Number26, a smartphone-only banking service, launches in Germany

Number26, a smartphone-only banking service, launches in Germany

Dubbed 'the Simple for Europe', after the US-based banking startup now owned by Spanish Bank BBVA, online-only bank Number26 has begun taking deposits from pre-invited customers in Germany and Austria.

Number26 relies on a banking license from Wirecard Bank, a German-based institution which will act as the startup's strategic partner. The firm claims that account openings will take less than eight minutes and are completed entirley on a smartphone. The mobile app for iPhone and Android is now available.

“The bank branch of the future is the smartphone. That’s why with Number26 we have created a bank account the way it should be – transparent, mobile and secure,” says Valentin Stalf, founder and CEO of  Number26.

Once opened, all Number26 bank accounts come with an attached MasterCard. The account and associated MasterCard are offered without fees. The banking startup also offers worldwide money withdrawal, free of charge. The startup claims that since it is not supporting a branch network, the associated costs are not passed on to the customer.

Transactions are displayed on a smartphone app, which include statistics to help customers manage their finances. For every account movement or card transaction, the user receives a notification on his or her smartphone in real time. Money transfers can also be enabled via e-mail or text message. Account opening identity is verified via a video call, with no printed documents required. 

“We are happy to support Number26 with its attractive mobile banking solution. This way, we are taking the next step towards a customer-friendly, transparent and safe mobile banking experience together,” says Wirecard Bank director Alexander von Knoop.

Currently, the bank account is available in Germany and Austria. The firm claims that due to the high volume of pre-signups, an invitation to open the account is necessary. Expected waiting time for new subscribers is now four to six weeks. Existing customers, however, have the opportunity to invite friends who can then sign up immediately and skip the waiting list.

Founder and CEO Stalf explained his startup's business model and banking goals in a recent Finextra webcast, A look at the exploding world of FinTech - available to listen to on demand now. 

Comments: (1)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 26 January, 2015, 12:03Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Congratulations @valentinstalf, looking fwd to see the success stories #Number26 would create and be a milestone for #Digitalbanking in EU!

I hope the existing regulations would be flexible enough to facilitate easy client onboarding and online sales of banking products. And Number26 would be an example for all other banks in EU - which would like to empower their digital channels. #ttavlas

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