Savers starved of decent interest-paying accounts have the option of a new two year bond paying 2.2%– but it’s only available in limited quantities to iPhone and iPad customers.
Newly launched Atom Bank promises to be the first digital-only bank in the UK, exclusively operating through mobile apps. It’s a fully licenced bank, regulated by the UK Authorities.
The rates compare favourably with the rest of the market. The one-year bond is only beaten by the Union Bank of India, which pays 2.15%, but is only available in its limited branch network or by post.
While Atom’s two-year account matches rates on offer from Fidor Bank and the State Bank of India, and can again only be beaten by the Union Bank of India, which pays 2.35%, to customers applying by post or in branch.
Refreshingly, Atom Bank’s accounts are also accessible to smaller depositors - while the Union Bank of India has a £1,000 minimum deposit, Atom Bank accounts need just £50. There’s a £10,000 maximum balance, but savers can open multiple accounts if they would like to save more.
Atom intends to unveil more products throughout the year, and expects to offer a full range of banking products by 2017, including current accounts with overdrafts and debit cards, mortgages, instant-access savings accounts and credit cards.
Who can get an Atom account?
For now, potential customers can only get the app by invitation from Atom Bank, and even then you need to be an iPhone or iPad customer.
Register your interest at atombank.co.uk to join the queue to sign up.
But be warned, Atom’s rates are subject to availability, so people signing up to the waiting list may have to wait a month or so to join, and it’s not clear how long these savings rates will be available.
Atom expects its app to be available directly on the Apple Store by June, while an Android version is planned to launch at the end of May, and a Windows Mobile app will follow in early 2017.
Once the service rolls out on Android, Atom’s products will also be listed on comparison sites.
But it says there are no plans for a website-based version of Atom for desktop computer users.
Is Atom Bank safe?
Atom Bank is fully licenced and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, the UK’s financial regulator. This means deposits are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, so if you save up to £75,000 with Atom it will be fully protected by the government.
The app also uses next-generation security features, including voice and photo recognition. These new technologies are currently being adopted by some high street banks. In February, HSBC announced it will offer password-free telephone banking for all customers using voice recognition software.
What’s Atom’s customer service like?
As the bank is newly launched, it’s too early to say what its customer service is like. But Atom seems to have a lot of potential; it’s been launched by one of the co-founders of Metro Bank, which was recognised by Moneywise as the ‘Most Trusted Current Account Provider’ in our 2015 Customer Service Awards.
Where can I find out more?
See AtomBank.co.uk for more information on the app and the savings accounts.