In recent years banking has drastically changed. Fintech startups are coming up with new virtual banking solutions that require minimal human intervention, less paperwork, and low cost. A virtual bank account in Europe can be very useful for companies or even individuals outside of Europe. Receiving payments without depending on your payer’s bank to set the exchange rate can save you several percent on each transaction.
Virtual banks offer user-friendly apps that unify user experience across all digital devices. It eliminates long queues and cumbersome paperwork. having a unified user experience allows account holders to access the same information on both mobile and online channels. Besides, virtual banking has made it possible to monitor personalized analytics in real-time. Banks use this data to make informed decisions and ultimately improve their financial services and products. The virtual banks we have covered here will allow you to open a European online bank account instantly without having to set a foot in Europe.
As of 2020, there are 36 members in the SEPA zone. Since November 2017, SEPA has been implementing instant payments. This means that payments can be made instantly, anytime and any day. Customers with virtual bank accounts with IBAN numbers can send and receive payments within the SEPA zone, usually without any extra cost.
SEPA (Single Euro Payment Area) provides payments in Euros within the Eurozone. It is meant to make financial transactions within Europe take place as effectively as those within a single European country. IBAN (The International Bank Account Number) is a unique identifier helping banks process payments from person to person automatically.
Some of virtual banks in Europe with IBAN numbers to customers include:
Transferwise is a British fintech. The fintech offers borderless accounts, Transferwise Borderless. With Transferwise Borderless individuals and companies that export into Europe can open up their own virtual account to receive payments. TransferWise Borderless account and debit card allows you to send, save and receive money. Moreover, Transferwise Borderless gives customers virtual bank account with IBAN and SWIFT/BIC details.
N26 virtual bank was founded in 2013 in Germany by Valentin Stalf and Maximilian Tayenthal. The bank has a free basic current account, a debit MasterCard card and premium accounts (N26 You and N26 Metal), which attracts a monthly fee.
As a result of Brexit, N26 will be unable to operate in the UK N26. It will be closing all accounts on 15th April 2020.
Read: N26 vs bunq Review
Monese is a UK virtual bank account founded by Norris Koppel, an Estonian entrepreneur. It offers money transfer and current accounts services to the European Economic Area in Euros, Pound sterling and Romanian leu.
Read: Monese vs Revolut Review
bunq is a Dutch virtual bank that was founded in 2015 by Ali Niknam. The bank offers personal, business and joint bank accounts as well as debit cards. It also offers Bunq travel card, which is ideal for regular travelers.
Revolut is a British virtual bank that launched Euro accounts with IBAN in 2017. Products and services offered by Revolut include MasterCard prepaid debit card/VISA debit card, currency exchange, stock trading, cryptocurrency exchange and peer-to-peer payments.
Monzo is a virtual bank in the UK. It was founded by Tom Blomfield, Jonas Huckestein, Jason Bates, Paul Rippon and Gary Dolman in 2016. Using the web and mobile app, the bank offers current account and prepaid debit cards.
Founded by Anne Boden in 2014, Starling Bank is a British virtual bank. The bank offers personal Euro accounts, business accounts and debit cards.
Dukascopy is a virtual bank account in Switzerland. Apart from banking services, it offers cryptocurrency trading, investments and online trading to its customers. It has a multicurrency account supporting 23 different currencies. With Dukascopy, you to purchase blockchain-based crypto assets. You can also open a non EU resident account and withdraw cash in local currency.
With fintech platforms like Payoneer, B2B transactions have gone global but businesses can still get paid in their local currencies. As such, European online bank account has become the one-stop shop for faster payments, greater flexibility, especially with the MasterCard/VISA, and lower transaction fees.
For freelancers, virtual banking has become the platform on which they earn their bread and butter, whether working on content mills like Upwork, crowdsourcing marketplace such as Amazon Turk or doing other forms of independent contract jobs such as translation and transcription.