Alternative Finances

Mobile-Only Bank NUMBER26 Goes Contactless With MasterCard


Mobile-only banking startup NUMBER26 announced Thursday (Dec. 17) the launch of a new addition to its contactless payment card offerings.

NUMBER26 customers can now order an NFC-enabled card from MasterCard International’s lead debit brand, Maestro, bringing cashless payment options to more than 650,000 locations throughout Germany and Austria, the company said in a blog post.

“The key benefit of the Maestro card is the expanded opportunities to shop without cash at more retailers. This is particularly important in Germany, where credit card acceptance at retailers is lower than in some other markets,” the post continued. “What’s more, you’ll have full access to the same security and convenience features that you already love as a NUMBER26 MasterCard customer, including the ability to set customized instant notifications.”

Earlier this month, the Berlin-based bank revealed plans to bring its banking without borders concept to six more European countries.

Launched earlier this year in Germany and Austria, the startup bank operates entirely on a smartphone and now wants to expand to Spain, Italy, Ireland, Slovakia, Greece and France.

“There is a demand for better banking in Europe. We’ve already seen this in Germany and Austria, and we are sure to observe the same in the countries we are launching next,” the company said in a separate blog post.

Dubbed the “Simple for Europe,” an ode to Spanish bank BBVA’s mobile-only system, NUMBER26 uses strategic partner Wirecard Bank’s license and its backing to create a banking network that is not dependent on a branch system, as other banks in the two nations are.

All transactions can be completed on smartphones in a “transparent, mobile and secure” way, NUMBER26 Founder and CEO Valentin Stalf said in a press release earlier this year.

Based on recent research, now may be an ideal time to encourage the use of mobile and contactless payments in Germany.

Instilling trust and understanding among mPayments users is a crucial step in growing the adoption of mPayments among German shoppers, but as TSYS pointed out in its German M-Payments Consumer Research Report, so is building the rollout of point-of-sale (POS) terminals that accept contactless payments.

German retailers are expected to replace 200,000 to 300,000 old payment terminals over the next three years and will most likely move to ensure contactless payment functionality is available.


New PYMNTS Report: Preventing Financial Crimes Playbook – July 2020 

Call it the great tug-of-war. Fraudsters are teaming up to form elaborate rings that work in sync to launch account takeovers. Chris Tremont, EVP at Radius Bank, tells PYMNTS that financial institutions (FIs) can beat such highly organized fraudsters at their own game. In the July 2020 Preventing Financial Crimes Playbook, Tremont lays out how.