Everything in the app, nothing in the paperwork. The movement started in 2009 with the American SimpleBut today, the player with the wind in its sails and making an impressive entry into the European digital banking market is German. number 26. Traditional banks have a lot to worry about. They have tried to get around the internet shock by creating 100% online banks, which are now institutions: Boursorama, Fortuneo, ING Direct etc. But today they seem to be overtaken by new entrants who offer the digital 100 % bank, which is very simple and free of charge.
En less than a year, Berlin's online bank number 26 has attracted more than 100,000 customers with its mobile app. It has been entering the French market for a few days now, with 100 new customers a day.
This bank of a new kind was created by two thirty-year-olds Valentin Stalf and Maximilian Tayenthal, immediately joined by the famous American investor Peter Thiel, one of the founders of PayPal. The ambition of the founders: "We want to build one of the most powerful retail banks européennes"is what Valentin Stalf told the Echoes.
This bank is a UFO. It has no branches. Its only showcase is its mobile app. The customer can manage all their transactions from the palm of their hand. A bank that is not a financial institution, a bank without a banking license, backed by a partner that owns one, the Wirecard Bank of Munich. A bank that does not charge any commission to its customers. It is remunerated by taxing merchants on Mastercard transactions and by the commissions paid to it by its partner bank, calculated on the basis of the deposits made on its accounts.
Its basic service, which it currently offers only in English and German, is a free bank account with no obligation to pay. A bank with no advisor, no waiting time, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and free of charge! The icing on the cake, the account is opened in 8 minutes. We've experienced it.
Once the application is loaded into your smartphone, you are immediately connected to a call center agent via video chat. From a distance, he takes your smartphone and invites you to take a picture of yourself, a picture of your ID, he turns on the flashlight on your device so that you can point it at your passport to check its authenticity, you choose your pin code, and it's done. Your account is open! Your new IBAN number is displayed instantly so that you can make your first transfers. You have a bank account, in Germany you have to specify it and, to be in good standing, you will have to report it to the French tax authorities. The operation lasted only a few minutes without any exchange of paper, without printing forty illegible contract pages. No palaver with an adviser who would try to sell you insurance and extraordinary savings plan. And without paying a penny. Three days later you receive your card in your mailbox. A new-look, transparent Mastercard, revealing the insides of the NFC chip.
Simplicity and free of charge
The application number 26 is secured on iPhone by your fingerprint (your Touch ID). The designers of number 26 have erased all the friction that could exist in the user experience. So, with every transaction, whether it's a withdrawal in a vending machine or a payment at a merchant, you are instantly notified on your smartphone. An immediacy that allows you to notice any anomaly within a second. Each of your operations can be personalized, allowing you to distribute them in defined categories. You can thus know at any time how much you are spending on entertainment, clothing, or gifts...
The app is also a kind of social network. You can connect to your friends with an account number 26 and transfer money between you, in one click, completely free of charge, from 0.01 €. A service that will undoubtedly appeal to young people who will be able to share a bill with their friends with just one click.
Admittedly, this bank does not provide all the services of a bank. At the moment you cannot set up a savings account, get a loan or deposit cheques or cash. However, Number 26 is one of the best digital current account solutions with two main advantages: simplicity and free of charge. On the latter point, number 26 stands out and will make life easier for people who travel: cash withdrawals or payments in foreign currencies are completely free of charge.
Number 26 should make the local bankers who are struggling to adapt their models to the new demands of the digital world look like white hairs. With its startup spirit, it deploys a boundless ambition to bring an ever more fluid experience to its users. As proof of this, the application's developers are well versed in the "business as usual" method. kanban "and are working on updates and improvements every three weeks. The company is considering a major capital raising in the near future and intends to go public quickly.
Photo: the two founders of number26: Valentin Stalf and Maximilian Tayenthal (left)