A Look at the Best Neobanks in Europe

Long lines, hidden fees, and outdated apps β€” traditional banks can be tedious. That’s where neobanks come in. These digital-only banks are shaking things up in Europe. Especially, with their focus on convenience, innovation and low costs. 

Neobanks ditch the branches and offer sleek mobile apps that let you manage your money on the go β€” anytime, anywhere. But with so many neobanks out there, choosing the right one can be tricky. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. 

This article will break down the top neobanks in Europe. We’ll compare their features, pros, cons and pricing, and help you find the perfect fit for your financial needs.

What Are Neobanks?

Neobanks are digital-only banks ditch physical branches altogether. They offer everything you need to manage your money through user-friendly mobile apps. You can think of them as the cool, tech-savvy cousins of your regular bank.

Imagine opening a bank account, checking your balance, transferring money, and paying bills β€” all with just a few taps on your phone. That’s the beauty of neobanks: a mobile-first approach that puts your finances at your fingertips.

Traditional banks are notorious for hidden fees, but neobanks prioritize transparency. They often have clear fee structures, with many accounts boasting low or even zero monthly maintenance charges. 

Plus, neobanks are all about innovation with cutting-edge technology to create a seamless banking experience. This include budgeting tools, instant money transfers, and integration with your financial toolkit.

Neobanks invest heavily in creating a user-friendly experience. Their apps are known for being intuitive, easy to navigate and visually appealing. 

But are neobanks safe? While they might not hold a traditional banking license themselves, they often partner with licensed institutions to keep your deposits secure. Many neobanks also utilize encryption and fraud protection tools, to give you peace of mind.

Regardless, it’s always a good idea to do your research before choosing a neobank. Make sure they have a good reputation and partner with a reputable financial institution. 

Remember that neobanks aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution. If you value the personal touch of a branch visit or have complex banking needs, a traditional bank might still be the way to go. But for those who crave convenience, transparency, and a tech-driven approach, neobanks offer a compelling alternative.

Criteria for Evaluating Neobanks

Criteria for Evaluating Neobanks

Choosing the right neobank can feel overwhelming. Here’s a breakdown of critical factors to consider when evaluating neobanks:

Account Features

βœ”οΈ Functionality: Does the app offer all the essential features you need β€” easy money transfers, bill pay options, and mobile check deposits (if applicable)?

βœ”οΈ International Banking: Look for neobanks with competitive exchange rates, low international transfer fees, and the ability to hold multiple currencies.

βœ”οΈ Budgeting Tools: Do you want to manage your money better? Some neobanks offer built-in budgeting tools, spending trackers, and financial goal-setting features.

Fees and Pricing

βœ”οΈ Monthly Maintenance Fees: Compare monthly account fees and see if there are any minimum balance requirements to avoid them.

βœ”οΈ Transaction Fees: Watch out for hidden charges, such as fees for ATM withdrawals (outside the Neobank’s network) or foreign transaction fees.

βœ”οΈ Card Options: See if the neobank offers a physical or virtual card, and compare any associated fees.

Security and Regulations

βœ”οΈ Licensing and Partnerships: Neobanks often partner with licensed institutions. Ensure the neobank you choose is partnered with a reputable financial institution to safeguard your deposits.

βœ”οΈ Security Measures: Research the neobank’s security protocols. Look for two-factor authentication, data encryption, and fraud protection tools.

Customer Service

βœ”οΈ Availability: Does the neobank offer 24/7 customer support? What are their support channels – phone, live chat, email? What will suit you?

βœ”οΈ User Reviews: Evaluate online reviews and see what other customers are saying about the neobank’s customer service experience.

Additional Considerations

βœ”οΈ Innovation: Are you looking for a neobank that embraces the latest technology? See if they offer any unique features or integrations with other financial apps.

βœ”οΈ Your Needs: Ultimately, the best neobank for you depends on your individual needs and banking habits. Consider and prioritize neobanks that cater to your specific needs.

