Remember when you had to (shudder) leave your house and physically enter a financial institution physically to manage your money? Ah, the good ol’ days!
Well, it's 2023 and banking has gotten a glow-up, a big one. Cue: Online banks, aka neo banks. The kind of banks that give you full control over your bank accounts and money right from your comfy couch while you're in your pajamas binge-watching your favorite Netflix show.
Why, you ask? Why are people ditching the old brick-and-mortar traditional banks and hopping on this digital express? The answer is as simple as the three L's: Less Fees, Lots of Perks, and Looots of Convenience. Yup, those annoying little fees you have to pay every time you withdraw some cash or transfer money between checking accounts? They're pretty much extinct in the world of digital banks. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
So, with over 70 online banks in Europe - each with its own set of sparkly perks - which one is best digital bank of them all?
But fear not! We're not about to leave you in a sea of confusion. This blog post is your life-raft, your guide, your... You get the point. We're here to help you choose the best international bank account in Europe, the one that makes your money as mobile as you are. Let's dive in!
Our Top Pick: Wise
You're probably wondering, "Which one does the author recommend?" Well, no more suspense — my personal favorite is Wise.
Now, don't get me wrong. I appreciate the eco-friendly stance of Tomorrow, and the range of options provided by the likes of N26 and Vivid. However, when it comes to international transactions and overseas spending, Wise really hits the bullseye for me.
Why? Their multi-currency account is a game changer. It's like having a collection of local bank accounts from around the globe, all housed in a single app. That's convenience on steroids! By the way, I'm for Superfounder.io and I am loving it.
Plus, their fees are as clear as a sunny day. You get real exchange rates, zero hidden costs, and a super intuitive app that even your tech-phobic relatives could master. In my experience, Wise has been the... well, wisest choice for my banking needs.
Read our Wise business account review
But hey, don't rely solely on my word! We've put together a comprehensive review of Wise's business account that gives you all the deets. It's like being a private eye uncovering all the intricate facts. So why not give it a whirl? You might find that Wise is the banking buddy you've been looking for. Check out our Wise Business Account Review.
Remember, the perfect banking match for you is out there. Keep exploring and enjoy your banking journey!
So, what are the best online banks in Europe?
If James Bond was an online banking platform, it would be Wise. Formerly known as TransferWise, Wise is the suave, globe-trotting money transfer service of your dreams. It's the guy who speaks ten languages and smoothly navigates his way around foreign markets with ease.
Wise's Multi-Currency Account: Your New BFF
Their multi-currency account, which is more of an 'electronic money account', holds, exchanges, and tops up more than 50 currencies. Got an impromptu trip to Japan or paying for your friend's birthday gift in Australia? No worries, Wise has got you covered!
The multi-currency account gives you local bank details in places like the US, UK, Eurozone, Australia, and more. So, you're not just an average Joe with an empty savings account. You're a savvy international, well, wise guy!
Fees and Limitations: Your Pocket's Kryptonite?
Even Superman had his weak spot, and so does Wise - but don't fret! While we won't sugarcoat it, we can certainly help make it a bit more digestible.
Here's what you need to keep an eye on:
- Sending and Converting Money: These start as low as 0.43%, though the rate varies depending on the currency.
- Wise Debit Card: This spiffy piece of plastic will set you back a one-time fee of $9. Worth every cent!
- ATM Withdrawals: The first 100 USD each month is free, but after that, there's an extra $1.50 charge per withdrawal, plus a 2% fee.
- Account Transactions: Certain transactions, like topping up e-wallets, come with a 2% fee.
- Receiving USD Wire Payments: There's a fixed fee of $4.14 per payment.
And remember, Wise plays best with digital. It's not so friendly with paper cash, checks, overdrafts, or loans. But then again, isn't everything moving online these days? So, ready to join the Wise side?
Who Should Buddy Up With Wise?
Despite these downers, Wise is a hit with expats, jet-setters, and anyone receiving and spending foreign currencies. Imagine you've just made the big leap from the UK to Portugal. You can transfer your British pounds to your Wise Euro account, convert them at a super low fee, and voila, you're ready to pay for your Pastel de Nata in Euros!
So, if you're frequently hopping across time zones, making or receiving payments in various currencies, or simply like the idea of being a wise guy (or gal), then Wise might just be your perfect banking partner!
Okay, now let's zoom in on one of our online banking superheroes, Revolut. This isn't your granny's bank or checking account either. It's a lean, mean, banking machine ready to change the way you see your finances.
