How The N26 Bank Made Me “Feel” Broke.

Every day I take a look at my online banking app and get the feeling I am dead broke. The reason behind this is I use spaces. These are similar to the sub accounts you see in your N26 bank. Once you move all of your income into your sub accounts, everything goes a little wonky. Your main balance looks incredibly low and you feel like a student again. You go back in time to when your money and bank accounts were usually marked in red you swore the devil created just to annoy you. Not that I ever took it personally.

During the beginning of the year, one of my friends recommended the N26 bank. This app is for online banking only, has a really great user interface app and is super uncomplicated. I like uncomplicated, a lot. I figured I would give the app a try because I was just plain pissed off with the UI and the transparency of the DKB bank I was using. I had thought about trying out the bank because I heard about it before, but I never made the transition.

n26 online dashboard

We are all extremely comfortable people. This makes it very hard to convince our brains to do what we want for our outlandish behaviors, crazy habits, apps and tools. This is why it took a while before I actually got myself moving and signed up. Signing up for almost anything is a royal pain in the rear, and I usually run away if it involves government or banking stuff. There is always a lot of paperwork to sign, the stupid dinosaur fax to send and the documents I have to verify make me crazy. This does not give me any motivation at all.

This time, it was different.

Everything was happening online and it was super fast and really easy. I could not believe how simple the verification process was. It took less than one week to have a new bank account. I was up and running and could make payments with my credit card. The first thing the bank does is deliver your credit card to your home address, provided you did not get distracted and type it in wrong. It uncommon to use credit cards in Germany because we are sill using Giro Cards. I believe within a couple of years this will completely transition over to credit cards. Let’s hope I am right this time.

Once enough time has passed, you can put in an application for a Maestro Card. This is a lot more convenient in Germany because it helps you get your cash from any ATM. Even though the Turkish groceries and small kebabs do not support either credit cards or Maestro, I was okay with digging into my cash. It had to happen eventually. You have the ability to get three to five monthly withdrawals free if you use a credit card. This was another reason I decided to move to the new bank. I don’t have to travel for hours and look everywhere to get cash when I need to.

There were a lot of reasons I decided to get away from DKB banking. They made the claim you can withdrawal cash from anywhere on the planet without any transaction fees. This is not 100 percent correct. They will waive any transaction fees from their services. The problem is if the ATM provider is not in Germany or Europe, you are still going to have to pay their transaction fee. You are going to eventually see a fee reversal from the bank, but this is just a few lousy pennies. That’s not really transparent and I have no idea how much I was charged for or what I actually paid. Sometimes I don’t even remember what I bought but it must have looked good at the time. At least I like to thin so.

The Push-Tan Verification is yet another reason. You have to get the right papers for your Push-Tan code to be activated. This means you will not dare to update your phone with the beta or the newest version of OS. This will make your app go into factory reset and your verification code will be lost. This happened to me quite a few times and scared me half to death. This is the most horrific scenario you can possibly imagine if you are abroad. The customer support is really slow at responding to emails and their services are kept really low.

Even though you don’t have to pay fees for their services, you are still putting a lot of money into their bank accounts. The worst part is they are not making any improvements to either their user experience or their user interface. I have been using the same dashboard to find a lot of things for years and find this really inconvenient. Instead of hating, celebrate. When you find something you hate, write it down. Every time you find something you hate, keep writing it down. When you have finally had enough, you can change it.

That is exactly what I did. When I originally signed up for N26, I thought I had made the best banking move of my life. I thought I would finally be able to control all my incoming and outgoing transactions. I figured the user interface was not only clean but amazing and there were no stupid upsells or advertising. I was really, really wrong. I decided I wanted a banking app that could easily show me exactly what was happening. This is when the fun part started. N26 introduced spaces a couple weeks back.

Spaces are simply money savvy virtual pigs. The only thing they do is use sub spaces to save your money. There is a reason I use it anyway. Every single time I look at my bank account, I have the tendency to spend more money. My purchases and spending becomes more impulsive and I buy more than I really should because I know the money is there. I like spending money even if it’s for something I know I will use like once or twice. Every time a month ends I start wondering what happened to all my money. It’s easy to lose focus as to how much you are spending when you have a single account. That’s because so many transactions are going in and out of your account you lose focus and feel like you are in the circus.

n26 banking spaces

This is probably why the spaces were created by the bank. You can immediately use the spaces to save your income transactions. This keeps your main account nice and low. You can create whatever topic you want with spaces except for space monkeys. This includes your goals for a vacation, setting money aside for the more difficult times, your business income or even setting up a simple goal for savings. I am trying to reach a goal of 10k€ in ninety days. If I owe anyone money, I make this one of my savings goals.

I felt broke because of the spaces. This is because every time I receive an income, I immediately put it away. This means my main account is always low. As long as my main account is low, my subconscious mind doesn’t urge me to spend money on stuff I probably don’t need. If you have a large transaction coming in, you can put your money back in your main account. The reason I do this is to be prepared in case there are any unexpected surprises. The good news is even though I feel broke because of my bank account, I know I am not really broke. I am looking forward to seeing the improvement in the spaces next time.

Currently, the spaces are available for everyone in N26. There are some limitations such as a normal account can only have two spaces, but a Black & Metal receives a maximum of ten spaces. I am a Metal customer, have a lot to handle in my sub accounts and need more than two spaces. Now you know all of the reasons I switched to a banking app and exactly what happened. Not too bad if I say so myself, and I do.

Master of None!