N26: best online bank for internationals in the Netherlands? [2024 REVIEW]

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While searching for the best bank as an international in the Netherlands, you might have e2ncountered the digital bank N26. If not, then allow us to introduce you. 

Forbes ranked N26 as one of the World’s Best Banks in 2023 — but how does a 100% digital bank work? And how does it compare with opening a regular Dutch bank account and the other best banks in the Netherlands for internationals

From signing up to using the N26 app, features, paying by card, and more — here’s our impression of using N26 as an international in the Netherlands.

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First things first: what is N26?

N26 is a completely digital bank that operates across multiple European countries.

While it may not have physical branches like a traditional bank, it holds a European banking licence and has some of the best (and most aesthetic) online features we’ve seen. 

N26 offers accounts in many countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and most importantly: the Netherlands!

It’s important to know that opening an account with N26 gives you a German IBAN, not a Dutch one.

However, there’s no need to worry — same-day transfers to and from Dutch banks mean you’ll never miss a payment deadline. N26 accounts are available for individuals, freelancers, and self-employed business owners.

READ MORE | How to open a Dutch bank account: the ultimate guide

If you are using the bank account for your personal finances, you can use N26’s free account option, N26 Standard. If you need more features, there are three paid options: the Smart, You, and Metal accounts — but much more below.

Top features of N26 for internationals in the Netherlands

Branding itself as “a bank as mobile as you,” N26 makes life easier for internationals by offering easy-to-set-up accounts, multilingual customer service, and cheap transactions worldwide. 

Here are some of the top features for expats in the Netherlands:

Free Maestro card to transact with AND a Debit Mastercard

With each of the N26 accounts, you receive a free digital Mastercard. Technically, they call it a “Mastercard debit card” since it doesn’t allow you to borrow money, just to use your own.

The best benefit here is that you can add the digital Mastercard to your mobile wallet immediately after registering with N26, so there’s no need to wait for a card to arrive in the mail!

(Of course, if you like the sleek, plasticky feel of a brand new bank card, you can order one for a €10 delivery fee! 😉)

No need to wait for your brand, spanking new card to come in the mail — you can use your free digital card as soon as you’ve made an account! Image: N26

So far, so good, but since most internationals have been traumatised by seeing their foreign cards declined in the Netherlands, the all-important question remains: “Can I get a Maestro card?

With N26, the answer is yes! You can order a free Maestro card via the banking app if you have a premium account or for a €10 fee for Standard account holders.

READ MORE | 7 incredible things you can ACTUALLY do if you get a Dutch bank card

Delivery takes around 10 working days, so order it ASAP to avoid awkward check-outs at Albert Heijn. (Unless you want to opt for express delivery that’ll have your card whizzing to you in three business days.)

Transact in any country with no foreign exchange fees

Dying to hop across the globe for some delicious pastries? Well, one of the things we liked most about N26 is that they don’t charge additional fees for transactions in foreign countries.

In partnership with Wise, a UK-based foreign exchange technology company, N26 offers quick and easy foreign currency transfers. Oh, and the best part? There are NO hidden fees!

Live your best life… without stressing over the fussy bits, like foreign exchange fees. Image: N26

This means digital nomads, travel lovers, and those of us enjoying our hols won’t have to pay extra for those crisp pastries on our jaunt abroad.

Many traditional banks add a surcharge on payments abroad; if you’re a frequent traveller, these can quickly add up. With N26, you pay for what you’re buying, and that’s it. Pretty sweet, right?

Easy foreign currency transfers with great exchange rates

In addition, N26 provides some of the most favourable exchange rates out there. Powered by TransferWise, N26 lets you transfer money in 19 different currencies — directly from the banking app.

Within the Eurozone, you also benefit from a number of free ATM withdrawals when using the N26 Mastercard. Just make sure that the ATM is NFC enabled if using a digital card. (FYI, there’s a handy ATM locator in the N26 app!)

Outside the Eurozone, you pay 1.7% in fees when withdrawing from other currencies.

Let op! Make sure you are using the N26 Mastercard and not the Maestro Card to withdraw money from ATMs.

Using the N26 Maestro Card for cash withdrawals, you’ll be charged €2 per transaction in the Eurozone and €2 plus 1.7% outside if withdrawing other currencies.   

