Nuri Bank - free German IBAN (potential Fineco alternative?)

Hi everyone,

I remember the discussion a while back about trying to obtain a non-GB IBAN to get around those pesky companies that still (illegally) discriminate against British IBANs. @Seb, I recall you having an Irish Euro account, but that sadly wasn’t open to new applicants anymore. And then of course there was Fineco, which offered an Italian IBAN but also an app that looked like it was from 2012 and a sign up process that - at least in my experience - made me contemplate ending it all on more than one occasion :laughing:

I recently came across a German firm called Nuri. They’re a Berlin-based fintech offering free German Euro bank accounts (with a DE IBAN, EU €100,000 deposit protection and a contactless Euro Visa debit card with no FX fees) which can be managed from their mobile app or web interface. It’s available to people in the EEA, Switzerland and the UK, and the actual bank account itself seems to be housed with a white-label BaaS provider called Solarisbank. Nuri are seemingly going for the ‘crypto-hybrid’ bank niche, so the app also has the ability to buy BTC and ETH, although I personally wouldn’t use them for crypto investing - I see it like Fineco’s stock trading capabilities tbh: completely secondary and redundant to my personal indented use case.

I’ve signed up for an account and my (rather artsy looking) card is on its way, so I’ll see how it goes. So far I’m definitely appreciating the modern interface compared to Fineco, and the sign up flow was a piece of cake comparatively (although I gather the Fineco onboarding experience seemed to vary slightly from person to person and depending on whether you applied through the app, mobile website or desktop site), but there are a couple of downsides I’ve encountered already:

  • No Apple or Google Pay support: this is a real shame since I use Apple Pay for basically every in person transaction, although if you only really want a Euro account for transferring money and not spending it by card then I guess it’s no biggie. Curve should work but it would charge the card in GBP, so you’d be able to spend your Euros as Pounds through Apple/Google Pay, but not as Euros. Hopefully this is added sometime in the future; I’ve come to expect it from financial institutions nowadays.
  • For some bizarre reason, ID verification upon sign up is done through a short video call as opposed to through the usual passport photo + selfie combo: this I know will be a deal breaker for some, and I must admit I found it rather awkward and frustrating compared to the usual methods. It only took a couple of minutes, but still a downgrade compared to what the likes of Onfido offer banks imo.

They’re currently running a €30 sign up bonus (only through a referral), so if anyone fancies that drop me a PM and I’ll happily share my referral link since they apparently don’t like them posted out in the open online (full disclosure: I’d also receive €30, and you must make one crypto trade to qualify, although you can immediately sell it back to fiat again if you wish). There’s also an additional €50 bonus at the moment (for the new sign up, not the referrer), which you have to meet ‘regular use’ criteria for 3 months to get (1x SEPA ≥ €50 per month + 1x use of debit card, see here and here). The €50 one is a bit of a faff if you read the T&Cs, but the combined 80 Euros is a pretty healthy joining bonus I suppose if you can be bothered to jump through the hoops.

Anyway, I’ve now got Italian and German IBANs, so I’m feeling rather continental indeed! Although as international as these foreign accounts make me feel, I always find myself using my Starling Euro account (as long as the GB IBAN is accepted) because I value having it under the same roof as my Pound Sterling account and I know I can rely on their UK support should something go wrong. If an EU domiciled account is something that you’re after though, then I’d seriously consider it and weigh it up against Fineco’s offering since there aren’t many EU banks left that still serve the British market. Hey ho, another interesting card for my collection at the very least!

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Please do keep us posted on this one! They’ve been making some waves within crypto subreddits for, I imagine, being one the few crypto friendly banks in the world.

They also piqued my interest as well, and they do look rather interesting and appealing! Pleasant looking app, and I think I’m going to want that card for my collection as well!

Please send me your referral and I’ll use it if/when (let’s face it, it’s a matter of when at this point!) I sign up!

Presumably, and hopefully, this was much less hassle than Fineco sounded? Still need to sign up for that one!

Please share photos of the card when you get it! Has a very interesting design and hope it looks good in person!

EDIT: okay, maybe not for me! I should have read your post a bit more carefully. They do the German thing of a video call, so not for me. If they ever change that, I’ll absolutely reconsider.

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I’ll be sure to post some pictures on the forum when the card arrives :grin: I agree, it’s a very interesting design, I just hope it isn’t one of those ones where the renders looks great and then the physical card arrives and it looks cheap and tacky in-person. Time will tell!

And yes, I thought of you in fact when I first found out about the ID process(!), and what a barrier to entry it would pose to some potential customers who struggle with that kind of thing, which I totally sympathise with. It seems such a strange way of doing things, and way more resource intensive and costly compared to the usual methods. Is it fairly standard in Germany then? Their banking system does seem to have some very strange quirks, but I’m just glad that I can have a piece of it in some form as a UK resident I suppose!

A staff member mentioned somewhere that they’re working on making the verification process ‘easier’ or ‘simpler’ or something along those lines, so that potentially alludes to an automated ID system being developed for the future? :crossed_fingers: (I’ll drop you the sign up link just in case that ends up being the case :wink: )

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Not sure how standard it is, but when N26 first launched that’s how they did it. An 8 minute video call. They made a big deal out of that like it was ground breaking, and maybe it was, or even still is in Germany. But the US fintechs we’re doing it so much better, and then we got Monzo and Starling which were somewhere in between, probably because of the Snapchat craze around the time they launched. We know now after Chase and N26 that the video just isn’t necessary!

