The 4 best alternatives to N26

Adam Rozsa

N26 is a German challenger bank which offered US residents a free account through its online and mobile banking service. Accounts came with a linked debit card you could use with Google Pay and Apple Pay, free ATM withdrawals through the N26 network, and no foreign transaction fees.

N26 closed their US service on January 18, 2022. Use this guide to N26 alternatives to help you find a different digital banking provider. We’ll introduce our top N26 alternatives including the Wise account, which is free to open, and offers international money transfers to send money with the mid-market exchange rate.

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📝 Table of contents

Overview

Let’s look at a summary of some key features of the N26 alternatives we selected.

FeesMoney transferBusiness account
VaroFree to open, no monthly chargeNot availableNot available
WiseFree to open, no monthly chargeMid-market exchange rate and low, transparent feeAvailable
RevolutFree standard plans - 9.99/month for Premium accounts and 16.99/month for Metal accounts

Exchange with the mid-market rate to 1,000 USD/month with standard plan

Standard plans can make 10 free transfers/month, with a 0.3% fee after that

Available
ChimeFree to open, no monthly chargeNot availableNot available

n26-alternatives

What should you look for in an N26 alternative?

Choosing an alternative to N26 requires a little research. This N26 alternatives guide will give you some great places to start. However, deciding between our top picks will come down to exactly what you want from your account.

Here are some key questions to bear in mind as you go on:

  • Are you prepared to pay a monthly fee to get more features?
  • What are the charges for transactions you make frequently?
  • Do you need to make international payments?
  • Do you want an account which can be used when you travel?
  • Are you looking for a personal or business account?
  • Is the provider you prefer fully licensed and regulated?

Digital banks and similar financial technology companies offer convenient ways to manage your money online and through mobile apps. However, the focus and coverage of different providers does vary quite widely. In many cases, online providers offer a less extensive range of accounts and services compared to a traditional bank, which makes choosing the right one for your specific needs even more important.

N26

N26¹ is a Berlin based bank which holds a European banking license. N26 accounts were previously available in mainland Europe, the UK and US. However, N26 has recently stopped account services in the US and UK to focus on building the brand in mainland Europe. N26 accounts in the US were free to open and had a limited range of fees, making them a convenient way to manage your money on the go. Get a full N26 review here.

Pros

  • Online and mobile account services
  • No monthly charges
  • Early payday with direct deposit
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No minimum balance

Cons

  • N26 accounts are no longer available in the US

Now, let’s see the N26 alternatives!

Here are the best N26 alternatives

n26-alternatives

Varo

Varo² online bank accounts are free to open and aim to help people who may otherwise struggle to open a regular account. There are no monthly fees and no minimum balance, and there’s no credit check before opening an account. You won’t be able to spend more than you have, which can help you to manage your money and build a credit score.

Pros

  • No monthly fees
  • No credit check to open your account
  • Fee-free ATM withdrawals at 55,000 ATMs
  • Visa debit card
  • Early direct deposit payments

Cons

  • International payments are not available
  • No domestic wire payments
  • Cash advance services are available, but fees apply

n26-alternatives

Wise

The Wise multi-currency account is a truly global account, allowing customers to hold and exchange 50+ currencies and send payments to 80+ countries. You can also get bank details to get paid from 30 countries for free, and a linked debit card to spend in 200+ countries around the world. Accounts are secured with 2-factor authentication and 24/7 anti-fraud technology.

Pros

  • Free to open, no monthly fee and no minimum balance
  • On average,6x cheaper than old school banks
  • Direct Debits in 3 currencies (GBP, EUR, USD)
  • Spend on your card in any currency and always convert with the lowest possible fee
  • Regulated by 11 international financial authorities

Cons

Get a free Wise account today

n26-alternatives

Revolut

Revolut³ describes itself as a financial super-app. In the US, you can open a free Standard account, or choose to upgrade to one of 2 different fee paid account plans. The Premium account has a 9.99 USD/month charge, while Metal account holders pay 16.99 USD/month to unlock further features⁴. Hold and exchange 28 currencies in your Revolut account, and use your linked card to spend in 140 currencies. Get a full Revolut account review here.

Pros

  • Choose the account plan that suits your requirements
  • Currency exchange uses the mid-market exchange rate - limits and some fees may apply
  • Hold and exchange 28 currencies
  • Get a linked debit card for free in network ATM withdrawals and up to 1,200 USD/month of free out-of-network withdrawals⁴
  • Budgeting and saving features available

Cons

  • Relatively high monthly fees for Metal accounts
  • Currency exchange costs more out of exchange hours (1%) and for currencies such as Ukrainian hryvnia and Thai baht (1% within and 2% outside exchange hours)⁵
  • Account limits apply - fair usage and transaction fees apply beyond your account tier limit

n26-alternatives

Chime

Chime⁶ is an online bank which has accounts for day to day use and savings. You’ll get a linked debit card with your account for easy spending and free in network withdrawals at 60,000 ATMs. There are no foreign transaction fees when you’re spending abroad, either. Chime has a range of services to help people manage their money and build credit, including fee free overdrafts to cover small value payments.

Pros

  • No monthly fees
  • Early payments through direct deposit
  • Fee free overdraft facilities
  • Credit building options
  • Budgeting and saving tools available

Cons

  • 2.50 USD out of network ATM withdrawal fee⁷
  • International transfers are not available

Bottom line

Choosing the best N26 alternative for your needs will take a bit of thought. The good news is that there are several great options out there if you’re looking for a digital account you can manage online and in an app, which also comes with a linked card and neat features to help you cut costs.

Take some time to think about how you’ll use your account, so you can find a provider which offers all the services you require for free, or with low fees. Some of the providers we’ve profiled like Chime and Varo stand out for their accessibility and credit building options. However, their international services are limited.

If you’re looking for an account which comes with no monthly fees and offers currency exchange with the mid-market exchange rate 24/7 take a look at the Wise account. You’ll be able to hold and manage 54 currencies, and use your debit card to spend with the mid-market rate when you travel.

Learn more about Wise

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is N26 closing?

N26 has announced that from 18th January 2022 it will no longer operate in the US. That’s because it is focusing on growing its operation in mainland Europe instead.

Which is better, N26 or Bunq?

Bunq is based in the Netherlands and doesn’t offer accounts in the US. N26 is a German bank which offers accounts in mainland Europe only. Both offer great digital account services and low transaction fees - the best one for you may depend on availability in your country, and how you’ll use the account. If you’re US based and need an account you can use to receive, hold and send payments in euros, check out the Wise account as a smart alternative to N26 and Bunq.


Sources:

1] N26 US home page
2] Varo Money homepage
3] Revolut US homepage
4] Revolut US pricing
5] Revolut US fees
6] Chime bank homepage
7] Chime bank FAQ

All sources checked on 24 January 2022


Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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