N26 throws down gauntlet to “no brainer” UK banking market

German challenger comes to compete with incumbents

By Rebekah Tunstead | 5 October 2018

German fintech N26 has begun its phased launch into the UK.

The country has seen many a challenger bank set up shop in the last 10 years with Monzo (2015), Starling (2014), and Atom (2014), as incumbents increasingly fail in areas of customer service – according to recent CMA rankings. Many high profile tech failures such as TSB have led to equally high profile resignations.

The UK’s presence as one of the most digitally advanced economies in the world was incentive for N26 to branch attempt to penetrate the market. “Independent of Brexit the UK market was always a no-brainer. We want to become a global finance brand and so the UK was a natural next step for us as it is one of the most digitally advanced markets in the world,” said the N26 spokesperson.

The bank sees it’s main competitors not as other challenger banks, but rather the incumbents.

“We’re not launching to compete with other challenger banks, we’re competing with traditional banking services that are failing to meet the needs of today’s mobile customers,” the spokesperson said.

“75 percent of users in the UK market are with the big four banks and 85 percent are with the big six. We’re the fastest growing mobile bank in all European markets we operate in and we see this market as a big opportunity.”

Valentin Stalf, CEO and co-founder of N26 explained the rapid growth that the fintech has seen since its inception. “It took nine months to accelerate from 500,000 to one million customers, and only four months to reach more than 1.5 million, who generate over €1bn in monthly transaction volume,” said Stalf.

Following an initial friends and family phase, a rollout to the waiting list of more than 50,000 UK subscribers is planned, with a full public launch planned for November.

The bank was founded in 2013 by Stalf and Maximilian Tayenthal in Germany and has held a European banking licence for two years.

Following the beta launch, customers can expect to see an overdraft facility.

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