FinTech Profile: What makes Challenger Bank N26 tick?
As European countries battle for the title of fintech capital, Germany’s part in the race comes from a number of innovative start-ups. Among these is the Challenger Bank, N26. With the brand today announcing the launch of its new product, Shared Spaces, FinTech Magazine takes a closer look at the challenger bank
Founded by Valentin Stalf and Maximilian Tayenthal in 2013, the N26 Mastercard was officially launched in 2015. Since then the challenger bank boasts a customer base of over 3.5 million across 24 European countries.
Need to know: N26 top 5
1. Centralised control via the app: N26 does not have branches, instead all decisions and assistance can be obtained via its app, which is optimised for Android, iOS, and desktop.
While originally, the card owner would have had to call a bank ahead of travelling abroad, they can now activate the use of the card in specified locations through the Control Centre.
Alternatively, the card can be deactivated abroad, should the user remain in their home country, thus preventing fraud.
2. Free payments abroad: Many other banks will charge a foreign transaction fee, which accumulates quickly on holiday. This is money that can now be better spent on enjoying your time abroad.
3. Know your money: The card owner can receive real-time statistics of expenditure, organised into categories, as well as separate places to hold money within the app for a particular savings goal. This feature is similar to Monzo’s ‘pots,’ and allows a better control of finances.
4. Instant payments: In addition to the classic method of transferring funds with IBAN details, contacts on the card holders phone can receive payments within seconds. Recipients who also have a N26 account can receive payments instantly.
5. Adjustable withdrawal limits: the withdrawal limit can be controlled via the app, with a daily limit of US$5,500.
Latest news: Shared Space is here
Currently in Beta mode for selected customers, Shared Spaces is a new product designed to consolidate finances between joint accounts without the need for a joint account. Designed to improve flexibility, the product can be used for splitting bills and rent, sharing the cost of a gift and saving for a group holiday for up to 10 people.
- Fintech unicorn Monzo doubles value to $2.5bn thanks to Y Combinator
- Five things you need to know about FinTech unicorn Monzo
- Challenger banks and the future of business banking
- Read the latest issue of FinTech Magazine
“When we launched Spaces in 2018, this pioneering feature was one of the first in the market to introduce personalised sub-accounts, so users could set aside money based on their personal preferences and needs. Shared Spaces is a natural extension of this, and builds further on our efforts to deliver the most flexible banking experience in the world,” said Stalf.
Did you know?
As of July 2019, N26 has expanded to the US, opening an office in New York through a wholly-owned subsidiary. Along with the expansion into São Paulo, this firmly plants N26 as an international product.
Upgrade launch new credit card with bitcoin rewards
Upgrade, a fintech company focused on providing credit for mainstream consumers, has launched the Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Card a new version of its Upgrade Card featuring bitcoin rewards. Under the new programme, users earn unlimited 1.5% bitcoin rewards on every purchase as they make payments.
The custody and trading platform for holding and selling bitcoin is provided by NYDIG and the card is a Visa Signature card, which includes benefits such as trip and baggage insurance, purchase protection, and extended warranty coverage.
The company offers credit lines from $500 to $25,000 with the Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Card depending on your credit score. It works with Apple Pay and Google Pay. Like other Upgrade credit cards, there are no monthly fees, late fees, or returned payment fees.
"Upgrade Card is already delivering over $3 billion in annualised credit to consumers," said Renaud Laplanche, co-founder and CEO at Upgrade. "Starting today, anyone can apply for an Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Card and enjoy the same affordable and responsible credit as with any Upgrade Card, plus the potential upside and fun of owning bitcoin."
Participating in the crypto economy
Upgrade isn’t the first company to announce a credit card with bitcoin rewards, but it’s the first one that is generally available. Anyone can apply with no waitlist, and start using their virtual card immediately until they get their physical card in the mail.
"Crypto rewards introduce cardholders to a new asset class that is increasingly part of a consumer's financial portfolio," said Terry Angelos, SVP and Global Head of Fintech at Visa. "Whether you're a crypto enthusiast or just getting started, programmes like the Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Card offer an engaging and low-risk way to participate in the crypto economy."
At the moment, you can’t do much with your bitcoins. You can choose to hold them or sell them. There’s no way to transfer your bitcoins to another wallet for instance. If you choose to sell your rewards, there’s a 1.5% transaction fee.
This card is not currently available in all 50 states. Customers in Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia can’t order an Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Card at the moment.