Top 7 Neobanks in Europe

Top Neobanks in Europe

Let’s explore some of the top neobanks in the European market:

1. BlackcatCard

BlackcatCard is a European neobank based in Malta that launched in 2019 and offers international money management services to individuals and businesses.

With BlackcatCard, opening an individual account and getting a virtual Mastercard are completely free. There’s no monthly maintenance fee. Plus, you can hold and manage your money in Euros and even several cryptocurrencies.

Key Features

  • Free Account and Virtual Card

  • Optional Physical Card (for a fee)

  • Up to 5% Cashback and Rewards

  • Family and Friend Cards

  • Mobile App Management

Pros

βœ… BlackcatCard is a budget-friendly option, especially if you can manage only with a virtual card.

βœ… It is an excellent choice for frequent travelers or those who manage finances in multiple currencies.

βœ… Earning cashback and interest on your balance can add up over time.

βœ… A convenient way to manage shared finances or provide allowances to dependents.

Cons

❌ Limited Availability

❌ Newer Player

❌ Cryptocurrency Integration and its Risks

Pricing

Payments are free in EUR, SEK, CZK, PLN, and RON. 3% for payments in other currencies.

Ratings

Blackcatcard has a 3.0 rating on TrustPilot.

Is BlackcatCard Right for You?

BlackcatCard is a good fit for budget-conscious individuals or those primarily using virtual cards. The multi-currency support and cashback features add value, especially for digital nomads

However, if you require a physical card or prioritize a neobank with a longer track record, you might want to consider other options.

2. Monese

Monese is a popular neobank option in Europe, particularly for those who travel frequently or manage finances across borders. Launched in 2015, Monese boasts a user base of over 13 million people.

Key Features

  • Free International Transfers

  • Competitive Exchange Rates

  • Debit Card with Global Acceptance

  • Budgeting Tools

  • Insurance

Pros

βœ… Monese offers clear fee structures, with several free account options and no hidden charges.

βœ… Manage your account and finances easily through the intuitive Monese app.

βœ… Monese utilizes industry-standard security measures to keep your money safe.

Cons

❌ Limited Cash Withdrawal

❌ Tedious Customer Support

Pricing

The Classic plan of Monese costs Β£5.95/month.

Ratings

Monese has a 4.3 rating on TrustPilot.

Is Monese Right for You?

Monese is a solid option for those who manage finances in multiple currencies or value transparent fees. 

However, if you rely heavily on cash withdrawals, Monese might not be the best fit.

3. Wise

Wise is an online money transfer service that offers international money transfers with lower fees than banks. Users can send and receive money in over 50 currencies. Wise also offers a multi-currency account with a debit card.

Key Features

  • Send and Receive Money Internationally

  • Multi-Currency Account

  • Competitive Exchange Rates and Fees

  • Debit Card

    Pros

    βœ… Wise typically offers cheaper fees than traditional banks when you transfer money internationally. This is because it uses the mid-market exchange rate to convert your money.

    βœ… Wise transfers are typically much faster than traditional bank transfers with its peer-to-peer network.

    Cons

    ❌ Fewer Features Than Traditional Banks

    ❌ Lack of In-Person Assistance

    ❌ Possible Delays on Large Transfers

    Pricing

    Signing up for Wise is completely free.

    Ratings

    Wise has a 4.3 rating on TrustPilot.

    Is Wise Right for You?

    Users appreciate Wise for its ease of use and the significant cost savings it offers compared to traditional banks.

    However, it’s important to understand that Wise caters primarily to international transactions and managing multiple currencies. If you seek a full-service bank with features like loans or check deposits, Wise might not be your perfect fit.

    4. Hype

    Hype is a millennial-oriented neobank that offers a mobile-first approach to managing money. Launched in 2018, Hype has gained popularity for its sleek design, focus on financial literacy, and integrations with popular spending apps.

