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Digital-only Atom banks is open to public

Following an invite-only launch and some fine-tuning, digital-only Atom bank is now fully open in the UK

Digital-only challenger bank Atom has opened its doors to the public following the completion of its initial invite-only launch.

The bank, which received its licence in 2015, currently offers savings accounts and small to medium-sized enterprises (SME) lending with a current account planned.

It 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 bank was the brainchild of Anthony Thomson, who set up Metro Bank in 2009, which was the first new banking organisation to open in the UK since the end of the 19th century.

In April 2016, Atom launched its banking app after regulators lifted a restriction on its authorisation.

Atom had an invitation-only launch, with registration only offered to customers who had registered an interest on its website. This was done so it could do a controlled launch and fine-tune its app.

It is now possible for anyone in the UK to download the Atom App, which is available on iOS and Android, and open an account. The app uses face and voice biometrics, as well as machine learning to improve customer services.

Durham-based Atom offers two fixed saver accounts, along with SME lending.

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Atom’s CEO Mark Mullen said: “We are creating a new way to bank; a system that is based on what the customer needs and wants, rather than being focused on bank balance sheets.

“We’ve been steadily growing our business to date and this is an exciting new phase where we can offer our fixed saver rates to anyone who wants them.” He added that a current account is on its way.

Atom’s founder and chairman, Anthony Thomson, said the bank will continue to listen to customers. “Building a bank in the right way takes time. What we’ve achieved to date is fantastic, but the key to providing our customers with the best banking experience possible is to continue to build the bank piece by piece, listening to customers,” he said.

In 2015, 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.

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