Even as N26 were expanding to the U.K., it was still a video call in Germany, and it was a big worry of mine, until they confirmed in the U.K. it would just be a selfie and a photo of your passport, though I think during the initial invite stage, that system wasn’t quite ready so they were using the video call here too, but only for the first couple of weeks IIRC.

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Within the individual source card settings in the Curve app, you can set the underlying card’s currency, which should allow you spend the Euros as Euros, or allow you to spend in GBP and have Curve handle the exchange rate.

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What value must the crypto trade be and what are their fees? May be interested in the referral at some point.

Also, do you speak to anyone on this video call?

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Like you I did the Fineco sign-up (:scream::crazy_face:) so I applaud your sense of adventure in your latest journey. My interest was initially piqued by your post but the shoulders dropped rather, the further in I got. A few too many “buts”, I’m afraid :face_with_raised_eyebrow:.

(To be fair, I’d have no more used it than I do the Italian offering, so no damage done…).

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:trophy:

Amazing, thank you! Apple Pay through Curve will be more than enough for me in this scenario (and I’ve always got the physical card which I wouldn’t mind having to crack out in the extremely rare case that I ever needed to make a very large purchase through it).

The minimum trade for crypto on the platform is €30, and the fee is 1%. If you’re purchasing the crypto to purely meet the sign up bonus criteria and plan on selling it straight after, be sure to use your Nuri custodial wallet for this, since if you use their non-custodial offering (‘Vaults’) you’ll be liable to pay network fees as well. If planning on selling immediately, remember the minimum trade amount of €30 applies to both buying and selling, so you’d need to make your initial purchase slightly over €30 to ensure that, after the purchasing fees, the crypto balance is still over €30, allowing you to sell it back to fiat (…I just traded €35 to play it extra extra safe and keep it simple, although the fee is only 30 cents a time so that was overkill).

I’ll PM you the link so you can decide at your leisure! :slight_smile:

So basically once you’ve completed the online application (which I must say is extremely quick and a world away from Fineco’s!), you then download the app and sign in. Before it takes you through to your new account, you need to initiate a video call with the ID verification company, IDnow, who I notice are also responsible for N26’s verification according to their website, presumably through their ‘AutoIdent’ software as opposed to the ‘VideoIdent’ platform that Nuri are using. There’s no rush on this - I actually waited a few days after signing up before verifying. A person will join the call and ask you to state your name, show them your passport with the back camera, tilt it a bit to show that you are indeed showing them a live feed and not a still image, then hold it up next to your face. Finally I was asked how I had found out about Nuri (I simply said “online”) and what I planned to use the account for (I said “for transferring Euros”) and that was it. They told me that verification had been successful, ended the call and you’re then able to access your new account, view the IBAN and order a card for free. The call lasted a couple of minutes I’d say.

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@N26throwaway I’ve just found that in true German fashion the daily ATM withdrawal limit is €1,500! (There is a monthly one of €10,000 though…)

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Thanks for the info - I shall mull it over :slight_smile:

Really disappointed by Nuri.

I’ve opened an account a few days ago and went through the video call for identification, but I’m currently stuck in a loop.

When I open the app and log it, it says that I need to verify my identity.

After I input some details, it says that the identification has already been done and can’t be restarted :man_facepalming:

Inevitably, I signed up for this, and the garish looking card is on its way. Wish it was plain black, to be honest. I was anticipating issues with the sign up - if you read the app reviews, Mariusfanu is certainly not alone in getting stuck in endless loops, and CS seems non-existent .

The “interview” was conducted in a mixture of German and English (though you can do just English if you so wish). Lots of tilting your passport to catch the holograms ! Transferred €30 from Revolut by IBAN on Friday, and it turned up Monday am. Just transferred €10 from Monese, let’s see how long that takes (probably tomorrow am).

Mildly concerned to read that it’s aimed at EU, EEA and CH citizens. Hope they don’t do an N26 and abandon UK customers.

I’ve not enabled haptics on my Android, so I can’t trade BitCoin (you need to do this to be able to trade).

image

That needs an explanation.

(As does the card, to be honest! What an abomination!)

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It looks vibrant enough that someone would talk about it and maybe look it up later

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It reminds me of card colour that looks as if it belongs too the 60/70s.

There, fixed it for you :wink:

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You can’t trade Bitcoin or Ether unless you enable the fingerprint scanner on the phone. This is a PITA for my Android phone, as it only scans the tiny strip where the “on” switch is and I really struggled to get it to work and eventually turned it off.

I also sent €10 yesterday from Monese via IBAN and it hasn’t turned up yet :-/

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My €10 turned up after 24 hours. I note that they are not on the list of instant IBAN transfers, like Bunq, so I suppose it was never going to be quicker than that.

I’ve also noticed that, when you sign in, you’re sent an SMS code (or, as the Germans prefer to call it, an mTAN), but the message received by the phone is in German (despite having set the language of the app as English). Fine if you speak both languages, but perhaps confusing for a monolingual English speaker.

Just added the card to my Curve stable of cards (it even had the correct graphic for it!), but Google Pay won’t accept it. Adding it in Curve was a PITA, because you had to “approve” the €0.83 test payment in the Nuri app, which is painfully slow, not just to log in, but to navigate between screens. I just about made the 5 minutes that Curve set to approve the transaction “in app” with seconds to spare.

I’m looking forward to using it in Germany and the usual “Leider akzteptieren wir nur Deutsche karte” (“Sorry, we only accept German cards”) discussions with shopkeepers displaying the Visa sign.

Wait, is that a thing? Why?