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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.