No need for a BSN

You heard that right! As opposed to basically any other bank in the Netherlands, N26 doesn’t require you to have a BSN to open an account with them.

A BSN (Citizen Service Number) is a unique personal number allocated to every Netherlands resident. Just landed in the Netherlands? Helaas, you’ll probably need to wait for an appointment at your local municipality before getting your BSN.

Moving to a new country already involves a lot of paperwork and bureaucracy. With N26’s ease of use, your banking journey doesn’t have to add to the stress! Image: Freepik

On the other hand, when opening an account with N26, you simply need to enter your nationality and residency details (i.e. passport and address in the Netherlands).

READ MORE | Registration in the Netherlands: the complete guide

While you need a registered address in the Netherlands for them to send you your snazzy Maestro card, you can essentially open an account the moment you’ve signed a lease — rather than waiting until after you’ve received your BSN. 

Spending habit insights

Wondering where all your money is going? (*cough* Bike repairs and bitterballen, maybe? *cough*) To help you stay on track with your financial goals, N26 has a number of nifty budgeting tools.

Keeping track of all your expenses will soon become a breeze! Image: N26

One is the Statistics feature in the N26 app, which categorises your payments in real-time to give you an overview of all in- and outgoing activity on your account.

With a quick glance, you can see exactly how much money you’re spending on borrelen, groceries, shopping, etc.

Sub-spaces to save for the important things

Another money-managing feature is N26 Spaces. These are sub-accounts that allow you to separate your savings from your daily spending.

You can create two spaces with a standard N26 account, but if you have a premium account, you can get up to 10.

Jam-packed with partner-offers

One of the unique things about N26 is that they offer “perks” when holding an account with them — yup, even the free standard account!

Scoring sweet deals is simply a breeze with N26’s (free!) Perks feature. Image: Freepik

Perks are essentially partner offers so that you can get discounts on everything from hotels and home decor to mental health and fitness offers. (And who doesn’t love a good deal? 😉)

Downsides of N26 for internationals in the Netherlands

Alright, let’s change gears a bit before getting too excited. While N26 offers many useful features for internationals living in the Netherlands, there are also things we’re less impressed with.

Slightly more expensive than other bank accounts (but with more features)

If you’re not opting for the free N26 Standard account, then you’ll be paying a higher monthly fee than you would with a traditional bank.

This is where lifestyle and personal preferences come into the mix, so you’ll need to weigh up how much you’ll use the additional premium features — and what you’re willing to pay for them.

No iDEAL (and therefore no Tikkie)

In the Netherlands, the name of the game when it comes to shopping online is iDEAL. From paying your rent to buying you and your cat matching pyjamas, iDEAL is one of the essential digital tools for life in the Netherlands.

So, let’s just say that the fact that N26 doesn’t have an iDEAL license is… inconvenient.

Sending a Tikkie is pretty much a national sport in the Netherlands. Image: Canva/DutchReview

Not being able to use iDEAL won’t isolate you financially, but it’ll cost you a few more clicks when shopping online.

Without iDEAL, you’ll lose out on the Dutch social phenomenon of ‘Tikkie-ing.’ Tikkie is THE cost-splitting app of the Netherlands, so not being able to send or receive a Tikkie can be awkward. 

Instead of Tikkie, N26 uses a similar system called MoneyBeam, which lets you do same-day transfers to other N26 account holders and send money to non-N26 accounts within two days. 

No credit cards on offer

N26 doesn’t offer credit cards with any of their accounts. For a bank that caters to frequent travellers, this seems positively weird.

READ MORE | Dutch Quirk #48: Say no to credit cards

If you normally book plane tickets, hotels, rental cars, etc., with a credit card and usually earn rewards when doing so, then N26 might not suit you in this respect.

Love booking flights with your credit card? You may not enjoy N26 as much. Image: Freepik

With this aversion towards building debt, you’d almost think they are Dutch! Of course, you can still use your N26 Mastercard debit for all of this; you just don’t earn points and can only use the money available in your account.

Types of N26 accounts

As mentioned, N26 offers four different account types. Standard, Smart, You, and Metal. Here’s a breakdown of what each account includes.

