N26 to cancel all UK accounts as Brexit effect takes its toll

11 Feb 2020

Image: N26

Without the ability to operate an EU banking licence in the UK post-Brexit, German digital bank N26 will be closing all its UK accounts.

Just a few months after it announced plans to expand its Irish presence, N26 has said it will pull out of the UK market entirely.

In a blog post, the company’s founders Valentin Stalf and Maximilian Tayenthal said that following Brexit, the challenger bank would not be able to operate an EU banking licence in the UK. This comes less than two years after it first entered the UK market – at a time when the Brexit referendum result had already been established.

Berlin-headquartered N26 said it will close all of its UK accounts by 15 April 2020. Customers are being advised to download their personal data as following this date they will not be able to access their accounts.

Transferring any remaining funds to another bank account is also needed prior to the April date, but the app can continue to be used as normal until then.

N26 staff to be moved elsewhere

N26’s chief banking officer, Thomas Grosse, said in a statement: “Although we will be leaving the UK, we will continue our mission to radically transform the global banking industry through innovation and the power of technology.

“This means growing within the EU, where we recently crossed the 5m customer mark, building our presence in the US, one of the most attractive global banking markets, and expanding into new countries.”

Following the closure, N26 said that the majority of its UK staff will be moved into new roles as part of its global team. The company has offices in Berlin, Barcelona, Vienna, New York and São Paolo.

The German start-up has confirmed it has more than 100,000 customers in Ireland and around 5m across the world.

One of N26’s biggest competitors, Revolut, announced plans earlier this month to move some of its operations out of the UK and into Ireland and Lithuania because of Brexit. The digital bank plans to hire between 40 and 50 people in Ireland this year to serve its western Europe business.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic