Germany's N26 sets up UK waiting list

Germany's N26 sets up UK waiting list

German mobile bank N26 is preparing for a UK launch, inviting British citizens to register their interest and join a waiting list.

The Berlin-based startup, which has been advertising for a UK regional manager for some months and has already done the build-out to connect to the UK's payments plumbing, has yet to set a precise timeframe. It describes the push into the British market as "a natural next step".

Launched in Germany and Austria in January 2015, N26 began as a current account with a Mastercard. It now operates as a fully-featured bank, reaching 500,000 customers in 17 European countries.

Customers get access to an instant overdraft, international transfers into 19 currencies through a tie-up with TransferWise, investment options via Vaamo, real-time consumer credits up to EUR25,000, and savings accounts from banks across Europe thanks to a recent deal with Raisin.

News of the UK launch comes weeks after the bank set up a waiting list for prospective customers in the US, with a promise to begin offering banking services by mid-2018.

While the push into the US market will need to be conducted in partnership with a licensed third party banking partner, N26 is using its European banking licence to parachute into the UK. Whether this will retain its validity in post-Brexit Britain is a moot point. German car-maker VW, which also operates in the UK under a German licence, is currently weighing an application for a full UK banking license to ensure that it can carry on providing car loans after Brexit.

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