Revolut and N26 Current Accounts

Discussion in 'Banking, credit cards, etc' started by tomdublin, Feb 25, 2018.

  1. tomdublin

    tomdublin Registered User

    Having used both a Revolut and an N26 current account for some time I thought I should share my experience with them. Going by the postings here there is still some confusion about how these accounts work and what they offer.

    The main draw is that neither of them is an Irish-based bank. They thus save you from having to deal with pushy sales reps, inexplicable delays in processing electronic transfers, constantly changing terms and conditions and stealthy fees. Also, Revolut and N26 both offer apps that are significantly better than anything available through Irish banks at the moment.

    The main difference between Revolut and N26 is that the former does not have a banking licence (technically it is not a bank). That means that funds are not covered by any deposit insurance scheme, which makes leaving larger sums of money on your account somewhat more risky. (Revolut says it is applying for a full banking licence, but it's not clear when this will have happened.)

    Opening both accounts, including ID verification, can be done online and is fast and easy. The apps for both accounts are very user friendly and intuitive. Transactions register in real-time through push notifications. A nice feature with both accounts is that users can selectively disable and enable certain card functions, such as contactless payments and internet purchases. It's also possible to categorise different types of inflows and expenditures for a better overview. Not being a bank, Revolut offers less functionality than does N26. For example it's not possible to set up direct debits, but standing orders should work fine for both. Neither accepts cheques and it is not possible to lodge cash. N26 offers a debit Mastercard whereas Revolut lets you choose between Visa debit or Mastercard debit. Revolut says that it will offer savings accounts in the future. N26 already offers high interest savings accounts through an intermediary (Raisin) but it's not available to Irish-registered customers (no guessing why that might be).

    Both accounts are free to use, without any maintenance costs or charges for normal transactions (N26 offers a premium version at a monthly charge that includes travel insurance, but it seems a little overpriced). Free banking is not conditional on minimum account balances, unlike most “free” current accounts in Ireland. Revolut accounts can also be topped up for free with a debit card.

    Both accounts will save you money if you travel a lot outside the Eurozone or if you make online purchases in Sterling or USD. For Irish bank-issued credit and debit cards the combined cost of using them outside the Eurozone can be up to around 4% which is made up of inflated exchange rates plus - in some cases - additional transaction fees. The cost of using ATMs can be even higher. By contrast, Revolut and N26 both charge the interbank exchange rate on purchases and neither charges any transaction fees. Cash withdrawals outside the Eurozone are free up to a certain amount (e.g. €200 per month for Revolut) and incur a 2% charge for additional amounts (which is still cheaper than using an Irish-issued card at an non-Euro ATM). Revolut's 200 Euro limit annoyingly includes Eurozone withdrawals, whereas N26 limits the number of free monthly withdrawals. But for most customers who use their debit card whenever possible instead of cash these limits should not be a problem

    N26 is based in Germany and Revolut in the UK but SEPA makes transferring money easy and efficient. It's faster to transfer money from Revolut and N26 to Ireland (and vice versa) than it is to transfer money between two Irish accounts. Both accounts allow instantaneous transfers between their respective customers through their apps which can be a useful feature for people who regularly send each other money

    In my experience, both and N26 and Revolut had teething problems when it came to customer service. Revolut experimented with an infuriatingly useless automated service agent, whereas N26’s customer service sometimes seemed to go AWOL for days on end. These problems seem to have eased. Moreover, both apps are now largely bug-free.

    One drawback with both accounts is that they can only be accessed through a mobile phone app, not a web-based browser (N26 lets users access their account through a web browser but all transactions have to be confirmed through the app). This means that if your phone is lost or stolen you will have difficulties managing your accounts.

    Verdict: N26 and Revolut offer a similar service. Free banking, handy apps and quite dramatic savings on foreign currency transactions can make the move worthwhile. Revolut’s lack of deposit protection means that I would not currently use it as my main current account, but transferring small amounts into the Revolut account as you spend it should be fine. If you are looking for an alternative to your Irish current account N26 is probably the best choice until Revolut has sorted out the insurance problem. Once you have made the move you likely won't look back.
  2. DeclanDublin

    DeclanDublin Frequent Poster

    Thank you for this detailed analysis, Tom. Very useful. I use the Revolut card, but as I have a free Irish CA I see no great advantage to the N26 apart from the possibility to make larger withdrawals over and above the €200 Revolut limit.
  3. CiaranT

    CiaranT .

    Revolut now have 75,000 Irish customers.Huge achievement. Rabo got 90,000 Irish customers via massive advertisement campaigns. Revolut has got 75,000 Irish customers largely just from personal recommendations.

    I have has a Revolut card since shortly after they launched. Have used in in multiple countries and for all my non-euro online shopping. Cannot fault it. It's a brilliant service.
    Eithneangela and DeclanDublin like this.
  4. DeclanDublin

    DeclanDublin Frequent Poster

    Gotta love Revolut. Tho I have now applied for N26 to allow for w/drawals without penalty over €200 pm. Went thru the process today, reasonably easy and slick, tho I have come a cropper getting a text to pair my phone with the account. I sent them a Messenger message and they replied pretty promptly. Not sorted yet, but don't doubt it will be. You have to hand it to these new operators - they are pretty impressive.
  5. DeclanDublin

    DeclanDublin Frequent Poster

    Got my new N26 account up and running. Customer service is excellent with online chat and swift, swift reactions to correspondence. There is something very impressive about German efficiency.
  6. deviant

    deviant Frequent Poster

    I signed up for an N26 account in February via their app. The app strongly directs you to sign up for their pay-monthly "Black" account which I did by accident, but then cancelled on the same day using their app. I got a confirmation email from N26 stating I cancelled my black account that started like this

    "We’re sending this message to let you know that you have canceled your N26 Black membership. Your insurance coverage will also end on the 2019-01-31."

    Now having checked my balance, I am still being charged for the monthly fees of the Black account even though my account has been downgraded to their free account.

    I have queried this with them and sent them a screenshot of my cancellation confirmation email on Twitter and their response has been that "I am sorry to say that, but the email clearly points out that the Black membership will end in 2019. At no point is there any indication that you requested or that we processed a revocation. I cannot see that anything went "wrong" here.

    For some reason they make a contractual distinction between revocation and cancellation which I think is misleading and ambiguous. They define a revocation as:

    "Right of Revocation
    You may revoke your declaration of agreement within 14 days, without specifying the reasons, by means of an explicit statement. The above period shall begin following receipt of this instruction via a durable data medium, but not before forming the contract, or fulfilling our reporting requirements in accordance with Article 246b § 2 para.1, in combination with Article 246b § 1 para. 1 EGBGB (Einführungsgesetz zum Bürgerlichen Gesetzbuch) [Introductory Act to the German Civil Code]. In compliance with the revocation period, the timely dispatch of the revocation shall suffice if the statement is made on a durable data medium (e.g. letter, fax or email)."

    I cancelled my application using either their app or website, so as far as I am concerned, my liability for fees ended on that day. I am considering taking this up with the European Consumer Centre as I feel that N26's wording is intentionally misleading and that their unwillingness to deal with the issue means I've gone as far as I can with them as I can.
  7. banchang

    banchang Frequent Poster

    Does Revolut have the same chargeback protection which a credit card does

    ie if something ordered online is not received, or if an hotel is booked prepaid which somehow doesn’t materialize, can a chargeback to supplier be raised & monies reimbursed?