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The Best Bank Account in Germany: My Review of N26

In this post, I am going to tell you about the bank which I have fallen completely in love with after 3 years of poking around and learning and trying different banks here in Germany. At this moment this bank is pretty much the best you can get and that too completely for free.

When I was still in India and was planning to come to Germany, I used to contemplate every day what kind of things I would do when I am finally in this country: what cities I would visit, what food I would eat, what people I would meet and which career I would take. Before coming though, one thing I promised myself was no matter what comes, I would take the chance and try something new. And that’s exactly what I did last weekend when I told you on Instagram about switching to N26. I switched and it’s week 1 of my experience with it and I have some updates to share with you.

Going forward just remember that the logo of this bank is “The Bank You’ll Love”.Rarely any other bank manages to put out such a bold statement about their services, but N26 did it and they have solid features to back it up with. Now the reasons why I personally love this bank account and shifted from Volksbank to N26 are the following:

1. Instant Money Transfers:

Most of the bank accounts in Germany take at least 1-2 days for transferring money from one account to another. With Volksbank, doing an Überweisung was a pain and it is the same with most of the other German banks. You take a piece of paper (Überweisungszettel), write the details of your bank account and the one you want to send the money to and then give it at the branch. But not with N26. If you are transferring money to another customer of N26, it happens instantaneously and if you are sending it to somebody else, even then it generally happens within the day.

2. Spaces:

N26 has a really cool feature called “Spaces“. It is free subaccounts that you can create and delete any time you want and the amount that you save in these sub-accounts is not shown in the main account so that you only see the amount which is available to you for your normal expenses and that way, you never touch the money you already save in the sub-account. I am heavily using this feature to manage money better and I am adding how my sub-account looks like in the photo. If you are receiving your Blocked Account Money, you should rather receive it here because the small amount of money you receive can get very effectively managed with the help of spaces.

3. Sending/Receiving Money from India:

I would admit: this might be the reason why I love it the MOST! Ever came across a bank account which can send money to India and receive money directly from its app? I bet not. N26 makes it so simple and fast (really fast. My parents received the money that I sent from my N26 bank account within a day in their Indian bank account). You can just directly send the money in INR and the transfer is almost 6 times cheaper than the normal bank accounts! I know this because I did the transfer once with the Hamburger Volksbank and now I did with N26 and the surcharge was crazy low! No matter which currency you want to transfer the money, you can do it very quickly and without hefty fees like other German bank accounts.

4. Support in English:

Anything that you need to do, read or ask from the customer support, all of that can be done really easily in English. This is something that most bank accounts struggle with.

5. Using Apple Pay or Google Pay:

If you are in a habit of using your phone to pay for stuff in supermarkets, stores or other businesses, you’ll love it again because N26 Master debit card is Apple Pay ready. If you want to go to a shop where you have to pay via EC Cards, you can order the Maestro card along with the normal card in the app, completely for free in the paid plan.

6. No Forex costs:

If you are on the paid plan of N26, you get real-time currency exchange rates and no surcharge whatsoever when you are paying with your debit card or taking money out from ATMs worldwide. With my Volksbank card, every single time I would go to Denmark or Turkey, it just wouldn’t work because nobody accepts VPay and then if it would work, then the forex charges will be insanely high.

7. Breakdown of Expenses:

When you are getting your Kontoauszüge, rarely do you get to a statistic or a pie chart which breaks down where you spent what kind of money, but N26 does it for you all in real-time (see photograph).

8. Making a “Dauerauftrag”:

If you want to regularly transfer money to some other bank account, you have to make a Dauerauftrag at your bank where they set up a rule e.g. 100 Euros get transferred to XYZ bank account on the 1st of every month. You might need this if you are into investing and are again, using the best platform available for investing in ETFs and stocks: Trade Republic. The transfer is really fast and as soon as you have the money, you can invest again. I love TR too and I will make a separate post about it.

Of course, N26 doesn’t come without some drawbacks either. So far, if you want to put cash inside your account or change the coins, you can only do it free for 100 Euros a month and after that, there are some charges and also you can only take out cash 5 times per month for free and afterwards again there are some charges.

Although for me, it doesn’t even come close to a deal-breaker for me because I do all of my transactions via my phone or the card. Every single starting of the month I take out some cash money in case we come across a business which doesn’t accept cards and at the end of the month, any excess that I have left, I again take out and put it in the safe of my bank account (oh yes! I am still old school that way). The money that I put here, never gets touched and is saved for our black days, in case something happens to me or Alina. But all in all, this is THE German dream for me, especially when it comes to bank accounts.

I actually love this bank account so much, that I even got Alina shifted to N26 ?( You might remember if you follow the Instagram stories). If you would like to experience this insanely simple and classy bank account completely for free, you do it in the following steps:

1. Visit: https://bharatingermany.com/n26

2. Use the referral code: bharatc0934 (Of course, you don’t have to, but it would be lovely if you do!)’

And you are set!

Make sure that you have a residence permit card and your Indian/ other passport ready when you are activating the account. They don’t accept the normal visa stamps in the passport. You can find the identity documents needed for different nationals on their website too. Here is the link to the PDF: https://docs.n26.com/cs/Support%20Center/Verification/201804-supporteddocs-DE-DE.pdf

Even if you don’t want to shift from your main bank account to this, I would still highly encourage to just try it as a second bank account (it’s free and you can have as many bank accounts as you want in Germany!) to get a feel for it and I can say this with 100% guarantee that once you start using it, you will take no time in making this your main bank account.

Alright then! I leave you to apply for this lovely bank account this weekend. N26 is really not playing around with their motto: You will seriously love this free bank account!

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