N26 vs Monzo Mobile Banking Comparison Guide

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Online banking is becoming more popular is not a new phenomenon. Online banks are being challenged by neobanks and other neobanks. Although traditional banks still have their place in society, reports indicate that mobile-only banks will soon surpass high street banks.

It is easy to see why customers might choose banking apps. Transactions can be done anywhere and at any time, in different currencies, and often at a lower rate than traditional banks.

We’re going to take a look at Monzo and N26 as challenger banks. They are both very active in Europe, but they are almost unknown in America. N26 closed its British operations in 2020.

You should also be aware that neither Monzo nor N26 offer credit cards. This is enough preamble. There’s much more to talk about.

Who’s N26?

The bank, based in Berlin, has been in existence since 2013. It has over 5 million customers in more than 25 countries and employs as many as 1,500 people.

N26 is proud to promote its commitment to transparency in banking. Customers can shop as soon as they open their account – even before they receive their debit cards!

It’s important to note that US citizens have access to some, but not all, of N26’s features. We are focusing on N26 and Monzo because they both have EU-based and EU focused features, as we stated in the introduction.

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Who’s Monzo?

Monzo, like N26 is one of the earliest tranches of app-based banks. It was founded in the UK in 2015 and employs approximately 1,600+ people. It has almost 5 million customers.

Monzo, like N26, is keen to stress its commitment to transparency. We believe that banking can be improved by solving your problems, being fair and transparent.

Monzo’s London headquarters is located in London. It is, however, primarily targeted at EU citizens. However, it does offer services in the USA, just like N26.

Monzo vs N26: What are their Pros and Con?

So far, we’ve gone into a lot of detail. Let’s simplify the comparison by listing some pros and cons. These are the main advantages and disadvantages to Monzo and N26.

N26’s Pros

  • Standard delivery free for all card orders
  • You can get free cards and accounts
  • Budgeting is easy with N26 “spaces”
  • For online banking convenience, there’s also a desktop version in dark mode
  • N26 holds a full banking license

Cons of N26

  • The N26 offers limited services in the US
  • The UK doesn’t have N26.
  • International withdrawals are subject to a 1.7% transaction charge
  • Your savings will not earn interest

Monzo’s Pros

  • Access to an app with many tools that will help you manage your money, budget, save and manage it (available on both iOS and Android)
  • Monzo is a registered bank with the FCA
  • As you save money, you can earn interest
  • Joint accounts can be set up
  • Direct debits are easy to set up
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Monzo’s Cons

  • Although there are savings rates available, they are not the most appealing on the market.
  • Mastercard exchange rates are used to charge travel money, rather than interbank’s. This can make it more expensive than its competitors.
  • You will be charged PS1 every time you deposit money to your account.
  • If you withdraw money from abroad, a 3% fee will be charged.
  • There is no desktop app.

Comparing Their Core Features

You need to think beyond your current digital banking needs and consider what the future may bring. As we look at N26 and Monzo’s core features, keep that in mind.

N26

Customers have the option to open either a business or personal account. Let’s start with the personal accounts. There are four types of personal accounts (we’ll discuss their fees later).

Standard: This account is free for N26 and has limited features. Contactless mobile payments can be made with Apple Pay and Google Pay. Customers receive a transparent and free N26 Mastercard debit cards that can be used anywhere in the world. You can set spending limits and make payments for free. In addition, you receive three monthly ATM withdrawals free of charge within the Eurozone.

Smart: The account has all the standard features. You can also order an additional debit card in any of the following colors: slate, ocean, rhubarb or slate. You can now make five monthly ATM withdrawals free of charge within the Eurozone.

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You can withdraw unlimited amounts in any foreign currency from the Eurozone.

Metal: This account is N26’s most premium (and thus, the most expensive). Customers receive an 18-gram Mastercard debit card in metal for added glamour.

We have also listed N26 key features we believe you’ll find interesting:

Money Management

N26 customers have the option to open sub-accounts, which double up as savings accounts. These are called “Spaces” and their purpose is to help you track your money and manage it. Once you have set up savings targets, and made regular payments to them, N26 will automatically take care of the rest.

