Digital-only bank Atom has launched its banking app after regulators lifted a restriction on its authorisation.
The bank, which received its licence last year, delivers its products and services through an app for mobile devices and desktop computers and is one of a group of startups in the UK known as challenger banks.
The app uses face and voice biometrics, as well as machine learning to improve customer services. The bank was the brainchild of Anthony Thomson, who in 2009 set up Metro Bank, the first new banking organisation to open in the UK since the end of the 19th century.
Thomson said the bank offers something that has not been done before. “We believe we have built a bank in record time, and we’re not planning to stop here,” he said. “We are all fully committed to continuing to innovate and deliver a transparent way of banking that turns the old world on its head.”
Atom will launch new products this year, promising that by the end of 2016, customers will have access to fixed savings, current accounts, overdrafts, debit and credit cards, instant access savings and residential mortgages, all via the app.
The app is currently available for iPhone and iPad users, with an Android version to follow shortly.
Atom’s IT strategy is to use off-the-shelf technology where there is no differentiation, but to invest in areas where there is. For example, to improve customer services, its app uses the capabilities of the Unity gaming platform, incorporating a 3D interactive experience.
Read more about challenger banks
- The retail banking sector is going through a period of regulation-driven change and IT is playing a key role.
- Challenger finance companies presented at a SAP financial services event to inject some urgency into the banking sector.
- Robo-advisers are crossing the Atlantic to find a space in UK financial services in the form of IT–dominated startups.
Atom then acquired Grasp, a company with gaming expertise, to improve its customer interaction. Grasp already works with brands such as MTV and F1, and Atom acquired it to be able to create engaging user interfaces for customers.
Last year, the bank’s head of IT, Stewart Bromley, told Computer Weekly that because Atom was designed for an app rather than a branch, it would be fundamentally different from traditional banks.