The neobank N26 has given notice to several customers without providing the relevant details. Consumer advocates are critical.
N26 blocks customer accounts without justification
Some of the accounts of users of the German neobank N26 were blocked without any explanation – customers are outraged. Customers from France and Italy are also affected, as the Handelsblatt reports.
Customers reported that they only received a letter from the online bank stating that N26 had found a violation of the general terms and conditions on the account in question. The account has been terminated and the termination is effective immediately. The notice is given in accordance with the “basic rules for the relationship between customer and bank”.
Consumer center criticizes the actions of the N26 bank
The Baden-Württemberg consumer advice center criticizes the process and the way customers are treated:
“In the termination letter, N26 refers to a violation of general terms and conditions, but does not provide information about which specific violation the customer is accused of.”
so Niels Neuhauser from the consumer center.
“In the event of a breach of contract, the bank must give its customers a period to remedy the situation in accordance with their own terms and conditions”.
In the bank’s terms and conditions, termination “for good cause without observing a period of notice” is only provided for three reasons: the customer has provided incorrect information about financial circumstances, a significant deterioration in financial circumstances has occurred or the customer does not comply with security instructions within a certain period of time .
N26 does not go into backgrounds
At the request of the Handelsblatt, the N26-Bank said: “It sometimes happens that we have to freeze or close accounts if we detect unusual activities or if our terms and conditions are violated.” However, one cannot comment on the background in detail. Also, only very few customers are affected by the closures, and they will also be informed.
According to the Handelsblatt, there are around 40 known cases of German customers who have not had access to their accounts since last Thursday. Meanwhile, complaints from customers in Italy and France are piling up on social networks and rating platforms.
Remaining credit will not be paid out directly
In a letter to some customers, the bank also states that it is currently not possible to pay out the remaining account balance. Customers should provide receipts and evidence of the origin of the relevant amounts. Only then will the bank “recheck” the payment of the remaining balance.
Over the past two years, N26 has had massive problems with accounts that criminals could use to smuggle their illegally obtained funds abroad. In 2021, for example, the financial regulator Bafin imposed a fine of millions on the neobank for inadequate combating of money laundering.
The wording from the customer letter indicates that N26 is now searching its customer base for potentially suspicious accounts in order to solve its problems and then prefers to cancel too many.
“We advise those affected to ask the bank to state the specific basis for the claim for the termination and the alleged breach of duty,”
says Nauhauser from the consumer center. If the termination turns out to be unjustified, claims for damages could even be made. In this case, those affected should document the damage in detail, says Nauhauser.