Ensure the form has your physical handwritten signature on it
Scan the form, and email to support(Replace this with the @ sign)n26.com
N26 will then cancel the Direct Debit for you
There’s no help within the app or website that tells you the Creditor ID or Merchant Reference for an existing Direct Debit. Neither of these values are listed against a transaction, so you need to find them elsewhere.
I checked the website of the company that I was paying my Direct Debit to, and their Creditor ID was listed – so I was able to the get the value fairly easily.
The Creditor ID is a unique reference that identifies an organisation collecting payments through a SEPA Direct Debit, and is usually issued by the organisation’s bank. It reads a bit like an IBAN, but may be shorter, with a mixture of letters and numbers. The Direct Debit Mandate form – whether electronic or paper – should show the Creditor ID on it.
N26 is an innovative fintech providing mobile-first online banking, based in Berlin Germany, but serving customers from across Europe – and soon to launching in the UK and USA as well.
I’m based in Ireland and have been an N26 customer for over a year now, and I thought I’d share my experience for anyone considering signing up.
N26 pride themselves that you can open a new current account in just 8 minutes. All you need to do is download the app, sign up for a new account, gather some ID to prove who you are (for anti-money-laundering purposes), and then the account opening will be completed through an in-app video call with one of the N26 staff.
There’s no pieces of paper to sign or documents to post to them. It works pretty seamlessly, and they appear to have put a lot of work into this on-boarding process. It’s certainly a lot more convenient than having to spend a lot of time filling in forms in the branch of your local bank!
You get your new IBAN straight away, but you do have to wait a few days for your new Mastercard Debit card to arrive from Germany – but that happens with all banks.
Beyond the sign-up process, you use the mobile app to perform all your day-to-day banking operations – although you can also use a web portal on their site.
You login using either a password or your fingerprint – and there’s an additional security measure to bind your account to a specific mobile device.
In the app you can:
View your current balance and recent transactions
View a statistical breakdown of your transaction by month/type
Amend the security settings for your card, including resetting your PIN, locking the card if it’s lost or stolen (and ordering a replacement), and deciding whether your card can be used for payments abroad, online payments, and cash withdrawals
Setting up transfers to other bank accounts
View the location of ATMs on a map
The app will also send you an alert on your phone every time a transaction happens (unless you turn it off), or if the transaction needs an authorisation, so you can keep track of all payments in and out of your account.
Current account features
N26 will send you a Mastercard Debit cards depending on the account you have:
N26 Free (no monthly free) – a semi-translucent card
N26 Black (€9.90 / month) – a black card
N26 Business (no monthly fee) – a semi-translucent card (same design as N26 Free but with “Business” written on it)
In Germany, France, Austria and Italy (and coming soon to other countries) there is also an even more premium “metal” card! (yes it’s really made out of metal)
The premium account options attract a monthly fee, but have additional features such as travel and mobile phone insurance, and lower foreign currency transaction fees. All accounts have a set number of free ATM withdrawals (normally 5 per month) after which you get charged per withdrawal, so you should bear that in mind if you use ATMs a lot.
I use the free account, and I’ve got to say that the card design attracts many favourable comments. I like the fact that N26 also prints my BIC and IBAN on the back of the card – so I don’t need to login to the app to find that information.
All the accounts have chip-and-pin and NFC for tap-to-pay transactions. In Ireland there’s also support for Google Pay and Apple Pay.
N26 also partners with TransferWise to give you the best exchange rates for foreign-currency payments and transfers directly from within the N26 app.
Along with all the product innovation, there are some down-sides to having your current account entirely online and based in a different country:
There are no branches to visit. If you need help with something that’s not covered within the app then you can either use the in-app chat or telephone one of their support reps – but they don’t yet support video conferencing, despite using it for account signup. Also the support lines are only available 9am – 6pm (German time) Monday to Saturday.
There have no means to accept or issue cheques. Most of the time that’s not an issue, as most people have now moved to electronic payments – but some organisations still issue cheques in the post or demand payment by a cashier’s cheque.
There are some Irish companies that can’t accept (or have great difficulty with) direct debit transaction from overseas banks. That’s not the fault of N26. SEPA regulations should allow all companies to accept payment from any bank account in the EU, but not all Irish companies are SEPA compliant!
N26 aren’t that great in dealing with fraudulent transactions. It would be better if they had a 24 hour phone line to deal with fraud and emergencies, and a process for reporting fraud that didn’t involve filling in a 4-page document for each transaction.
As long as theses limitations aren’t show-stoppers for you then I’d recommend N26 to you. I don’t actually use it as my only bank account. I still have an account with one of Ireland’s more traditional banks that’s used to pay the mortgage and the main bills – but I use N26 for my disposable cash, and it works very well.
I like the idea that fintech companies are innovating and pushing the boundaries of banking all the time – and I think that traditional high street banks should be worried for the future, as it won’t be long before online banking becomes the norm rather than the exception.
I was on the phone earlier to the telecoms operator eir to change something related to do with my mobile phone contract, and for some reason they requested that I give them my payment details again.
I gave them my details – both the 16 digit number from my debit card and the IBAN for my account – but their system wouldn’t accept either. The problem? They’re for an account run by the German-based mobile bank N26.
eir don’t seem able to accept payment instructions over the phone from non-Irish banks. Instead their direct debit instructions indicate that you have fill in a paper-based mandate form and either post it or fax it (but not email – they don’t accept email) to their office in Clonakilty in Co. Cork.
The Single European Payment Area (SEPA) regulations that came in around 10 years ago are meant to allow customers to make cashless payment in Euros to anyone located in any of the Eurozone counties. So, you should be able to receive your salary into any Eurozone bank account, and may payments to any company around Europe using your IBAN.
To resolve the matter today my customer care agent suggested that I get a friend to volunteer the use of their Irish bank card to set up payment on my account, and then arrange to switch over to my German bank over the next few days.
I asked whether he could guarantee that my friend would not be inadvertently charged for my mobile service, and he said yes. I then asked, if that was the case, whether the agent himself would be willing to use his own personal bank card to set me up. Unsurprisingly, he wasn’t keen!
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.
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.
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