German-based mobile bank N26 has announced that it is closing all of its U.K. accounts by April, which will impact several hundred thousand customers.
The move is in response to the U.K. leaving the European Union, with N26 explaining that they are no longer able to operate in the country with its European banking license. Instead, it would need to obtain a U.K. banking license once its “passporting rights” expire.
Brexit most likely fast tracked the company’s decision to leave the country after it entered 18 months ago. N26 has faced stiff competition from more established U.K. FinTechs including Monzo, with 3.9 million accounts in the country; Revolut, which has 3 million British customers; and Starling Bank, with 1.5 million U.K. accounts.
N26 was quick to point out that it’s departure from Great Britain will not have an impact on any plans for global expansion. Earlier this year it announced that after five months of operation in the U.S., it has gained 250,000 customers. Since the U.S. launch, the company has introduced a Perks program that offers cashback and discounts from brands like Lime, Headspace, and Booking.com. In addition, the company has launched a network of over 50,000 surcharge-free ATMs; introduced a way to send money instantly to friends and family via MoneyBeam; and introduced updates to make its app work better for a variety of customers.
“American consumers are too reliant on traditional banks and face roadblocks to their financial health that have no place in the 21st century. N26 was founded to radically transform the industry and break down these barriers through the power of technology,” said Nicolas Kopp, U.S. CEO, N26 Inc.
Founded in 2013, N26 currently more than 5 million customers in 17 countries, as well as a team of more than 1,500 employees based in offices in Berlin, Barcelona, Vienna, New York and São Paolo. The company became Germany’s highest-valued startup last year—with a 3.5 billion valuation—after a $170 million extension of Series D funding from previous investors including Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures, Tencent, and Insight Venture Partners. N26 has raised more than $670 million to date.