January 30, 2015
Number26 is a Germany based banking startup having a cooperation with the Wirecard Bank AG. The online-only banking service recently launched its services in Europe and has begun accepting deposits from customers in Germany and Austria. Number26 has established a strategic partnership with Wirecard Bank. The Wirecard bank has an official banking license. Number26 claims that account openings can be completed quickly, right on smartphones. It has dedicated mobile apps for both Android and iOS platforms.
Registered Number26 account holders receive a MasterCard payment card. There is no fee for the account setup and the payment card issue. The online-only bank offers worldwide money withdrawal at no additional cost. Since the banking startup is only available online and doesn’t have to bear the cost of a branch network, customers do not have to bear the additional costs that are usually passed on by traditional banks.
Number26 customers can track account transactions right on the mobile app which also offers statistical analyses to help better manage finances. For every form of transaction, the user receives a notification in real time. Customers can make money transfers even via email or text message. The account opening process in Number26 is verified through a video call or through official documents. The customer has the choice between both of these options.
The concept of an online only bank is ideal for the European market. In Europe, opening an account in a traditional bank is itself an onerous process. One needs to setup an appointment first with the bank’s local branch, then submit a number of documents, fill in reams of forms and have an unproductive conversation with a customer representative who only tries to upsell you.
Number26 is not the first one to offer this online-only mobile focused banking experience. In the US, Moven is a popular online-only mobile banking service - this has been well-evangelized by Brett King, Founder of Moven, on Twitter and other media. However, Number26 is the first of its kind in Europe. Simple, another BBVA company, is another service similar in nature to Number26, but based in the US like Moven.
Number26 ensures that your money is safe thanks to its banking partner Wirecard bank which actually holds the money. The differentiating factor in Number26 is its lack of fees for consumers. But the bank makes money from MasterCard’s interchange on every transaction which is transparent for the user.
Since Number26 is primarily live in Germany, the app supports only German for now but soon many European countries might adopt this seamless bank as well. The Number26 mobile app offers a feature where you can block your card, in case it’s lost, with a simple button. Once the card is found, you can unblock the card using the app without the need to wait and receive a new card. You can also block specific card functions like ATM transactions. This comes in handy in case you wish to lend the card to someone else.
In the near future, the online-only bank will add more features to make it even more compelling. Some of the upcoming features can be overdraft and saving options and corporate solutions as well. Number26 has raised $2.6 million so far from investors such as Earlybird Venture Capital, Redalpine Venture Partners, Axel Springer and Plug and Play Accelerator.