The N26 digital bank app has been experiencing serious problems for much of the afternoon, as a result of which customers are unable to pay via the app.
Initially, users trying to open the app received error messages ranging from “An unexpected error occurred” to “Something went wrong, we’ll check it in a second.” In addition to the error messages, the message later appeared that the bank was busy with “routine maintenance”.
This maintenance during business hours is absolutely fantastic. Typically, banks schedule their maintenance at times when users are least affected, usually scheduled at night or over the weekend.
An N26 spokesperson described the problem as an “accidental error” in the evening.
The digital collapse coincides with reports that N26 had to modify its systems from German regulator Bafin because it turned out that a lot of scammers were using the banking app. According to the German newspaper Handelsblatt The regulator gave the bank one last chance to put things in order.
N26 bank accounts are used by fake stores and scammers on the eBay auction site. According to the bank, the collapse has nothing to do with the tightening of the anti-money laundering policy.
N26 is the so-called neobank and is also active in Belgium. The number of customers in Belgium will range between 100,000 and 200,000. The bank took off because it offered free services, like Apple Pay. These are currently not usable or hardly ever.
N26 is growing internationally at a rapid pace, thanks to the use of venture capital. Customer acquisition is a priority, and a profit has yet to be made. In 2019, N26 recorded a net loss of €217 million. A traditional banker at a major Belgian bank has reacted to the massive expansion: “We’ll see how long it lasts.” The bank had 7 million customers last year after increasing by 2 million in 2020 and claims to be the digital leader in the European banking sector.
The new digital banks are a concern for UK regulators. There are players like Monzo and Revolut that portray themselves as platforms to easily transfer money internationally.
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