Vivid

Free German bank account? “N26!” was the usual answer – until now. With Vivid there’s a new English speaking offer on the market that is not only free – but even pays you: with Cashback up to 10%.

So you’ve arrived to Germany, and one of the first things to do, after getting a free SIM card, is to get a bank account.

Many offers are on the market, even many with English support. But here we compare the two most interesting ones to the detail.

Vivid Standard*N26 Standard*
History & basics
Launched20202015 (own banking license: 2016)
Basic feenonenone
Branchesnonenone
Receiving & sending EUR transfersfreefree
Language supportGerman, EnglishGerman, English, French, Italian and Spanish
Mobile appAndroid, iOSAndroid, iOS
(Credit) CardsVisa metal (debit card) + virtual Visaregular Mastercard (debit card),
maestro
CurrenciesEUR + 40 moreonly EUR
Deposit guarantee€100.000€100.000
Cash withdrawal fees …
… at ATMs in EURfreefree up to 3x per month
… at ATMs in other currencies (worldwide)free1.7%
… at shops (Cash im Shop / Cash26)not availablefree
Cash withdrawal limits …
… at ATMs in EURmin: €50/withdrawal,
max: €200/month
max: €2500/withdrawal
… at ATMs in other currenciesmin: €50/withdrawal,
max: €200/month (converted)
max: €2500/withdrawal
… at shops (Cash im Shop / Cash26)not availableno minimum, max. 300 EUR per transaction, max. 900 EUR within 24 hours
Fees for paying with credit/debit card …
… in EURnonenone
… in other currenciesnonenone
Deposit cash
… via Cash im Shop / Cash26not available1.5% (min. 50 EUR, max. 999 within 24 hours)
Cashback
at Lidl, Aldi, denn’s, Alnatura, Flixbus, Netflix, Spotify, eprimo, Yello and more10%not available
at Vattenfall and more5%not available
Go to the bankVivid*N26*

History & Basics

N26 is on the market since 2015, with its own banking license since 2016. They claim to have 5 million customers, worldwide.

Vivid launched in 2020, based on Solarisbank in the background. So N26 definitely has more experience.

Cash withdrawal

Vivid limits this to €200/month and €50/withdrawal to stay free – out of these limits you pay 3% (min.: €1).

In contrast, N26 gives you 3 withdrawals per month with no limits.

Cash deposit

Not possible with Vivid – so if you need this then here’s your dealbreaker.

N26 allows Cash26.

Currencies

N26 allows you to hold only EUR. On every spending in a foreign currency, the Mastercard exchange rate is applied.

Vivid in contrast allows you to exchange your EUR into 40 other currencies before spending them, e.g. into GBP. You then hold GBP in a different balance and once you are spending it UK, it gets withdrawn from there.

Cards

N26 comes with a regular plastic Mastercard. In the app, you can fine-control how it can be used (abroad yes/no, online payments, cash withdrawal).

Vivid instead gives you 2 Visa cards: a physical one, made of metal, and a virtual one with a different number, only visible in the app. You can freeze and unfreeze them sepearately. For instance, if you only use the virtual one for online payments, freezing this card disables online charging.

Cashback

That’s the unique feature of Vivid – spend money and get paid back. Up to 10% at grocery stores like Aldi & Lidl – but also for online purchases like Netflix.

Still unsure?

Then try Vivid out and get a €20 gift: Once you’ve spent €20 with your Vivid Visa card, you’ll get a free top-up of €20.

Go to Vivid* Go to N26*

Two Years of N26 – a Long-term Test and Review

It’s been now two years that I am using a German N26 free online bank account*, and since it is by far the most popular from all the free German bank accounts presented in this blog, I thought I sum up my personal long-term experience in a test of N26. Read more

💶 N26 vs. DKB: Comparing the Two Best German Bank Accounts

In my overview of free German bank accounts, two of them are my favourites: N26 and DKB. If you cannot decide between them, read here a side-by-side comparison of the two and my conclusion at the end. Read more

🇬🇧 4 German Bank Accounts with English Support (+Free Gifts)

Living in Germany but your German is not yet on C2 level? No worries, a few bank accounts speak English (or even more languages), have not basic fees, come with a Visa & Mastercard and offer free ATM withdrawals. Don’t believe it? Then read on. Read more

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