The Revolut Standard Account
The Revolut Standard account is like the delicious main course of an extravagant meal (that surprisingly doesn't cost an arm and a leg!). With this account, you get to:
- Send money abroad without being gouged by hefty fees.
- Spend in over 150 currencies at the interbank exchange rate (Fancy, right?).
- Access your account anywhere, anytime on the handy Revolut app.
Getting the Most Out of Revolut
Now, for the fun part. How to use Revolut to its fullest potential? Let me share some insider tips:
- Go international: Use it to spend abroad or send money to friends overseas. You'll get better rates than most high-street banks.
- Track and budget: Leverage the in-app budgeting tools to keep your spending in check. It's like having a personal finance manager in your pocket.
- Invest your spare change: Use Revolut's Vaults feature to round up and invest your spare change. Who knew those pennies could add up to something big?
There you have it. The Revolut rundown. With its features, accessibility, and potential, it's no wonder this neo bank is causing such a stir in the banking world.
Hello, friend! Meet Vivid, a financial app designed with one thing in mind: to make your life more, well, vivid! They've paired up with the folks at Solaris Bank to offer you a slew of features that'll make you go, "Why didn't I switch sooner?" Let's dive right in, shall we?
Vivid's Free vs Prime
Whether you're a minimalist or a maximalist, Vivid has got your back. Let's look at the color swatches, shall we?
The Free Account:
- No monthly fee (because who likes those, anyway?)
- Standard cashback on your purchases
The Prime Account:
- Small monthly fee
- Premium cashback rewards (because you're worth it!)
- Extra perks, because everyone likes a cherry on top.
Cashback Program: Where Vivid Really Shines
Here's where things get interesting. You see, Vivid's cashback program is the gift that keeps on giving.
- Standard Cashback: As a free account holder, you earn money back on your purchases. Neat, huh?
- Premium Cashback: If you decide to go Prime, your cashback gets a major glow-up. So you can spend, earn, and repeat.
Isn't it time to add a little more Vivid to your life?
Grab your reusable coffee cup and let's chat about Tomorrow. No, not the day after today, we're talking about the bank that's making waves in the world of sustainability.
From their tree-hugging initiatives to the eco-friendly strategies, Tomorrow is on a mission to make the future a little less gloomy. So, how about a deep dive into Tomorrow's world and their not-so-subtle efforts to save our planet?
Choose Your Own Adventure (or Account)
Like ordering at a hipster café, Tomorrow offers three levels of banking goodness to suit your taste and lifestyle. Here's the lowdown:
- Tomorrow Now (€3/month) - Your intro to eco-conscious banking. It's like having a potted plant in your living room, but it helps you manage your finances.
- Tomorrow Change (€7/month) - It's the Now account, but on organic steroids. Comes with five free monthly withdrawals and your choice of three snazzy card designs.
- Tomorrow Zero (€15/month) - The premium account that screams 'I hug trees for fun'. Packed with every feature you can imagine, including unlimited free withdrawals and a free wooden Visa debit card.
The Perks of Banking with Tomorrow
Tomorrow isn't just about money, it's a lifestyle choice. Here's why you might want to swipe right:
- Spending analytics - Ever wondered where your money goes? With Tomorrow's automated analysis of your spendings, you can keep track like a hawk. No more wondering how you ended up buying 3 smoothie makers at 2 a.m.
- Saving features - Whether you're saving for a fancy bike, a trip to Iceland, or to buy that ridiculously overpriced vintage lamp, Tomorrow's sub-account options got you covered.
- Sustainable investments - Invest your money in Tomorrow's sustainable investment fund and sleep well knowing you’re doing something good for the planet. It's like a warm, fuzzy blanket for your conscience.
So, there you have it - your guide to the future with Tomorrow. It's about more than banking, it's about making sustainable choices that look after our world... and our wallets.
Remember, banking with Tomorrow isn't just about spending money, checking and savings accounts, it's about making every Euro count for the planet. So, ready to take the leap into a more sustainable future?
With Tomorrow, every day is Earth Day. Now, that's a cause we can all bank on! Now, let's talk about the best-known mobile bank in the world in the next section. Meet N26.
Let's spill the tea on N26, one of the sassiest mobile apps for banks around. It's the bad boy of the banking world, sans the leather jacket, but loaded with neat features. It's the equivalent of having a party at the bank, minus the hangover.
Say goodbye to your old-school banking woes of hidden fees, tedious paperwork, and waiting times that feel longer than a Marvel movie marathon. Say hello to the 24/7 mobile banking party that is N26.
