N26 bank says it has hit 100,000 users in Republic

Challenger launched in 2017 and plans to ‘significantly’ increase investment

 

Challenger bank N26 said it had reached a milestone of 100,000 users in Ireland, growing its customer base by more than 152 per cent in 2019.

The bank, which launched in Ireland in 2017, said it plans to “significantly” increase investment in the Irish market in the coming year.

Driving that plan is its new general manager, Sarunas Legeckas, who was appointed general manager of European Expansion Markets. Mr Legeckas looks after 18 key markets in Europe, including the Nordic regions, Benelux and the Baltics. He previously worked for Barclays, and founded his own startup PlaceILive.com, which connected property buyers and sellers.

The bank has reached its milestone figure in Ireland primarily based on word of mouth.

“It’s the strongest channel for us,” Mr Legeckas said.

“We are going to do different channels, more investment marketing and so on. But friend referral is definitely going to stay as one of the strongest ones in Ireland, which is a bit different from other markets.”

Throughout the year, growth in N26’s female customer base reached 192 per cent and outpaced growth in male customers by 50 percentage points. Across the age groups, N26 saw the quickest pace of growth in the 18-24 age group, which rose by 257 per cent, but that was followed by those in 50-54 age group at 153 per cent.

Most of N26’s customers are aged between 25 and 29, representing almost a quarter of the bank’s customers in Ireland. However, there are some customers in their 80s, the bank said, and the number of N26 users over the age of 65 more than doubled in 2019

N26, which is a fully licensed bank by the European Central Bank since 2016, has more than 3.5 million customers in 26 markets, including the US, and is targeting 100 million customers. “We understand it takes time, to build this trust and and we are we are here for a long term game and want to build 100 million customers.”

Mr Legeckas considers Ireland to be an important market for N26, describing the country as “one of the most progressive markets in Europe” in terms of fintech adoption, with the potential to become a leader as a cashless society.

“I think Irish people are very curious and very well educated in the FinTech space”, he said.

“We are still rather small in comparison; hundreds of thousand customers, that seems like a quite a big number,” said Mr Legeckas. “But there are five million people, and three or four million bank accounts.”