Germany's Number26 wants to make opening and managing a bank account in Europe easier, with online verifications and real time bank statements.
Banking in Europe can still be a massive headache, despite all the advances in technology that are supposed to make everything run much more smoothly. Legacy systems are holding traditional banks back, which is why tech-focused startups such as Simple in the US are gaining traction and market share. Now Germany's Number26 wants to make opening and managing a bank account in Europe easier, with online verifications and real time bank statements.
As it stands, opening an account can be an administrative nightmare, involving trips to the branch with passport, driving licence, utility bills and proof of address in hand. Number26 enables customers to sign up entirely online in five minutes. After filling out a form on the startup's website, a video chat is initiated to verify their identity. Applicants simply show their passport using their webcam and answer a few questions.
Once they're set up, they can use the Number26 mobile app to manage their accounts. Whenever they make a payment, they can check the app after a few seconds to see it reflected in their statement, rather than the usual couple of days it takes to get processed. Customers can also cancel their card with immediate effect when it gets lost, and reinstate it when it gets stolen.
Much like Simple — and any other startup that wants to offer banking facilities — Number26 cannot function legally as a bank and uses a licensed partner that stores users' cash, provides a MasterCard and sets their fees. Instead, it simply offers a layer of technology that bigger businesses haven't yet invested in.
Are there other existing services that could be improved with integrated tech-driven products such as this?