How much does N26 cost?

The N26 Standard account is gratis, baby! For N26 Plus, you pay €4.90 per month, while N26 You costs €9.90 per month and N26 Metal €16.90 per month.

Other costs to consider include:

  • The one-off €10 shipping fee for an additional card (or to receive any physical card with the standard account). 
  • An 8% overdraft fee.
  • A 1.70% fee for ATM withdrawals outside of what’s included in the account type.

Let op! With an N26 Standard account, you can have up to €50,000 in your accounts. After that, a yearly 0.5% fee may apply.  

The bottom line: is N26 good for internationals in the Netherlands?

Christine Stein Hededam

Functionality for expats in the Netherlands
Online banking
Customer service


We’d call N26 one of the best banks for an international in the Netherlands if it weren’t for the lack of iDEAL, which can make it difficult to shop online. However, if you’re not a frequent Tikkie sender or receiver, then N26 is definitely a solid option. 

Some of our favourite features are the no-extra-costs-foreign payments, easy-peasy currency transfers, and the nifty budgeting tools—(And, of course, an all-important Maestro card). 

Ultimately, it comes down to personal preferences and needs, but if you’re looking for a fully digital, easy-to-set-up bank with a sleek interface, then N26 might be the bank for you!


Frequently asked questions

Who can open an N26 account?

How long does it take to open a bank account with N26?

Is N26 safe?

Does an N26 bank account work everywhere?

What do I need to open an N26 account in the Netherlands?

What’s the difference between N26 and bunq?

Will you be signing up with N26? Tell us in the comments below!

Feature Image:N26
Christine Stein Hededam 🇩🇰
Christine Stein Hededam 🇩🇰
A Dane with a special place in her heart for Minnesota, Christine is now falling in love with everything Dutch. Between finishing her bachelor’s degree, learning Dutch, and doing yoga teacher training, you will find her wandering about the Hague. Always up for visiting new places, she loves to explore the Netherlands with friends and takes pride in scoping out cute cafés (wherein to discuss books, big plans, and food).

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What do you think?


  1. Hi, something missed off the article which can be quite important is they automatically issue you a MasterCard, when I opened my ING account I was issued a vpay card which was fine for Netherlands transactions but not conptitable with all foreign websites( I’m from the uk, we don’t have the ideal pay system) and I’d prefare not to have a credit card

  2. Another disadvantage that should be considered is that you will get a German IBAN. While legally all businesses are required to accept EU IBANs since 2014, this is not always the case. Our Wifi provider, for example, does only (and illegally) accept Dutch IBANs in its online form! So N26 is great – but you still might run into this annoyance for the coming years.

  3. Are you able to make cash deposits into you N26 account using the branch of a Dutch bank? If so which ones?

    I have a Deutsche Bank account held in Berlin. I need to make a cash deposit into this account in Utrecht or at Schipol airport and I have no idea if I can or where I can – any tips?

    • I’m in the Netherlands and want to receive money into my N26 account, what bank details do I provide with my account having German IBAN? Any tips?

    • Why are you leaving out the fact that the card is a MasterCard as opposed to a Maestro and does not support iDEAL so you cannot use it for day-to-day Dutch expenses?

      Pretty important downside, if you ask me.

  4. I’m in the Netherlands and want to receive money into my N26 account from the USA, what bank details do I provide with my account having German IBAN? Any tips?

  5. The deal-braking problem is that N26 is useless in the Netherlands. You can’t pay in Albert Hijn (groceries, etc) or almost anywhere else. N25 is MasterCard, and in NL you need Maestro.

    • Hi Andrew, quite a late reply but still…sometimes they don’t except the N26 (debit) creditcard so what you need to do is make sure your N26 account is topped up with at least € 100,- and then apply for a N26 Maestro card in the app. You should receive it within a week I think. By the way, nearly every store or shop in the Netherlands that accepts creditcards also supports the N26 debit creditcard. I use the creditcard quite often in the Aldi en LiDl supermarkets.

  6. The article states that you can’t use iDEAL. However n26 are now signed up to it. It seems like it is being rolled out slowly as sometimes it is listed, while other times it is not. I’d imagine that it should soon become readily available though.


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