German digital bank N26 will stop operating in the UK due to Brexit
Brits are no longer able to open new accounts with N26 and all UK-based accounts will be shut down on 15 April 2020.
The bank says the timings and framework outlined in the EU Withdrawal Agreement mean that the company will, in due course, be unable to operate in the UK with its European banking licence.
What should N26 customers do?
The bank’s UK customers are advised to withdraw any money in their account (including “Spaces”) or transfer it to an alternative bank account ahead of the account closure date. N26 Mastercards will be automatically deactivated when accounts are closed.
Anyone with a negative balance is asked to top up their account before 15 April.
Accountholders with automated transactions on their account (such as direct debits or salary payments), or who have stored their card details on online shopping sites, PayPal or an e-wallet, have been advised to make alternative arrangements with another bank ahead of the account closure date.
If anyone tries to make a payment into a N26 account after 15 April, it will bounce and be returned to the sender’s account.
Customers won’t be able to access historic account information after 15 April, so are advised to download their N26 data before their account is closed.
Customers with paid-for N26 Metal or N26 You accounts will cease to have access to the benefits, including Loungekey and travel insurance, offered by these accounts after 15 April. However, the travel insurance will continue to be valid for journeys that begin before 15 April.
N26 customers wanting to switch to another bank account should be aware the bank is not part of the Current Account Switch Service.
Why is N26 closing UK accounts?
N26 has been offering current accounts to UK customers since December 2018 in an attempt to take on app-only banks Starling and Monzo.
But it won’t be able to operate in the UK under its European banking licence when the Brexit transition period ends in December 2020.
Theoretically, the bank could apply for a British banking licence, but this would be expensive and time-consuming.
Thomas Grosse, chief banking officer at N26, says: “While we fully respect the decision that has been taken, it means that N26 will in due course be unable to serve our customers in the UK and will have to leave the market. Customers with accounts in other markets will not be affected.
“Although we will be leaving the UK, we will continue our mission to radically transform the global banking industry through innovation and the power of technology and design to build a bank the world loves to use. This means growing within the European Union, where we recently crossed the 5 million customer mark, building our presence in the US, one of the most attractive global banking markets, and expanding into new countries.”