A new way of banking in Ireland: Number26

If you find yourself stuffing your mattress full of cash while mumbling words of hatred towards the mainstream banks, Number26 might be the perfect bank for you.

Launching in early 2015, Number26 has this week begun to accept Irish account holder to join their revolutionary “borderless” bank. Everything these days is be mobile first, with online sitting at the core and to be a re-imagined banking experience from the bottom up. Number26’s Chief Financial Officer Maximilian Tayenthal says it like it is stating that Ireland was chosed as part of the bank’s progression plans as “the problems affecting banks in Europe, such as bureaucracy, outdated technology and ineffecient structures, are well present” in Ireland.

Just to be clear, this is not run by an Irish bank or is it a prepaid credit card deal – this is a fully fledged bank that you can join just like AIB or Bank of Ireland.

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Setting up a Number26 bank account

Agent Number26Setting up your new Number26 bank account is remarkably straight forward and they boast an 8 minute sign up time (think of the last time you queued in the bank, if it was open). From initial sign up, you pair your account with your smartphone app just before taking a video call with an agent to verify your identity.

This bit could have been a little smoother. The platform used for identification is called IDnow, who were experiencing high demand. If you use a HTC, you should probably just sign up using a laptop or something as my M8 froze, with the agent then informing me it was incompatible. I reconnected with my laptop and the agent proceeded to snap my face, passport and its security features, all through my webcam. On a side note, the agents look far more techy than your average bankers which make this an unusual experience.

These hiccups did little to remove from the fact I set up a brand new bank account today at my own convenience without having to worry about travel or parking.

The benefits of using Number26

Number26 Bank IrelandAs displayed through the sign up, it’s remarkably convenient. Within a few minutes you can sign up and within four days you’ll receive a shiney new Mastercard. When you make a purchase, you’ll receive push notifications with all your transactions being neatly filed into categories for you to monitor where your money is going every month.

As we mentioned, don’t forget this is a full bank account. I was a little apprehensive about going the whole hog in terms of adoption, but for day to day spending, the Number26 account will be going through more testing in the coming weeks.

One big benefit is for those of you who travel quite a lot, as your account will be linked with a Mastercard that can be used to make purchases worldwide, or grab some cash at ATMs without getting those horrible fees.

This all sounds a bit ropey

The biggest hurdle all new technology has to undergo is the public accepting it. Back in the early 20th century, all those auto-mobiles were making a lot of noise and making people unhappy, but now look at us! With that said, there are a few bits to put you at ease.

Your money is stowed in Number26’s partner bank Wisecard Bank AG, meaning it is protected by German Deposit insurance up to several million Euros. European regulations allow Number26 to offer accounts to any users within the European Union.

From looking around the site, Number26 adheres to common security protocols such as SSL etc. When using the Number26 site, ensure that the URL at the top of the page begins with https://. From the app you will experience three-step verification which is the standard with Irish banking apps.

If you ever lose of misplace your card, you can block is using the app, then unblock again should you find it – great for those times it’s just down the back of the couch.

Finally, if you are a little apprehensive, follow us on social and I’ll keep you posted on how I’m getting on with this new piece of Fintech.

The verdict

I’m still waiting on my new Mastercard, but all in all everything seems very slick. The design of the app is amazing, with everything being tailored to Irish users, including the Cliffs of Moher appearing on the load screen. With all the nice design and fluffy bits however, comes a cracking and exciting concept that will appear to some more than others. Number26 expects to see early adopters and those within the 18-35 age bracket to make up the majorty of it’s customer base.

You can sign up now over on the Number26 website.

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Founding Editor of Goosed, Marty is a massive fan of tech making life easier. You'll often find him testing something new, brewing beer or finding some new foodie spots in Dublin, Ireland. - Find me on Threads