Opinion: James Lynn, Currensea Co-Founder

N26, the European challenger bank has just announced plans to exit the UK, leaving 200k customers scrambling. They’ve cited Brexit licensing issues, but with almost a year of Brexit transition to get their UK license, can this be the only reason?

Our survey* shows that over 41% of people with challenger bank accounts opened them primarily for better rates and no fees when they travel. The UK challenger bank Monzo** state that only “30% of active users deposit at least £1,000 per month”. With only a small number of people using these challenger banks as their primary accounts, and many using them simply for travel, could there be other reasons for the N26 exit?

N26 customers using the account purely for travel have a number of alternative options: other challenger banks, prepaid cards, or our new Currensea card – a standalone debit card that connects to high street bank accounts. For those who value the convenience of their existing bank account but want better pricing abroad, our Open Banking enabled debit card could be a strong choice.

* Currensea survey, 2019
** Monzo blog