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N26’s UK Customers Scramble After Bank’s Exit

Online bank N26‘s decision to exit the U.K. has customers feeling left behind, CNBC reported. The Berlin-based digital bank said it would not be able to operate in the country anymore in the wake of Brexit, as it will no longer have a license to do business there. The startup will shutter all of its U.K. locations on April 15.

N26 made its entry into the U.K. in October of 2018 — more than two years after the U.K. made its decision to leave the European Union, but six months before Brexit was officially planned.

However, the fact that N26 used Brexit in its reasoning to leave the U.K. hasn’t sat well with some. One customer in London told CNBC that he was “outraged” that the company had used Brexit as an excuse, calling it “fake news.” He said N26 needed “an excuse” for investors, and had found in Brexit a convenient scapegoat so that it wasn’t N26’s own failure.

Others said they were disappointed in the closure, enjoying the extra bonuses that come with accounts.

N26 is one among a new breed of branchless banks, looking to gain favor with consumers through a parade of slick marketing and eye-catching slogans. The entry in Britain pitted N26 against challengers like Monzo and Revolut, which were trying similar things.

Though accurate numbers haven’t been publicly released as to N26’s customer base, reports have the number sitting at 200,000 since its 2018 U.K. opening. By comparison, competitor Monzo has 3.6 million customers since opening in 2015.

One critic of the bank said that, while he was disappointed that N26 was bowing out, its users had likely already downloaded one of its competitors’ mobile apps.

The competitors, meanwhile, have pounced on the exit of N26 as a way to attract more customers to their own brands. Starling Bank, posted in a Tweet on Monday (Feb. 17), “Just found out your bank’s making a swift Brexit? Don’t worry — we’re here to stay.” Monese tweeted, “If you’re in need of a Brexit-proof GBP account, we can be your perfect match.”

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