Berlin-based digital banking startup N26 has 250,000 U.S. customers, the company confirmed to Bank Innovation on Monday. The company, which launched in the U.S. in August 2019, has 5 million customers globally.
“What’s made us successful is that we’ve had a number of years globally to figure out what design, usability and overall customer approach matters when it comes to managing money,” said Lindsey Grossman, director of product at N26. “It’s those same principles of design and simplicity that’s helped us be successful in a short amount of time in the U.S.”
N26 is trying to differentiate itself through simple digital money management features, an easy sign-up experience and a global footprint. Grossman wouldn’t offer specifics on new products that will be launched in the U.S., but said N26 aims to improve how customers manage their money within the mobile app during the first quarter of 2020.
The company’s U.S. chief executive officer, Nicolas Kopp, recently told Bank Innovation that N26 would release new products in the U.S. in “increments,” adding that there are “a lot of areas for improvement in the general population’s financial lives.”
So far, the U.S. version of N26 only features the free version of the platform, while European customers can choose between a free version and two paid subscription offerings: N26 You and N26 Metal. The N26 Metal bundle includes extra benefits, such as brand discounts and insurance packages.
N26 has also rolled out partnerships and perks programs in the U.S. to position itself as a lifestyle brand. In December, the company partnered with Lime, Booking.com, Headspace and others, which Kopp said has helped the company become a “life and money” platform. Customers can set up savings subaccounts called “spaces,” send and receive money from friends, and get direct deposits two days early.
N26 partners with San Diego-based Axos Bank for its U.S. bank account. The company’s U.S. customer milestone comes on the heels of a marketing campaign N26 launched late last year. The company placed ads in New York, Chicago and San Francisco, focusing on N26’s fast sign-up process, early wage access and security. N26 aspires to serve 100 million customers globally, according to the company.
N26 was founded in 2013, and launched in Europe in 2015. Since then, the company has raised more than $670 million in total funding and reached a valuation of $3.5 billion.
N26 faces competition from digital-only banking startups and established incumbents. Digital banking platforms Chime, which has 5 million customers, and Varo, which has 1 million customers, both have larger U.S. customer bases than N26.
Despite this crowded market, Grossman isn’t concerned, saying, “It took [competitors] a long time to get to some of these milestones. I’m proud of the speed that we got to a quarter of a million.”
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