Launched in 2016, Atom bank is a relatively new ‘challenger bank’. It is entirely app-based, operated from your smartphone or tablet. It promises to be a simpler and more customer-centric bank. Atom bank offers fixed-term savings accounts, mortgages and business loans – there are no current accounts.
What is Atom bank?
Atom bank’s CEO, Mark Mullen, describes Atom as ‘a new kind of bank – it’s a bank that was born digital’. Atom is an app-only bank. Without branches, your accounts are operated exclusively via the Atom bank app on your smartphone or tablet. It is technological, streamlined and accessible – modern banking. Will.i.am is their Strategic Board Advisor – it doesn’t get much more modern than that!
Atom bank does not offer current accounts. It offers Fixed Savers and mortgages. Because it has no branches, overheads are kept low, enabling Atom to offer competitive rates.
How Does Atom Bank Work?
You will need to download the Atom bank app on your smartphone or tablet. The Atom Bank website has lots of information, but you’ll need the app to apply for its products. You can also browse Atom’s products on the app.
Once downloaded, you will see that the Atom bank app is simple and user-friendly. The home screen is referred to as ‘Your Hub’, from which you’ll access the various app functions.
Basic app functions:
Join Atom – this is where you register in the app. To register, you will need to provide your name, email address and mobile number; these are used to set up your customer record. Atom bank utilises biometric data for log-in security – you will, therefore, be asked for your photo and a recording of your voice.
Browse our products – this takes you to Fixed Saver and Mortgages. Here you will find a summary of the products and how they work. From here, you can go on to view the available Fixed Savers or ‘Call Us’ for more about Atom bank’s mortgages.
Atom Info-motion – Atom has put together 3 short info-motion videos explaining their ‘story so far’, ‘opening an account’ and ‘keeping things secure’ to cover some key FAQs.
Fixed Saver (Demo account) – this is a neat little feature which allows you to preview what a live account looks like. You can swipe and click through this demo account to see how your account information and notifications will be presented.
Enter a code – you may be sent codes to check the progress of your mortgage. Enter them here.
Hints and tips – a handy user guide for the app.
The other main area of the app is called The Portal. The Portal is where you’ll manage your account settings. You can personalise your app, changing the name and look of your accounts.
My Profile – choose your name and colours.
Vault – this is where your account documentation e.g. statements, terms & conditions and certificates will be stored securely.
Settings – choose how you log in.
Help & Support – access 24/7 support.
How to complain – complaints procedure and address.
Feedback – this takes you to UserZoom where you can let Atom bank know how well they’re doing.
Atom bank is committed to transparency and simplicity. Its aim is to offer ‘very few products, very simple products’.
A Fixed Saver is a savings account that pays a fixed rate of interest for a certain period of time (a fixed term). You will not be able to make any withdrawals until the fixed term ends (maturity).
- Save between £50 and £100,000
- Fixed terms from 3 months to 5 years
- Apply in 10 minutes
- Deposit funds via electronic transfer
- 7-day deposit window
- No withdrawals until your fixed term ends
- Choose between monthly and annual interest
- Choose to have your interest paid in or paid out
- Open as many Fixed Saver accounts as you like, as long as the total of your deposits doesn’t exceed £100,000
- Covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) up to £85,000
- No cooling off period
To open a Fixed Saver account, you must be:
- a UK resident
Atom Bank’s Fixed Saver Products
You can view and compare Atom bank’s current Fixed Savers in the app. As well as the products and rates, there is a handy tool for estimating your interest. You enter the amount of your deposit and it will calculate the estimated total interest on your savings;
|PRODUCT||INTEREST PAID…||RATE (GROSS)||RATE (AER)|
|3 Month Fixed Saver||Annually||0.90%||0.90%|
|3 Month Fixed Saver (monthly interest)||Monthly||0.90%||0.90%|
|6 Month Fixed Saver||Annually||1.69%||1.70%|
|6 Month Fixed Saver (monthly interest)||Monthly||1.69%||1.70%|
|1 Year Fixed Saver||Annually||1.95%||1.95%|
|1 Year Fixed Saver (monthly interest)||Monthly||1.93%||1.95%|
|2 Year Fixed Saver||Annually||2.10%||2.10%|
|2 Year Fixed Saver (monthly interest)||Monthly||2.08%||2.10%|
|3 Year Fixed Saver||Annually||2.37%||2.37%|
|3 Year Fixed Saver (monthly interest)||Monthly||2.34%||2.37%|
|5 Year Fixed Saver||Annually||2.49%||2.49%|
|5 Year Fixed Saver (monthly interest)||Monthly||2.46%||2.49%|
How To Apply
‘So straightforward you can do it whilst making a cup of tea’ – as long as you can manage your phone, ID and the kettle. Applying for a Fixed Saver takes as little as 10 minutes.
