Disputing fraudulent transactions with N26 bank

I had the unfortunate experience in the last few days of my N26 card being cloned, and a whole bunch of fraudulent transactions cleared out my balance.

The first I realised that something was wrong was a series of transaction notifications late on Saturday night. And when I checked the N26 app on my phone I saw loads of fraudulent transactions.

This has happened in the past with a credit card from a traditional bank, and I’ve simply called the 24 hour phone number of the bank, and queried the transactions over the phone. But N26 don’t have a 24 hour support number, and it seems the process to get this sorted with them is a bit more complicated.

Blocking the card

The first thing I did when I saw the fraudulent transactions was to disable my card in the mobile app. You can do this from the Cards settings. I turned off all the options, and locked the card.

I then used the app to order a new card. My existing card number is compromised, so there’s no point trying to use it again. Unfortunately it’ll take a few days to get a new card – because I can’t avail of the expedited service available to German residents.

I guess I’ll also have to use cash until my new card arrives. I’ve gotten used to paying for pretty-much everything using contactless payments recently, so it’s going to be strange going back to coins and notes.

Disputing the transactions

I tried calling the N26 support number on their website as soon as I saw the dodgy transactions, but they don’t open 24 hours a day so I got a recorded office-closed message.

The contact page has local phone numbers for each country. The one for Ireland is a VoIP number, and isn’t included in the free minutes on my mobile plan.

N26 support advised me that I needed to fill in a Disputed Transactions Form for each of fraudulent transactions, scan the pages, and then email to support(Replace this with the @ sign)n26.com

I have 6 fraudulent transactions, so that’s six 4-page forms that I need to fill in and send off.

And you need to wait until the transactions are confirmed before submitting the forms. In the app, if you see a blue dot on the icon beside the transaction then it’s still pending. It’s only when the blue dot disappears that it’s confirmed – and this might take 3-4 days to happen.

On the N26 Online Banking portal, you need to check the Statements sections for the current month. Only when they appear on the statement will they be confirmed.

The disputed transaction form also needs to show the date of the transaction on this Statement. I filled in the forms with the date/time from the mobile app – the date/time the fraudster actually made the transaction – and I had all my claims rejected. So I need to re-submit all my forms again!

Then I need to wait for N26 to query the transaction with Mastercard, and hopefully initiate charge-backs to recover the funds, which might take a while. Until then I don’t have access to my money.

Resultant problems

While I wait for my new card, I can’t spend anything – which is fine, because the fraudsters took all my money. I can’t top up my phone, or order anything online, because I don’t have a card.

Also there are two direct debits on my account have been rejected as unpaid, because I don’t have sufficient funds – and I’m also going to be charged bank fees for those failed direct debits!

So all-in-all I’m not particularly happy about the situation, and it’s making me reconsider whether I want to continue using N26 for my banking. I can’t help but think that other banks would deal with this a lot better.

Posted by Richard

Richard has been blogging since 2000 about technology, cycling, singing, and life in general. Follow him on Twitter.

11 Replies to “Disputing fraudulent transactions with N26 bank”

  1. Great blog post on your experience. I guess with these new Fintechs we really assume that they operate with the same level of performance and provide the same level of service as traditional banks. However the scale of the operations for such players just are not there yet.

    So while they don’t have the legacy of organisational debt (people , process or tech) that legacy traditional banks have , it can be that legacy scale that can offers protection and governance we are accustomed to.

    It will be interesting if N26 can avoid creating traditional bank legacy problem as they grow and address their challenges

    Reply

  2. This morning I received my replacement card from N26 – so it arrived in just under a week. I activated it on the app, and I also need to make a cash withdrawal at an ATM before I can use it for contactless or chip-and-pin transactions in a shop.

    I also received notification from N26 that my chargeback requests have been accepted, and that I should receive the money back into my account within a few business days.

    Reply

  3. Was your card cloned after being skimmed at a physical POS or ATM?

    As a freelancer who used to use my personal acc for business, I’m thinking of signing up with N26 for my business banking, but slightly worried about things like this, or my account getting hacked etc.

    Apart from this, how do you find the service as a whole?

    Reply

    1. Hi Rob,

      I’m not sure how my card was cloned. I think it was during a business trip to the USA, but I only used the card once while away and that was in a major supermarket.

