FRANKFURT, July 21 (Reuters) - German financial technology firm Number26, an online bank operating in eight European countries, on Thursday received its full German banking licence, following earlier approval by the European Central Bank.
The Berlin-based start-up, which launched its app in early 2015, allows its roughly 200,000 customers to open a bank account and transfer money through their mobile phones, but so far had only been able to provide the user interface.
To facilitate its banking business, Number26, which now calls itself N26, relied on German banking software company Wirecard, restricting it from expanding into other areas.
N26 said it would offer users savings, investment, credit and insurance products directly via an app, adding that it would seek collaboration with other fintechs rather than developing the new products in-house.
To date, only a few European fintechs have a full banking licence, allowing them to operate across the continent. The most prominent are UK-based Tandem and Atom Bank, both digital banks hoping to attract customers to take their business online.
Number26 has raised $53 million from a broad array of investors, including Peter Thiel, the Silicon Valley investor who co-founded PayPal and invested in Facebook in 2004, and Li Ka-Shing, one of Asia’s richest men. (Reporting by Nadine Schimroszik and Tina Bellon; Editing by Keith Weir)