via SWIFT. Many banks outside the US would thus be unable to do a bank wire to my N26 account.
Nor can one write checks that draw upon one’s N26 account.
What you do get is a Visa debit card. It permits up to two ATM cash withdrawals per month, free of charge (except that the operator of the ATM will almost certainly charge a fee). And of course the card can be used in stores. And can be used for online purchases.
I have not yet received the physical Visa card. It is a chip card, and can be used in some “tap to pay” NFC systems. When the card arrives, I will among other things try to add it to my Android Pay app. I don’t know whether that will work.
How do you get money into such an N26 account? You cannot for example deposit a check into the account. As far as I can see the only way to get money into the account is via an ACH transfer (for example a payroll direct deposit).
How do you get money out of such an N26 account? You cannot send bank wires. You cannot send ACH transfers. You cannot write checks. I guess the only day-to-day choices are, you go to an ATM and get cash, or you buy something using the debit card. (Or when you are buying something, maybe get a little cash back from the store as part of the debit card transaction.)
It is interesting to try to figure out what the problem is for which an N26 account is the solution.
Do you have an N26 account? What do you think of it? Do you recommend it to others?