      I suppose any card from any bank can get skimmed. It’s how the bank handles it afterwards that makes the difference. The N26 process to initiate chargebacks seems a bit onerous to me, but I don’t know if that’s something to do with N26 itself or the German banking regulations.

      Overall I’ve been happy with N26. I use them for day to day banking, and haven’t had any more problems. I do have one person who still (in 2018) insists on paying me by cheque, and N26 has no means to accept lodgement of cheques – so that’s a pain – but everything else is good.

      Reply

      1. Cheers for your response, very helpful, I think I’ll give them a go. I intend to use the credit card mostly just online, and not in physical machines, that’s where I was going when asking about whether it got skimmed from a machine, or somehow cloned after an online transaction.

        You got the money back, that’s the important thing.

        Another concern I had was this:
        https://support.n26.com/read/000001281?locale=en
        “As of February 2016, your IBAN is all the information you should have to provide for a SEPA transfer into your N26 account. However, some banks might continue to ask you for the recepient’s bank name, or even the address.”

        Did you ever experience any issues with people not being able transfer funds to you?

        Reply

        1. I did have one person that kept saying they needed an old account number and sort code to pay me, but I reminded them about SEPA regulations, they checked with their accountant, and accepted the IBAN instead.

          Reply

  4. Hi Richard,

    I’m having a similar issue with N26. I made a purchase from a merchant and didn’t get what I paid for. I provided all of the documentation and N26 rejected my chargeback. I am still fighting it. Was there someone in particular you contacted at N26? It seems as if they have outsourced their customer service so I haven’t received any further information as to why my chargeback claim was rejected.

    Reply

    1. Hi Crystal. Sorry to hear that you’re having trouble getting your chargeback accepted. Unfortunately I don’t have any contact details for anyone that might help. Do you think it might be worth submitting the chargeback form again? Or can you approach the merchant to resolve your dispute? Good luck!

      Reply

    2. I just want to add. Please search for yourself on this topic.

      Chargebacks are NOT the choice of the issuing bank. Any reputable bank will offer a chargeback scheme ( N26 do not) along with no complaint procedure or fraud and fraud prevention, or even a complaints team.

      It is the decision of Mastercard, visa etc on chargebacks and NOT the bank, this goes for all banks.

      Money saving expert has a lot if information on this and they go so far as to say “It’s worth noting most bank staff don’t really know about this procedure, so you may need to explain it to them” with regards to chargeback

      N26 seem to think they are a law unto themselves, ask for their official complaints procedure before escalating to an ombudsman. Do not let them get away with it, you have consumer rights .

      Reply

  5. Michael Nesbitt 15th July 2018 at 6:35 pm

    Just signed to N26 black card. First A. T. M withdraw card was swollowed in A. T. M. Get on to so called customer service on chat line waited 20 minutes to get agent. Explained to agent problem asked if could recover card from bank as going on holidays following week. If I could get card cleared for purchase and all my holiday money was tied to N26 and I was customer of bank who’s A. T. M. had swollowed card and Bank Manager did know me. No was told you will have to order new card. As soon as card ordered n26 swiped 6€ my funds. Emailed customer service support 3 times to say as card was faulty should excuse charge for new card. So far they don’t have curtsey to reply. Then they have the neck to send me survey email asking me for to rate them. I would say don’t go near them as a bank as soon as I use funds in account will distroy card. Keep money in local bank. Michael

    Reply

  6. A similar experience when trying to find out where my 130,000 Euros same day transfer was…2 days later and after so many lies, I mean so many lies, I was told it was in the back office and if I emailed them they would call me ( another lie) 3 days later and my same day transfer which I Santander informed me was accepted, was still not in my account and there is no phone number for anyone other than the numpties on support ( one even told me I was lying and there was no transfer)

    It arrived 4 day later with no response from them and refusing to offer me their official complaints procedure.

    On your topic, I have had chargebacks for goods and the money has been put in my account within days, I have also had my card cloned and the fraud team ( notice N26 do not have one) contacted me within hours, went through my statement with me and refunded straight away all the fraudulent transactions.

    N26 Avoid at all cost, there is a facebook group with over 500 members

    Reply

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