N26 is a German online bank that has clients in almost all of Europe. At N26 you can request a free MasterCard debit card with which you can pay worldwide. And you also get a smart mobile bank account for free.
One of the best features of this card is that owners will get a free (German) IBAN bank account, purchase insurance, and an app that keeps beautiful statistics of your payment behavior.
How does the N26 MasterCard work?
You open an account online within 8 minutes. You will then receive the card at home within a few days. The N26 MasterCard debit card is free, together with the IBAN bank account associated with the card. You can do things like view your balance and change your card settings online via the browser or with the mobile app.
You can put money on your card by transferring an amount to the bank account number that you get with your card. This is an international transfer because N26 is located in Germany. The processing time is in most cases 1 working day.
The N26 debit card allows you to pay (almost) anywhere where the Mastercard logo is used. That could be restaurants, airlines, hotels, and so on.
Using the N26 Mastercard for Maestro payments:
If you pay with a debit card in a Dutch store, this is most likely done via the Maestro network. The average maestro retailer does not accept credit cards or debit cards that use the MasterCard or VISA network.
N26 offers a solution for this: a debit card with both the MasterCard and the Maestro logo. This card can be used as a Dutch debit card (contactless), but also in places where a MasterCard credit card is accepted.
As a user, you will not notice the difference. In Dutch shops with the Maestro logo, the card automatically chooses the Maestro payment. And whether you pay with the debit card or with the Maestro function, your PIN is the same. The only condition to receive an N26 pass with Maestro is that you top up your account with at least € 100.
How to order a free card with the Maestro logo from your account:
- Go to My account
- Go to Card settings
- Swipe left until you see a card with the Maestro logo
- Choose Order.
The N26 ‘base map’ is free, with no one-off or recurring costs. Charging your balance and paying in Euro is done without commission. You can withdraw cash from an ATM in the EU no more than 5 times a month; after that, you pay € 2, – commission per admission. Withdrawing money in currencies other than euros costs 1.7% of the amount.
Cost card: Free
Top up bank transfer: Free
Top up iDEAL: N / A
Payment in EUR: Free
Payment in currencies other than EUR: 1.7%
Withdraw money from ATM: 5 x per month for free, then € 2 at a time.
Before ordering, always check the most current rates on the N26 website.
Types of Paid Mastercard Available with N26 Account:
Besides a free debit card, N26 also has paid cards. They work just like the free card, but offer a few extra features.
N26 You Paid Debit Card Account
The N26 You account costs € 9.90 per month. This debit card also includes travel insurance and an extra year of warranty on some purchases. You pay no commission for cashing money in another currency.
N26 Paid Metal Debit Card account
The N26 Metal card offers the same benefits as the N26 You, but adds a few plus points. For € 16.90 per month, you also get a personal assistant who can, for example, make restaurant reservations for you or arrange taxi rides.
Online or via the app
Unlike some other online banks, such as Revolut or Monese, N26 does allow you to manage your banking account in a web environment. This means that you do not depend on your mobile phone, but also manage your debit card or view your transactions in your web browser. Useful if you cannot use the mobile phone for a while.
Features and Extras
As mentioned, N26 offers a Mastercard debit card with a German bank account linked to it. But it doesn’t stop there, because you can access all kinds of useful functions via the website or the mobile app.
For example, it is possible to set daily or monthly payment limits. You can also change the PIN immediately via the app. Other useful functions are the (temporary) blocking of online payments or payments abroad. And if you lose your pass, you can immediately block it via the mobile app.
You will receive a push notification for every incoming transaction, every payment, and every cash withdrawal. In stores, this notification is often already displayed on the screen of your smartphone before the pin device prints the receipt.
Because it includes a full bank account with an IBAN number, it is tempting to increasingly use N26 as your primary bank. And when you do, you will see that N26 automatically categorizes your expenses. This way you can see exactly where your money is going.
Pros and Cons of N26 Card/Account
Advantages of N26
- No BKR testing
- Including payment account
- You never spend more than you have
- Mobile app and web environment
- Register online very quickly (8 minutes)
- Free debit card from Mastercard
- Push notifications of all transactions
- Commission when introducing new clients
- Free cash at ATMs up to 5 times a month
Disadvantages of N26
- Topping up your balance is not possible with iDEAL.
- App, website, and customer service in English.
- Linked to a German bank account.
- No possibility to buy crypto coins like with Revolut.
Alternatives to N26
We said it already in the introduction: competition between various financial startups offers consumers all kinds of advantages. N26 is not the only online bank with free payment cards.
Other banks that offer a combination of (almost) free MasterCard debit card and bank account are Revolut, Monese, and TransferWise.
Here too, you can easily open a bank account via the mobile app.
How to Apply for N26 prepaid credit card
Registering with N26 is quite an experience. Not because it is difficult – on the contrary – but because everything happens online and in a matter of minutes.
Note: If you use the mobile app, you will have to log in via the computer sooner or later. N26 wants to see your face and your passport in a video call. That is sufficient to consider you as the rightful owner of the bank account.