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Number26, Not Just Another Banking App : MoMa Trends: Mobile Payments

Blog: MoMa Trends: Mobile Payments

Berlin-based mobile bank Number26 launched its services in Spain, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy and Slovakia back in December. The company, already successful in Germany and Austria, currently has 160,000 customers and isn’t the only startup trying to build a bank for the smartphone generation, with examples such as Atom Bank in the UK or Simple and Moven in the US. But Number26′s ambition goes beyond just building an intuitive banking app — they want to build a “borderless bank” that works across Europe with no friction.

In case you’re wondering,  the name “Number 26″ comes from the 26-move Rubik’s Cube solution discovered by Daniel Kunkle and Gene Cooperman in 2007. The company believes that if you have the right strategy, a complex problem like a Rubik’s Cube or even the banking system can solved.

Number26 works with Germany’s Wirecard Bank, which holds a German banking license and deals with the regulatory aspects of its business. The partnership enables the startup to offer a bank account, issue MasterCards and connect to the MasterCard network in order to offer real-time banking information for users.

Number26 Main Features

Number26 is quite possibly the easiest bank account to open. Sign up is done online and then a Number26 representative will request a live image of the new customer holding their passport to verify the identification. Thereafter the account is open and the debit card is a few days away.

Number26 is also free – there are no regular account fees. The account itself, the MasterCard, international payments and withdrawals have no cost (although many international ATM providers charge their own fee when making a withdrawal). The startup makes money by taking a percentage off the MasterCard fee that is charged to merchants, and via interest on credit deposits where customer funds are held at partner banks.

Special attention is paid to design, and the entire service is modular and flexible – push notifications can be set up for every debit card transaction. The ability to set credit limits on the fly or disable an online payment are all included in the mobile application.

Number26 has also begun customising bank statements, believing people are not interested in all their transactions but only the ones that are irregular.

Other areas the mobile bank differs in, is by providing evidence that transfers occur immediately and in allowing users to block and unblock lost cards in the app or at an ATM, rather than forcing them to find and call a customer service number.

One thing is for sure, traditional banking is going to be disrupted and solutions like Number26 show what the future of banking will look like.


Note 1: After writing the post this morning, I couldn’t help getting excited about the idea of opening a bank account with Number26 and experience it first hand. However it appears that account openings are on hold as they have a huge backlog to work through. In just the first quarter of 2016 they have increased their customer base by 60.000. Within the app I was offered the chance to leave my email address for them to contact me once the issue is resolved. Looking forward to it!

Note 2: Just to clarify, this is not a sponsored post!



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Ainara Gonzalez Abaitua
Master in Digital Marketing
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