    Key Features

    • Account and Paper with IBAN

    • Insurance

    • Exchange Money for Free and in Real Time

    • Expense Management

    Pros

    βœ… Stay on top of your finances with real-time transaction tracking. Plus, an easy-to-use app allows you to set and achieve savings goals.

    βœ… Use contactless for quick purchases or your IBAN for online payments.

    Cons

    ❌ Limited Features

    ❌ Cashback Limitations

    Pricing

    The pricing of Hype isn’t available publicly yet.

    Ratings

    Hype has a 2.5 rating on TrustPilot.

    Is Hype Right for You?

    Hype is a good fit for young adults in Italy who are looking for a free, mobile-first way to manage their money. The focus on budgeting, financial education, and cashback rewards can be particularly appealing. 

    However, if you live outside Italy, require a wider range of banking features, or prioritize high cashback programs, Hype might not be the best choice.

    5. OnlyOne

    OnlyOne, a neobank based in France, offers personal accounts with debit cards. Residents can manage their finances entirely through a mobile app (iPhone or Android). However, note that account opening is currently limited to French residents.

    Key Features

    • French IBAN

    • Online Banking Services

    • Free International Payments

    • Eco-Coach

    Pros

    βœ… Make international payments without any hidden fees, saving you money on transfers and keeping your finances flexible.

    βœ… With every OnlyOne card purchase, a contribution towards positive impact projects allows you to bank with a conscience.

    βœ… Explore ethical savings options, responsible investments, and sustainable insurance plans, all in one place.

    βœ… Combine the benefits of an international student payment card with exclusive ISIC student discounts worldwide.

    Cons

    ❌ Poor Customer Service during Emergencies

    ❌ Unusable Card with Charged Fees

    Pricing

    OnlyOne’s pricing isn’t publicly available yet.

    Ratings

    OnlyOne has a rating of 3.8 on TrustPilot.

    Is OnlyOne Right for You?

    OnlyOne can be a great choice if you prioritize global transactions without fees and want your spending to contribute to positive social and environmental causes. Students can benefit from the ISIC discount card. 

    However, you might want to consider other options if you prefer a physical bank or 24/7 customer service.

    6. Kroo

    Kroo is a UK-based neobank on a mission to revolutionize banking with a focus on convenience, security, and fair fees. Launched in 2016, Kroo secured its full banking license in 2022 and offers a user-friendly current account with a debit card.

    Key Features

    • Free Current Account

    • High-Interest Earning

    • Zero Fees on Spending Abroad

    • Advanced Security Features

    Pros

    βœ… The intuitive mobile app allows you to manage your account from anywhere, anytime.

    βœ… The free account with high-interest earning and zero foreign transaction fees makes Kroo a great option for cost-conscious users.

    βœ… Kroo prioritizes security with features like multi-factor authentication and card freezing.

    Cons

    ❌ Limited Availability

    ❌ Newer Player

    ❌ Limited Features

    Pricing

    Free cash withdrawals abroad up to Β£200 per month. A 3% fee applies to withdrawals over Β£200.

    Ratings

    Kroo has a rating of 4.4 on TrustPilot.

    Is Kroo Right for You?

    Kroo is a solid choice for UK residents who prioritize a free account, competitive interest rates, and the convenience of a mobile-first bank. The zero fees on international spending make it a great option for frequent travelers. 

    However, if you live outside the UK and require a wider range of features, Kroo might not be the best fit for you.

    7. N26

    N26 is a popular neobank option in many European countries, offering a mobile-centric banking experience with a global perspective.

    It provides a free mobile banking account with features like a virtual debit card, mobile deposit (availability may vary), and international money transfers.

    Key Features

    • Multiple Currencies

    • Mobile Banking Account

    • Spaces Sub-Accounts

    • Instant Notifications

    Pros

    βœ… Spaces sub-accounts help you organize your money and stick to your budget.

    βœ… Cost-effective for international users with its multi-currency support and potentially lower fees for international transactions.

