Challenger bank N26 is to shut its UK accounts from April 15 in light of the Brexit process, it has announced.
The Berlin-headquartered mobile bank made its first foray into the UK in 2018 – after the EU referendum.
But it has now decided to bow out, saying that the company will be unable to operate in the UK with its European banking licence.
It is writing to customers to advise them it is leaving the UK before closing accounts.
Customers with money in their N26 accounts are being asked to transfer their deposits to an alternative bank account.
Thomas Grosse, chief banking officer at N26 said: “While we fully respect the decision that has been taken, it means that N26 will in due course be unable to serve our customers in the UK and will have to leave the market.”
Will Sorby, general manager, N26 UK added: “We would like to thank all N26 customers for their support. We’ve planned the next steps carefully to ensure this process is as smooth as possible for every customer in the UK.”
Until April 15, accounts and the app will work as normal, including all card payments and direct debits. Money held in accounts continues to be protected under the German deposit guarantee scheme.
Account holders are being told to make alternative arrangements for recurring payments – and to top up their accounts by bank transfer if they are currently in the red.
Payments made into accounts after April 15 will bounce and be returned to the sender’s account.
People will still be contacted after April 15 to tell them if they have remaining funds that they can recover.
N26 is not part of the seven-day current account switch service (Cass), a UK industry scheme which was introduced to take the hassle out of moving banks.
Mr Grosse continued: “Although we will be leaving the UK, we will continue our mission to radically transform the global banking industry through innovation and the power of technology and design to build a bank the world loves to use.
“This means growing within the European Union, where we recently crossed the five million customer mark, building our presence in the US, one of the most attractive global banking markets, and expanding into new countries.”
Following the closure of the company’s UK operations, the majority of N26’s UK staff will move into new roles within the business as the mobile bank continues to grow its global team, the company said.