N26 Condemns Brexit and Shuts All UK Accounts

The German challenger bank N26 only started offering banking accounts to UK customers after the EU referendum, but now that the Brexit deadline has passed and the UK is finally out, N26 has announced it is shutting down all UK accounts.

N26, which has a European banking license, is still one of the smaller challenger banks in the UK, but on April 15 it will be closing around 200,000 UK customer accounts. It has stated the reason behind this is difficulties surrounding Brexit, as the “timing and framework” of the withdrawal bill has made it impossible to continue operating in the UK.

Thomas Grosse, chief banking officer at N26, said: “While we respect the political decision that has been taken, it means that N26 will be unable to serve our customers in the UK and will have to leave the market.”

Finance Monthly also heard from Forrester’s senior analyst Aurelie L’Hostis, who said: “N26’s launch in the UK might have felt like a natural next step back in 2018. The challenger bank had successfully attracted half a million customers in 17 European countries, and it could then use its European banking licence as a parachute. Yet, Brexit was already looming ominously in the distance back then – and there were questions regarding the validity of that licence post-Brexit. Beyond that, N26 entered the UK market on the heels of fast-moving rival challenger banks Monzo, Revolut and Starling Bank. Catching up was not going to be easy.”

All N26 accounts in the UK will function until April 15 as normal but will subsequently be closed automatically. Any money that customers fail to remove form the accounts will be placed in a holding account by default. It said UK staff involved in the business will move into other roles.

Other challenger banks like Monzo and Starling have UK licenses, which is why they likely won’t be pulling out of the UK anytime soon.

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