No Boundaries, Just Better Rates
Fancy sending your money on a little international adventure? With N26, your cash can travel overseas without leaving your couch. And just like that one friend who knows all the shortcuts, N26's got the best routes for exchange rates. Goodbye international transfer woes, hello seamless transactions.
Options Galore: N26 Account Types
Like the toppings on a pizza, N26 offers a flavor for everyone. Let's unpack the menu:
- N26 Standard Account - The good old cheese pizza of banking. It's a free bank account complete with a virtual card, 24/7 support, and a German IBAN that's as secure as a bank vault.
- N26 Smart - The Margherita. A sprinkle of extra features for more control over your money. Customer support hotline, colorful Mastercard options, budgeting features, and 10 spaces sub-accounts to keep your funds as organized as a librarian's bookshelf.
- N26 You - This is where things get interesting, just like adding pineapple to your pizza (don't @ us). Instant push notifications for every transaction, insights into your spending habits, and the ability to dabble in cryptocurrency with N26 Crypto.
Perks of N26
Still wondering why N26 should be your new banking buddy? Here are a few reasons:
- Real-time tracking - With instant push notifications, you’ll know every time your money leaves or enters your account. No more nasty surprises.
- Automated budgeting - N26’s Insights feature will help you understand your spending habits better than a shrink. It's like having your very own financial therapist.
- Crypto made easy - Step into the future with N26 Crypto. With just a few taps, you’ll be trading like a pro. (But remember, as with all high-risk investments, don’t spend what you can’t afford to lose!)
- Saving made simple - Use N26 Spaces sub-accounts to reach your financial goals. Set it, forget it, and watch your savings grow.
- Apple Pay - Ditch the bulky wallet and make payments effortlessly with Apple Pay. It's as easy as sending a text, but more fun.
Need help or have questions? N26 has a multilingual customer support team ready to assist you via email or chat in your mobile app. So, ready to join the banking party with N26? Bring the confetti, they've got the fun!
Wrap Up: Choosing Your Perfect Banking Partner in Europe
Okay, folks, let's land this banking spaceship and review what we've discovered on our journey through the galaxy of European online banking. Buckle up!
Remember when you were a kid, and you had to pick one candy from the store? Just like that, choosing a bank account can be overwhelming with all these options at hand. But hey, unlike the candy scenario, you're allowed to switch if you don't like your first choice.
We've introduced you to some pretty cool banking buddies during this roller coaster ride. Each with their own unique features, quirks, and reasons to be your next financial confidante. Whether you're a crypto enthusiast, a sustainability warrior, or a regular ol' Joe looking for a simple banking solution, there's something here for everyone.
But remember, folks, the key to banking bliss is knowing what you need and understanding how each bank can meet these needs. Like choosing a pet, it's not just about how cute they are (sorry, N26, you're adorable, but that's not enough), it's about how they fit into your life.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How to Choose the Best Online Bank?
Consider factors like customer service, fees, product offerings, user experience, and security measures. Also, make sure it fits your personal financial needs and lifestyle.
Online Banks vs. Traditional Banks - which is better?
Both have their pros and cons. Online banks often offer higher interest rates and lower fees, while traditional banks provide in-person service. It's all about your personal preference and banking needs.
Are online banks insured?
Yes, most online banks are insured which means that your deposits are protected.
Do You Pay More Fees with Online Banks?
Generally, online banks tend to have fewer fees than traditional banks. They save on overhead costs (like rent and salaries) by operating online, and often pass these savings onto the customer.
How Does Online Banking Work?
Online banking works via the internet. You can access your bank account on your bank's website or mobile app to check balances, transfer funds, deposit checks, and more.
What Are the Benefits of Online Banks
Online banks offer higher interest rates, lower fees, 24/7 accessibility, robust digital features, and more.
What Are Other Benefits of Online Banking?
Other benefits include mobile check deposit, seamless money transfer options, automated savings, advanced budgeting tools, and real-time notifications.
How To Open an Online Bank Account
To open an online bank account, visit the bank's website or download their app, choose the type of account you want to open, fill out the application form, and provide any necessary documentation.
How do you deposit cash into an online bank?
Some online banks have agreements with ATM networks or retail partners for cash deposits. Otherwise, you may have to convert your cash into a money order or check, or deposit it in a traditional bank and transfer it to your online bank.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to me at no cost to you if you decide to purchase a paid plan. These are products I’ve personally used and stand behind. This site is not intended to provide financial advice and is for entertainment only.