    Cons

    ❌ Limited Physical Presence

    ❌ Some Fees May Apply for Advanced Features

    ❌ Limited Features

    Pricing

    N26’s pricing structure isn’t available publicly.

    Ratings

    N26 has a 3.8 rating on TrustPilot.

    Is N26 Right for You?

    N26 is a compelling choice for those in Europe and other regions where it operates. Its focus on mobile convenience, international features, and budgeting tools makes it a strong contender for those seeking a global banking experience.

    However, do consider its limited availability outside of Europe and the potential for fees associated with certain features.

    How to Choose the Right Neobank for You

    The first step is figuring out what matters most to you in a bank. Do you prioritize a free account with no monthly maintenance fees? Do you travel frequently and need a neobank with good exchange rates and global ATM access? 

    Are budgeting features and spending trackers important to you for managing your finances? Do you need the security and convenience of a physical branch network, or are you comfortable banking entirely online?

    Once you have a clearer picture of your needs, research different neobanks. Compare their features. Look for reviews and user experiences to understand each neobank’s strengths and weaknesses.

    Neobanks offer several advantages. They’re often more user-friendly than traditional banks, with innovative features and mobile apps. Many neobanks offer competitive interest rates on account balances and fee-free international transactions.

    However, there are also some drawbacks to consider. Neobanks typically don’t offer the same range of products and services as traditional banks, such as loans or mortgages. Additionally, some neobanks are still relatively new and might not have brand recognition or customer support like established institutions.

    Ultimately, the best neobank for you depends on your individual needs and preferences. By considering your priorities and comparing different options, you can find a neobank that offers everything you need to manage your finances effectively.

    The Future of Neobanking in Europe

    The Future of Neobanking in Europe

    What does the future hold for neobanks in Europe? Experts predict continued growth for neobanks in Europe. As technology advances, neobanks will likely leverage artificial intelligence and data analytics to offer personalized financial products and services.

    The future of neobanking might involve collaboration too. We might see neobanks partnering with traditional banks. This could create a win-win situation β€” with neobanks providing their digital expertise and traditional banks offering established infrastructure and trust.

    Neobanks are also well-positioned to promote financial wellness. By offering educational tools, gamified savings features, and easier access to financial products, neobanks can empower users to manage their money more effectively.

    As the neobank landscape evolves, regulations will also adapt. The focus will likely be on data security, consumer protection, and ensuring a level playing field between neobanks and traditional banks.

    Overall, the future of neobanking in Europe is brimming with possibilities. Neobanks in Europe are poised to disrupt the status quo and reshape the way you manage your money.

    doola for All Your Banking Needs

    Need help managing your business finances after choosing the perfect neobank? doola bookkeeping services can streamline your financial needs and organize your cash flow. 

    Schedule a free consultation with doola to enhance your business’s financial management and get back to what matters most: your business.

    FAQs

    FAQ

    Are neobanks safe and reliable?

    Many neobanks hold a full banking license, meaning they are regulated just like traditional banks. They also utilize strong security measures to protect your information and funds. However, as with any financial institution, it’s important to research the neobank’s reputation and security practices before opening an account.

    Do neobanks offer all the services I need for my business?

    Neobanks are still evolving. Their service offerings may not be as extensive as traditional banks. Consider your specific needs and compare what different neobanks offer.

    Can I use a neobank alongside my existing business bank account?

    Absolutely! Some businesses choose to use a neobank for everyday transactions and their traditional bank account for larger deposits or specific services not offered by the neobank.

    What happens if a neobank goes out of business?

    Similar to traditional banks, neobanks with a banking license typically have deposit insurance that protects your funds in case of bankruptcy. However, checking the specific coverage limits and terms is always wise.

    Will neobanks eventually replace traditional banks?

    It’s unlikely that neobanks will completely replace traditional banks. Instead, they may coexist and cater to different customer segments. Neobanks might appeal to tech-savvy individuals and small businesses, while traditional banks might continue to serve those who prefer in-person services.

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