Berlin-based digital bank Number26 is on Thursday launching across France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Slovakia, and Spain.
It marks the startup’s first expansion outside of Germany and Austria, and a step towards its ambition of building a “borderless banking” experience.
Number26 provides a smartphone-first bank account linked to a MasterCard that can be used worldwide without fees. The company, founded in 2013, already has 80,000 customers.
The startup has raised €12.5 million ($13.7 million) in funding from investors including Valar Ventures, the VC fund of well-known Silicon Valley venture capitalist and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel.
Number26 CEO and founder Valentin Stalf says in an emailed statement:
Our vision from the start has been to build Europe’s first bank account for the smartphone. We see traditional banks as having failed to adapt to the demands of the digital generation. The response to Number26 has been fantastic and we’re thrilled to expand to further markets.
Customers can sign up for an account online in as little as eight minutes, using video chat for part of the process. Examples of smartphone-focused features include push notifications every time you spend something or get close to your overdraft.
Number26 isn’t the only startup trying to build a bank for the smartphone generation, with Atom Bank and Tandem Bank in the UK and Moven and Simple in the US notable rivals. But Number26’s ambition goes beyond just building an intuitive banking app — they want to build a “borderless bank” that works across Europe with no friction.
CFO and founder Maximilian Tayenthal said in an emailed statement:
The markets we chose to enter now are perfect examples of a bad user experience and overpriced retail banking products. It’s here where we start to build the first true pan-European bank. The problems affecting banks in Europe, such as bureaucracy, outdated technology and inefficient structures, are well present in those markets.
Despite the bashing of traditional banks, Number26 still relies on the legacy banking system. It doesn’t have a banking licence itself, so customer funds are held by German bank Wirecard.
Number26 launched an English language version of the app earlier this year and a spokesperson for the company told Business Insider that the startup plans to launch in the UK at some point, but there’s no word on when just yet.
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