Number26 gets banking licence and new name
German digital bank Number26 becomes N26 and has received its banking licence, 1.5 years after launching.
After applying for the licence nine months ago; Germany’s Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) and the European Central Bank gave the bank regulatory approval to conduct operations across Europe.
“This banking licence is an important additional step for us to sustainably change the value chain in retail banking. This will allow us to significantly enhance the diversity of our product portfolio,” says Valentin Stalf, founder and CEO of N26.
N26, with its “mobile-first focus”, says the banking licence means it no longer has to develop all products in-house, but lets it partner with fintech firms and financial providers.
The bank continues to work with TransferWise, a UK-based international money transfer platform, to provide N26 customers with direct “in-app” access to TransferWise’s service.
It also partners with a “traditional”, well-established domestic banking player, Wirecard Bank, so that all current accounts are actually opened with Wirecard Bank and the funds are under its management.
Banking Technology contacted N26 about its future relationship with Wirecard.
The spokesperson says: “Currently we are still working with Wirecard. In the autumn we will start operating on our own platforms. Until then we will continue to work with Wirecard.”
Since launching, N26 has released services, such as CASH26 (cash withdrawals at retailers) and MoneyBeam (money transfers via SMS or email). It says it has more than 200,000 customers in eight European countries.
Looking to the future, N26 says real-time credit, “increased security” through artificial intelligence, and expense sharing are some of the “innovations” planned in the next 12 months.