Just another banking account?
About two months ago I signed up for number26, which is claimed to be “europes most modern bank account”.
number26 is a berlin based fintech startup with focus on making banking easier for everyone and changing the way we handle payments in our daily lives.
While I can’t tell you in detail how it works because I was simply too lazy to research all that, I will focus more on the usefulness aspect in this post and how it added value to my life while traveling.
Some of my friends where using it before and tried to convince me jumping on it, but as a typical “german” (noticed the irony there?) I was skeptical at first but at some point I got too curious how the app works and finally signed up. While signing up and creating the account itself was painless and took me about 2min max, it took me another month until I got through the authentication process and finally received my card. Not because the process itself takes up much time, but I was too afraid to call the support and too lazy for the authentication via the post. *haha* In general the whole sign up process is super quick and costs way less effort compared to conventional banks where you have to fill out loads of forms and shit.
The authentication process was quick as well. I had a call with a support lady which validated my ID by using my phone’s camera. Pretty neat!
Now after two months of using the credit card, I just wanted to share 2 reasons why I love it and how it changed my perception of credit cards.
But let’s tackle the biggest downside first (this is probably more relevant to germans)
The biggest pain in the ass is that credit cards(visa or mastercard) are still not very common in germany yet, which can cause a lot of pain if you don’t have any cash with you. That is why most people are still using debit cards (ec-cards).
I encountered so many situations where I simply couldn’t pay with card because the restaurant didn’t take credit cards. For those situations Number26 offers a debit card as well but you can only order one, after you have transactions worth of 100€ and I also prefer not to carry too many cards around.
I haven’t ordered one yet, since I’m traveling but I guess it works the same way as the mastercard. I’ll check it out when I’m back.
Ok, so here are the 2 reasons why number26 made my life so much easier:
1. Instant Notification
This is probably the feature I love most about Number26. Whenever I pay, I receive an instant notification on my phone about a second after. It always surprises me how interconnected the systems are that these transactions are processing so fast. The beauty of it is that it actually converts the amount automatically to my home currency, which in this case is AUD -> EURO. As far as I’ve noticed, it uses pretty much the daily exchange rate so you won’t lose any money and there are also no additional fees included. Perfect for travellers and so much easier when doing expenses.
The immediate notification also brings a huge security benefit to it because if you lose your card and someone pays with it, you will notice it immediately. Which brings me to the next point.
Remember the days, where you had to call a support number in order to get your card locked. These days are gone. The app allows locking and unlocking your card instantly by simply pushing a button. It is too easy to be true. I haven’t tried it out so I’m not sure how much time it takes until the card is really locked, but this feature definitely gives me a peace of mind. Besides locking the card you can also set a limit for withdrawal and payment per day. This avoids that you go over your budget (if you have one like me). Pretty awesome!
The contactless payment (using NFC, almost all credit cards have it already) is something I can’t live without anymore. Payment was never that easy, especially for us germans. Every time I paid so far, I had to hold back the fat grin on my face. I’m excited to see more innovation coming from the financial sector.
If you haven’t heard of Number26 yet or never tried it before, give it a shot. You can transfer a small amount of money first if you feel unsure about. But I can tell you that I never had a problem with it so far. Considering that nowadays all of our money is digital anyway and the liquidity of banks is probably almost zero, you have nothing to lose. *haw haw*
If you want to try it out, go to the website: Number26.eu