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Number26, the German startup that offers a new and fully digital banking experience, launches in Spain

Written by Jaime Novoa

Spain is one of the first countries (outside of Germany and Austria) where baking startup Number26 has launched its services. Here’s what they offer and how you can open a new bank account with them.

number26

Number26’s founding team (left to right): Christian Rebernik (CTO), Maximilian Tayenthal (COO, CFO) & Valentin Stalf (CEO)

Number26, the German startup that offers a new and fully digital banking experience, is now available in Spain.

The startup, which sits on top and uses the banking license of an official financial institution named Wirecard, is looking to differentiate itself from competitors in two areas: in terms of design and usability and in how easy it is to create a new account.

The experience it offers is mobile-centric and after registration, which is done via browser or app and after showing our face and passport to a German representative, consumers will receive a MasterCard debit card in 3 to 4 business days.

Once received, you’ll be able to withdraw cash from any Spanish ATMs and send and receive money to any European bank account, with no fees attached.

Asked about this, a Number26 representative told us that “we will not charge fees for withdrawing money at any ATMs, however there is a really small percentage worldwide where ATMs themselves charge fees”. If this happens, the company says, “we recommend to cancel the transaction and find the next ATM”. This applies to any ATM in Europe.

In terms of receiving and sending money from/to other bank accounts, Number26 claims that it’s “free of charge to your account” within Europe. That means that if your bank charges any fees when receiving money from any account, that is out of Number26’s control.

Expanding in countries with “old banking technologies”

The company, which has been operating in its home country for almost a year, has launched simultaneously in France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Slovakia and España.

Number26 says that these countries were selected as the first step in the company’s expansion because they “rely on old banking technologies and an expensive infrastructure”. As a result, the company says, they “believe that there is a higher demand for our mobile first bank account”.

The company is working on a Spanish version of its site and mobile apps, which we guess it will be key in Number26’s adoption in Spain. Customer support is also done from Germany and in English, and Spanish consumers won’t have the option of visiting any physical bank branch for other customer support issues they might encounter.

Besides the usual features most banks provide these days (such as push notifications or SMS when any translation takes place), Number26 offers features such as MoneyBeam (to send money to friends), the ability of withdrawing and making cash deposits at thousands of grocery stores (only in Germany) or flexible overdraft levels.

The startup, which claims to have 80,000 clients in Germany and Austria, also promises to integrate other financial products into its app in the near future, such credit, savings or insurance products.

Number26, which is quite similar to banking startup Simple (acquired by BBVA for $117 million), has raised more than $12 million from various German VC funds, including Earlybird VC, backers of Spanish mapping company CartoDB.

About the author

Jaime Novoa

Jaime Novoa is the Founder of Novobrief.

He is a technology writer turned investor at Madrid's K Fund. He was also a data analyst at Tech.eu.

1 Comment

  • He intentado pasar su proceso de verificación por video conferencia en 4 ocasiones y es imposible si no tienes un nivel de ingles alto. Realmente se ofrece a españa pero no tienen soporte en español para verificar tu identidad, algo que no se entiende. Lo hacen a traves de una compañia externa y es complicadisimo, en el momento que dices que eres español, te ponen trabas de todo tipo, tratan de mantener la compostura pero se nota a leguas la animadversión que provocamos al resto de europeos, somos ciudadanos de segundo orden.

    Es un proceso parecido al fichaje policial que se ve en las películas, porque a fin de cuentas te sientes un poco como un delincuente cuando debes demostrar quien eres.
    Comienzan por que debas deletrear tu correo electrónico, ya te ponen muecas cuando empiezas ji el pi… siguen con un, estese quieto interminable para sacarte una foto, otra del pasaporte (nada de dni como dicen) y aquí empiezan las trabas, que si la foto sale pixelada, que cual teléfono tienes, que la conexión no es buena y después de ponerte a hacer el mono con el pasaporte (que si gírelo, que si muéstreme su código de seguridad) te dicen que no pueden entenderse contigo y que te busques un traductor. Y te cuelgan sin mas replica.
    La cara de tonto que se te queda es para enmarcarla.

    En el soporte de number26, te dicen poco mas o menos eso, que es una empresa externa contratada, que poco pueden hacer mas que tomar nota y que te busques un interprete. Esta gente debe pensar que esto es la onu, que sales a la calle y el interprete te esta esperando en la puerta de tu casa.

    Humillante y vergonzoso este trato, ademas de una sorprende desatención a su ‘supuesto’ público español, idioma hablado en el mundo por cerca de 400 millones de personas.
    Si muestran esta falta de consideración un banco online donde no queda mas remedio que verificarte de este modo, no quiero imaginar como sera con el resto de operaciones. Que tengas que solucionar un problema con el departamento de incidencias y esté externalizado también. Buff!
    Su gancho es la tarjeta mastercard. Pero no se si en el fondo, merece la pena.