N26 also offers “Shared Spaces” where customers can access their N26 accounts. This allows them to save money towards the same goals.

Apart from the Standard Account which offers only two spaces, each personal account listed above gets 10 “Spaces”.

Making payments

N26 seamlessly integrates into MoneyBeam, so customers can send and receive money quickly.

Customers can also use Apple Pay or Google Pay for payments.

You can also integrate N26 with Transwise if you are moving money abroad. (Read our Transferwise review). This allows you to transfer money in 38 currencies at lower rates than traditional banks.

You can also receive inbound payments through the SEPA instant credit transfer.

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Reports and Statistics

N26 uses AI for automatic categorizing of your spending. Monthly reports are sent to all personal account holders on how your money is being managed across the various spending categories. It also gives you a comprehensive overview of all outbound and inbound transactions.

N26 Business Accounts

Let’s now focus on N26’s business account – they are great for startups. There are four options available, just like their personal accounts. There are fees but they will be covered lower.

Business – This account is completely free and you can use it to make contactless and mobile payments using Apple Pay or Google Pay. Customers get a debit Mastercard, 0.1% cashback on all card purchases and a debit Mastercard. You can withdraw three ATMs free of charge within the Eurozone and receive worldwide payments free of cost.

Business Smart is a paid account. Customers get the same benefits as the free account, as well as an optional colored Mastercard debit cards for free (the same colors as the personal account). You can also withdraw money from an ATM five times per month for free within the Eurozone.

Business you: Everything in Business Smart is yours, with the same ATM withdrawal limit. The smart account allows unlimited withdrawals in any currency.

Business Metal – This account is the largest and most expensive in N26’s business portfolio. You will receive an 18-gram metal credit card and 0.5% cashback. You can also withdraw up to eight euros from your Eurozone ATMs each month.

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N26’s business account also includes the following capabilities:

How to Manage Your Money

Business account holders can be allocated “Spaces” just like personal customers.

All your card transactions will be rounded to the nearest Euro and any price differences are automatically transferred to a “space”, so you can save even more. Account holders can track all financial transactions including invoice payments and download them in CSV or PDF format for tax returns.

Other Perks

N26 is keen to offer its customers great value for money, in addition to the banking services we have just described. Here’s a list of additional features this online bank offers to customers who pay for it.

The pricing tier you have chosen will determine what you are entitled to. These are not covered in this review. They may still be useful, especially if your frequent travels are frequent or you are looking for insurance. These are just a few of the additional benefits available:

  • Mobile phone insurance
  • Vehicle rental insurance with mobility insurance
  • Travel insurance
  • Travel insurance includes baggage delays, emergency insurance, flight delays and cancellation.

Monzo

Monzo, like N26 splits its bank offer into personal accounts and business accounts. Let’s start with the personal accounts. There are three options available, including a freemium plan (once again, pricing will be listed lower in this review).

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Monzo Current – This Monzo current account comes with a free debit Mastercard. You can access lending, savings, and overdrafts from this account. Deposit protection is available through the Financial Services Compensation System (FSCS), up to a maximum of PS85,000 per individual.

Bank transfers can be made to any UK bank account by account holders for no cost. You will receive real-time information about spending. Contactless payments can be made and you can use Apple Pay or Google Pay to make mobile transactions. This account is open for as long as you like.

Monzo Plus This mid-range account has an initial term of three months. You get the Monzo Current Account’s basic features plus a free holographic Mastercard. You’ll also receive:

  • 1.00% AER/Gross Variable Interest on Balances Up to PS2,000, and Regular Deposits in Your “Pots”. (See below).
  • Every 30 days, you can withdraw upto PS400 from abroad.
  • You can make one monthly cash deposit in the UK.
  • You can get up to five virtual cards for free.

Monzo Premium – This account is Monzo’s most costly. Customers receive a metal-colored Debit Mastercard, phone, travel insurance, discounted airport lounge access and 1.5% interest AER/Gross on balances up to 32,000. You also get five free monthly cash deposits in the UK. The minimum term for this account is six months.

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Monzo offers both a Monzo 16-17 and a Monzo Joint account.

