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How do I withdraw cash without a card?

Let’s take a look at what NFC technology is, how it works, and what it’s for. Then, we’ll cover the benefits—and how cash withdrawals and payments work.

4 min read

Until recently, going out with no cash or cards usually meant borrowing money from a friend or simply heading home. But thanks to the power of technology, you can now leave your wallet at home! With your smartphone on hand, you’ll be able to take cash out or pay without your card in plenty of places.

This is all thanks to NFC technology.

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What is NFC technology?

NFC stands for Near Field Communication. It’s a type of short-range connectivity technology that runs on high-frequency waves, and it’s used for transferring data between devices. Through induction, NFC creates an electromagnetic field that allows two devices to exchange data at speeds of up to 424 kbp/s. NFC technology only works at short distances, so users need to bring their smartphones within 15 centimeters of the reader to kick off the process. 

Although NFC technology has existed for over a decade, it didn’t become popular until very recently. These days, many smartphones, credit, and debit cards are equipped with this handy technology that lets you make payments or access information with a simple tap of your phone, card, or other NFC device.

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What is Near Field Communication for?

Contactless NFC technology has grown in popularity because of its wide range of uses and quick data transfer. Here’s a list its main uses:

  1. Smartphone payments. This is NFC technology’s most popular use. With applications like Google Pay, Apple Pay, and your bank’s mobile app, you can easily make payments in many shops, bars, and restaurants.
  2. Card payments. Prefer the feel of plastic? You can still use NFC technology with certain credit or debit cards. All you have to do is tap the card against the reader, and it’ll work just like your smartphone.
  3. Withdrawing cash at ATMs via your smartphone. You can now take out cash at NFC-enabled cash machines—no debit card required.
  4. Connecting mobile devices. NFC speeds up the transfer of videos, music, and photos. This means that NFC-enabled tablets, cameras, and wireless speakers can link to your smartphone and share data in a matter of seconds. 

How can I withdraw cash from an ATM using my smartphone?

Almost all smartphones are NFC-enabled. To check if yours is too, open the “Settings” menu, tap “Connections”, and look for the NFC logo. If your smartphone is NFC-enabled, withdrawing cash is a breeze. Just follow these steps:

  1. Find a contactless-enabled cash machine. You’ll be able to recognize it if you see a small NFC reader near the traditional card reader. If there are none nearby, you can find a list of them on your banking app, or via Google Pay or Apple Pay.
  2. Once you’re at the ATM and bring your smartphone to within range of the machine’s NFC reader.
  3. Key in your PIN code and enter the amount you’d like to withdraw. 
  4. Take your cash—that’s all there is to it!

How does contactless payment work?

Contactless payment is a connectivity technology that allows you to make quick and secure payments instantly. Just bring your debit card, credit card, or smartphone near the receiver or POS (Point of Sale) terminal. Using NFC technology can make your life a whole lot easier. Let’s take one last look at some of the major benefits you can enjoy with NFC technology:

  • Instant payments that happen within 0.1 seconds with a simple tap of your NFC-enabled device
  • More secure than traditional card payments. All the payment data is encrypted and stored on your smartphone’s NFC chip. Its short communication range also reduces the chances of hackers accessing your data.
  • With NFC, you can use your smartphone to quickly and safely withdraw cash and make payments—making it the ideal substitute for traditional credit and debit cards. 
  • You can easily confirm your identity by bringing your smartphone within range of an NFC detector. This comes in handy when your home or office uses NFC-based entry, eliminating the use of key cards or badges. 

Your money at N26

Whether you’re off to France for a few weeks or are moving to Australia for a nine-month internship, N26 has got your back. We want everyone to understand how banking works—which is why we’ve created a series of articles on money-management, finance, and other banking-related subjects. And, if you want a flexible account that’s as mobile as you are, explore our accounts today to find the one that fits you best. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is NFC technology safe?

NFC technology is safe—its range is short to subvert hacking attempts, and users need to activate it in order to use it.

Can I use NFC technology with N26?

All N26 accounts come with a virtual Mastercard you can use to make payments from your NFC-equipped smartphone. All of our physical Mastercards come with NFC-tech built-in, too!

Do I need my card to pay for things?

As long as you have an NFC-equipped smartphone, you’ll no longer need to bring your physical card with you. You’ll be able to pay for things at a variety of bars, restaurants, and shops safely with your virtual card.

Can I use my N26 card from my smartphone?

If you have an NFC-equipped smartphone, you’ll just need to download the Google Pay or Apple Pay app to be able to use your N26 card from your smartphone. Easy peasy!

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