Once you’ve chosen the right product you can:
Atom bank utilises state of the art biometric technology for secure logins. This removes the need to remember dozens of obscure passwords and security questions.
- Verify your ID
Use your smartphone to go through Atom bank’s ID checks.
- Finish your application
Accept the terms and conditions of the account.
- Deposit funds
You can deposit funds via electronic transfer from your bank or building society. You can only deposit funds when the deposit window is open. The deposit window starts as soon as your account opens, and closes at 9pm on the same day the following week. Any additional funds must be added during this time.
Fixed Savers have no cooling off period – make sure you’ve considered the decision carefully.
How Safe Is Atom Bank?
When something new or innovative arrives on the scene, we’re often worried about security – we want to know that our details and our money are being kept safe.
Atom bank is covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). If Atom bank was to suddenly go bust, you’re covered for up to £85,000. It’s worth noting here that the maximum total across all your savings products with Atom bank exceeds this limit as you can save up to £100,000 in their Fixer Savers.
Rather than the traditional passcode and password, Atom bank uses biometric technology to keep your account safe. You’ll register your face and voice biometrics and a six-digit passcode. Atom will then ask you for a selfie and voice clip when you go to log in. Atom are also hoping to introduce fingerprint recognition in the future.
Protecting your data
Atom bank also do a number of other things, like traditional banks, to ensure your data is secure. Your data is not stored on the app – it is all encrypted and stored on Atom bank’s servers.
- Quick registration process
- Entirely app-based – manage all your accounts wherever and whenever you like
- Biometric security to keep your account safe
- Competitive AER interest rates
- Good choice of fixed terms – choose how long you want to save for
- Save from £50 to £100,000
- Easy-to-use app
- 24/7 support
- Personalise your bank account
- See how it grows – seeing your account balance and interest may encourage you to save
- You can request some documents like Terms & Conditions in other formats by email
- Sometimes takes several attempts to successfully log-in
- Indiscreet – you may not want to take a selfie or voice clip to login when you’re out and about
- Occasionally the app crashes
- You’ll need an internet connection to use the app
- Limited products – you’ll still need to use traditional banks for full money management and current accounts
Who owns Atom?
Atom is a privately-owned company with a broad range of shareholders, including BBVA, Woodford Investment Management and Toscafund Asset Management.
Where is Atom based?
There are no branches, but Atom bank’s headquarters are in Durham and they have a small office in London too.
Can I open an account by post or online?
No. You can only open an account through your smartphone or tablet.
Will the app work on my mobile or tablet?
Atom bank checks regularly that its app works for as many people as possible and monitors the 20 most popular devices in the UK. If you’re running old operating systems or devices, there is a chance the app won’t work.
Can I access my account on multiple devices?
Yes – download the app on your other devices and follow the steps to ‘Add a Device’.
Do I need an internet connection to use the app?
Yes – you will need a minimum of 3G internet connection to use the app, unless you’re using Wi-Fi.
Atom bank also offers a range of fixed mortgages, whether you’re buying your first home, a new home or remortgaging. Atom use independent mortgage brokers to find the best deals for you and, because Atom are branch-free, the rates are competitive.
If you are interested in one of Atom’s mortgage products, you will need to discuss this with one of the independent mortgage brokers (you are able to call through the app). If the product is suitable for you, the broker will submit the application on your behalf. You can then track your application and view your mortgage details, e.g. repayments, on the app.