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.

8 thoughts on “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

  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.

  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?

    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.

      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:
        “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?

        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.

  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.

    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!

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