From licence granted to launch in just over nine months
Atom Bank, the UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s first bank designed for digital and optimised for mobile, has announced its regulatory restriction has been lifted, and as of today opens its virtual doors.
This marks the start of AtomÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s journey, launching with its banking app and competitive fixed term savings. The app will be made available to everyone who has pre-registered their interest through the Atom website, initially available for iPhone and iPad users with an Android version to follow shortly.
Simultaneously, Atom will be offering secured lending to SME businesses, available through a number of specialist business intermediaries.
During 2016, Atom will be unveiling a further range of products and continuous app enhancements, with a phased roll-out of services throughout the year. By the end of 2016, customers will have access to fixed term savings, current accounts, overdrafts, debit and credit cards, instant access savings and residential mortgages, all serviced via the app.
AtomÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Founder and Chairman Anthony Thomson said:
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The team has achieved something that simply hasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t been done beforeÃ¢â‚¬â€œ We believe we have built a bank in record time, and weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re not planning to stop here. It is not a simple task, and having an amazing team working hard to deliver the seemingly impossible has been crucial. We are all fully committed to continuing to innovate and deliver a transparent way of banking that turns the old world on its head.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The app offers a completely new way to bank, using face and voice biometrics to log-in to the app, with paper-free account opening in just a few taps. Backed up by a Durham-based customer support team, available all day every day, Atom Bank provides intuitive technology, competitive pricing and is dedicated to ensuring customers get what they genuinely need from their bank, delivered in an engaging and simple way.
To use the biometric system, customers will need a modern smartphone or tablet using Apple iOS or android operating system.Ã‚Â These modern devices have all the capacity and technology built in as standard, Atom Bank says and customers won’t need other bits of kit, such as card authentication which some banks require.
The voice match involves the customer saying a particular phrase into the phone three times when they first register to make sure Atom has all the voice intonations that are particular to each person.Ã‚Â Once that is done Ã¢â‚¬â€œ which takes seconds Ã¢â‚¬â€œ thereafter the customer will say the same phrase once and the pattern of the voice is matched against the original recording. A positive match and the user is in.
The face match uses technology that many are already familiar with from going through passport control at airports, Atom says.Ã‚Â Customers frame their face in an oval shape that the app displays on their phone or tablet to take a ‘selfie’.
The technology tests for depth of image and minute movements to make sure no-one is using a photo or dummy – whether as a prank or to try to impersonate someone else.Ã‚Â The app prompts the user to blink as an extra fail safe. The measurements are so fine and technology so quick that the user only need to do this once for the pattern to be recorded.
As with the voice recording, when the user next logs in, the technology matches patterns Ã¢â‚¬â€œ in this case the distance between key features on the face Ã¢â‚¬â€œ to establish the user is the legitimate owner of that account.Ã‚Â Over time the original record Ã¢â‚¬â€œ face and voice Ã¢â‚¬â€œ updates to take account of the pattern of change that we all go through as the days turn into months and years.
Atom says the technology will make it simpler and safer for its customers Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and it is also working on adding fingerprints to the list.
AtomÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s CEO, Mark Mullen said:
Ã¢â‚¬Å“This is the start of a remarkable transformation of the banking landscape for everyone. Atom aims to offer a genuine alternative to the insidious and self-interested banks that dominate the UK banking landscape. Our approach will be to constantly evolve and extend our offering, with monthly updates to our app and a dedication to providing better value, greater transparency and a much more innovative banking experience.”
Atom Bank is led by CEO Mark Mullen and Chairman Anthony Thomson and since its creation in April 2014, the team has:
- Raised in excess of Ã‚Â£135m in capital through the support of a group of over 40 private and institutional investors, including BBVA, Woodford Investment Management, Polar Capital, Jon Moulton
- Built a highly motivated and experienced team of 160 permanent employees
- Been ranked 8th in KPMGÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Global Fintech 100 listing and 1st in Tech WorldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Digital Challengers list
- Established a global network of partners and suppliers, with a distinct bias towards the North of England
- Been granted first a restricted licence in June 2015 and now a full unrestricted licence to offer personal and business banking services
Customers interested in joining Atom can visit atombank.co.uk to register their details.