Monzo offers these additional features in addition to the ones already mentioned:

Money Management

All personal account holders get instant notifications which allow them to track where and how much they spend. Spending is automatically categorized like N26 account holders so it’s easy to track.

Similar to N26’s “Spaces”, Monzo offers customers the option of setting aside money for “Pots.”

With personalized budgeting, customers can split their payments into multiple categories. You can create custom categories or split single transactions into multiple groups.

Monzo Plus and Monzo Premium customers also have the option to:

  • Google Sheets allows you to auto-export your transactions.
  • Keep track of how their credit score changes

Monzo’s Business Accounts

Let’s now focus on Monzo’s business account. There are only two options for Monzo’s business accounts.

Monzo Lite – This Monzo business account is free and customers get a UK current account. Plus, you can:

  • Apple Pay and Google Pay allow you to make payments
  • Sign up for full mobile and web banking
  • If you are moving to another bank, account switching is possible
  • Spending abroad without fees
  • You can manage your payments
  • Access to security features
  • Cash and cheques are accepted as payment.
  • A slate grey or pebble business debit card
  • Transfers of money to UK banks are free and immediate
  • Digital receipts
  • Instant notifications
  • Pots are the same as personal accounts customers.
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Monzo Pro – In addition to all the above features, you can also create, track, and send invoices, and put money aside in “tax pots” when it is tax return time. Integrations with accounting software such as Xero and QuickBooks are possible. Access to Xero is free for the first six month, and you can have up to two accounts for Ltd companies. You will also receive exclusive offers.

They are expensive

We’ve already discussed the accounts available through Monzo and N26. It’s now time to see how much these accounts will cost you.

N26

  • Both the Business and Standard plans are free.
  • The N26 Smart and Business Smart plans cost EUR4.90/month.
  • The N26 YOU and Business You packages cost EUR9.90 each month.
  • The monthly cost of N26 Metal and Business Meta is EUR16.90

N26 provides standard delivery for your first card, regardless of whether you have an existing account or upgraded. Express delivery, which can take up to three working days, costs an extra EUR20.

Additionally, EUR2 will be charged if you exceed your ATM withdrawal limit. This is in addition to the 1.7% transaction fees.

Monzo

Monzo Lite and Monzo Current are free. These cards are basic personal and business cards. However, you can withdraw up to PS200 abroad free of charge before being subject to a 3% fee. When you make a deposit to your account through one of the 28,000 PayPoints in the UK, you will be charged PS1.

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Monzo Pro or Monzo Business Pro are both available at a monthly cost of PS5 but withdrawals from abroad up to PS400 are free. One free UK cash deposit is included. This account is only available to those who sign up for at least three months.

Monzo Premium – This account costs PS15 per month. International withdrawals of up to PS600 are free of fees. Five cash deposits are free at PayPoints in the UK. You must sign up for at least six months.

Customer Support

There can be no doubts when money is part the conversation. How well are N26, Monzo equipped to handle your concerns and questions?

N26

N26 25/7 can be reached via live chat from their website or the app. You can also get telephone support if you have premium accounts. If you have a metalcard, priority support is available on a dedicated hotline.

You can also go the self-help route with N26’s online help center. Here you will find answers to the most commonly asked questions.

Monzo

Monzo offers an online help center that provides self-help resources. It is divided into different categories such as emergencies, your account and mobile payments.

Monzo’s support team can also be reached via chat, phone or live chat. You can chat with us 24/7!

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Our Final Verdict

N26, Monzo offer convenient services to those who wish to budget and save money using their smartphones.

Overall, N26 is the most affordable travel card and charges less for withdrawals from abroad. A desktop app is also available, which may appeal to traditional bank customers who need banking flexibility on both their desktops and smartphones.

Monzo, on the other hand has an edge when it comes to offering joint accounts and interest for your savings. However, they don’t offer as low a foreign withdrawal rate.

Your location is also important. Monzo is available to UK residents, but the UK is not covered by N26. N26 is extremely popular in the rest of Europe.

We’re now at the end of the review. Let us know which side you are on the N26/Monzo debate in the comments below! Are you thinking of one of their rivals like Revolut Starling Bank or Monese, too? We would love to hear from you about your experience with either of these competitors.

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