Brexit causes N26 to quit the UK from April

N26 has issued a statement explaining that it will be exiting the UK banking market after 15 April.

The German digital challenger bank explained that following the UK’s departure from the EU at the end of January, it will no longer be able to operate in the UK under its existing European banking licence.

“As such we can no longer open new N26 accounts and will be closing existing accounts on 15 April,” the statement read. “We are sorry to be leaving and we understand this will be disappointing for our customers.”

All account functionality - including the app, card and automated transactions like direct debits - will continue to work until the middle of April, with account holders urged to withdraw or transfer money to alternative banks.

“Deposits will continue to be protected under the German deposit guarantee scheme,” N26’s website read. “Under the scheme, every N26 UK bank account is guaranteed up to the Sterling equivalent of €100,000.”

Launched in Germany and Austria in January 2015, the FinTech entered the UK in October 2018, with chief executive Valentin Stalf stating at the time that the move was a “no-brainer for us, independent of Brexit”. The bank had 50,000 UK users signed up to its waiting list before its official UK launch.

The bank claimed to have 70,000 UK subscribers on its waiting list ahead of launch, and hired Will Sorby as UK general manager to lead the next stage of its expansion last March. At that stage the firm claimed to have seen more than 1,000 new customers register on a daily basis since the roll-out began.

In July, N26's valuation hit $3.5 billion, after extending a Series D funding round to $470 million.

Forrester’s senior analyst Aurelie L’Hostis commented: “The challenger bank had successfully attracted half a million customers in 17 European countries, and it could then use its European banking licence as a parachute.

"Yet, Brexit was already looming ominously in the distance back then – and there were questions regarding the validity of that licence post-Brexit.

"Beyond that, N26 entered the UK market on the heels of fast-moving rival challenger banks Monzo, Revolut and Starling Bank – catching up was not going to be easy.”

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