N26 has terminated the accounts of some customers without notice. The fintech company argues that those affected violated the terms and conditions, but did not provide any further details.
After the growth restrictions imposed by the German financial regulator Bafin, the Berlin-based digital bank N26 is now also struggling with problems in Italy.
N26 confirmed the corresponding order from the Italian central bank. This calls for “improvements in combating money laundering for the Italian market. The order includes a temporary freeze on taking in new customers,” a spokeswoman said.
However, the measures seem to have hit regular users as well. No transfers or the possibility of withdrawing cash, just an email communicating the immediate closure of the account due to a violation of the general terms and conditions which however is not specified: this is the experience reported by users, so far about twenty and on average with only one review behind them, who have entrusted their complaints to the review site Trustpilot.
In the columns of Le Parisien this Friday, April 22, the bank defends itself from “keeping the funds”. “In no case do we keep the money, it’s a fantasy, insists Jérémie Rosselli, boss of the neobank. In certain situations, we do not have to wait two months because German regulations require it. In any case of fraud, we do not have the right to explain the reasons to customers. We can make human errors but if there are they are more than marginal.”
Niels Nauhauser from the Baden-Württemberg consumer advice center criticizes: “In the letter of termination, N26 refers to a violation of general terms and conditions, but does not provide information about which specific violation the customer is accused of.”
Termination without notice in accordance with the stated terms and conditions is only possible for good cause. “In the event of a breach of contract, the bank must give its customers a period of time to remedy the situation in accordance with their own terms and conditions,” said Nauhauser.
Some customers who were still able to log into their account even say that N26 withdrew the entire amount from the account. This is also the case with Lars P.*. On Friday, all his money was debited from his account by N26. Today he then received a message from the smartphone bank: his current balance is not sufficient to cover the pending debit.
Of course, P. has to continue paying his running costs, but there is no more money in his account due to the N26 debit. If the transaction is declined, he will be charged a fee, the N26 message said. And if the account then falls into the red, overdraft interest would also be due. Where exactly the debited money was transferred to is unclear.
At the request of the Handelsblatt, N26 said: “Occasionally we have to freeze or close accounts if we detect unusual activity or our terms and conditions are violated. They could not comment on the specific reasons behind the closures. However, on the rare occasions that they close accounts, they would notify the respective customers directly. Only very few accounts are affected, said the smartphone bank.