The N26 nightmare – part 5

… continuing the story.

You can resume this procedure on February 26. I decided to go back to Germany – for two weeks – and to come back to France in early March. Back in Germany, something unexpected shook my life. On March 2, it was confirmed. I decided to stay for an extra three-week period. A few days later, Germany decided to close its borders…

I would have preferred to stay in Germany with my wife, even though I was not allowed to go with her to the prenatal visits anymore because of Covid-19 restrictions. However, the letter from the French Organization for the Collection of Social Security and Family Benefit Contributions, namely URSSAF, was quite clear; I had to regularize my situation as soon as possible. The question was however if I would be able to come back after that. Indeed, the border, which had been shut on March 17 for 30 days initially, was still closed on April 25 (when I received the aforementioned letter).

The idea of leaving my pregnant wife alone was unbearable. What if… Granted, I had to pay this damn one-euro tax; yet, my to-be-growing family was, and still is, more important than any late payment penalties; no matter the financial penalties. I was angry with myself that I didn’t try to open this cursed N26 bank account the first time from France (see N26 – this time, it’s for real, right?). The guilt and the stress were building up, when the German officials announced that the border with France would re-open on May 4… Perfect!

The idea was to pop over to France, resume the procedure (see The N26 nightmare – part 3), and be back immediately. Before I could say Jack Robinson indeed (see The N26 nightmare – part 2) – if it hadn’t been for the build-up of stress and fatigue… or how I messed up big time.

Things were about to get worse

May 4, I was on the road in the first light of dawn. I did not sleep much that night; I was dreading the border crossing. Would they postpone the end of this covid-19 measure once again? I was tired indeed. Not much for lack of sleep, but for the previous week fretting about the eventuality of not being able to come back. When I arrived at the border, all of my fears came true. It was still closed (from France to Germany). If I chose to continue over that bridge across the Rhine, there will be no coming back…

It’s funny how time can play tricks on us on occasion. Admittedly, I was sleep-deprived and stressed, but by the time I was done asking myself what I should do – a one-second thought, right? – I was already on the other side.

However they may have felt when they left they were now committed, they had passed the point of no return.Hubert Selby Jr.

I had no way to know when the border will open again. Let me spare you the meanderings of a tired mind – What if… – enough to say that I was not at my best intellectual capacities when I arrived home. Nevertheless, I rushed to my phone anxious to be done with this crazy story.

An N26 bank account, take four, action!

By far, this was not the first time I was going through the sign-up process; four steps that should take no more than eight minutes, right. My old phone was not an impediment anymore (see A smartphone), the App was already downloaded and should work this time (see The N26 nightmare – part 2). Accordingly, I should have done this registration with the greatest of ease.

I clicked on Get started and provided all the info (email, phone number, address, nationality, etc.). The very first time I went through this four-step process, I did not reach the third step (see A “real” bank – N26). This time, I was blocked even before being prompted to download the N26 App (i.e. step 2). Something was wrong! I should have received the following To open your N26 account email:

Thanks for joining N26!
Hello Alexandre,

To get started, click on the link below to confirm your email address. You can then verify your identity directly from the application.

     Confirm my email

Just for your information, we have attached legal documents about your account. By clicking on the link above, you confirm receipt of these documents.

I refreshed the web page a couple of times, triple-checked my mailbox, nothing! Did the reinitialization process fail? I decided to contact the live chat; it was 11:53 am. Unfortunately, at 12:30 pm, when the chat ended, the situation was not fixed. According to G., everything was fine (on their side) – my registration had been successfully reset (see The N26 nightmare – part 2) – and I should just wait; something was probably wrong with my email servers…

A single alphanumeric character

E-mail icon
All right reserved

When, after lunch, I opened my mailbox, there was still no To open your N26 account email. One more time, I double-checked the service status of my email provider. All services were active. I tried to send some emails to this email address from other accounts; everything was working properly. I contacted the chat again; it was 1:30 pm.

First, I asked M. to send me an email to that very address. I wanted to be sure that nothing (e.g. SPAM filters) was blocking N26 emails.

Hey Alexandre,
Test email from N26.
Have a great day,
N26 Customer Service

This is when I realized that I made a mistake!

I would have never received the confirmation email (i.e. the one to confirm my email address) because I did forget an “N” in the email address I provided. Duh! I told M. about this stupid, and what is more easy-to-fix, mistake. More importantly, I also offered a quick and simple solution that would allow me to continue the sign-up procedure; the agent had even nothing to do. The idea was to create an alias, i.e. an additional (forwarding) email address for that email account. I had already logged in (to my registrar account) and was creating it, but to no avail (see below).

“Did M. understand what an alias is?”

When I explained that I could indeed easily create a new email address – with the typo – pointing to the correct email address, M. advised me against it. It was not a good idea to register several email addresses… I think M. did not know about aliases and might have believed I was referring to some weird hackers tricks better avoided. Besides, M. had already started to reset my account; it was too late.

To be continued…

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