This app lets you open a bank account from your phone in 15 minutes

This app lets you open a bank account from your phone in 15 minutes

Business Insider


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UK app-only bank Atom launched on iOS in April, and an Android service earlier this month. So far, around 40,000 customers have registered with the bank, but only 2,000 have opened accounts.

This could be because the bank currently only offers fixed-term savings accounts — many customers are waiting for a current account, according to a spokesperson from the bank. The current account is expected to arrive soon, but we wondered if a bad user experience was also contributing to the low numbers of accounts opened — so we decided to set one up ourselves.

  • Registering was easy. We registered online, downloaded the app, and then waited for Atom to email us a registration code, which arrived a few days later. Once we had entered the registration code in the app, it auto-populated our name, email, and phone number, and asked us to confirm.
  • Security setup was a frustrating experience. The three-stage process involves creating a six digit passcode, taking a selfie in the app in order to set up facial recognition, and repeating a phrase three times to enable voice recognition. It's not possible to skip any of these steps. The first two stages were easily completed, but for the third step, Atom thought we were in a "noisy environment" and kept asking us to repeat the phrase, despite our being in a silent conference room. We eventually succeeded after four tries — or 12 repetitions of the phrase. These steps complete, we chose which method of authentication would be used for future logins.
  • Setting up an account was hindered by a poor user experience. The first step is agreeing to Atom's terms and conditions, which we struggled to do because the app got locked into a loop and all we could see was a spinning icon. After closing and reopening the app, we finally made it to step two — ID checks. All we had to do was answer four multiple choice questions based on our credit history, such as when we last took out a mobile phone contract. This only took a minute for us, but the app warns that some people might be asked to provide further evidence of ID. Our account was then opened, and we were given account details to allow us to start transferring money.

We managed to register and open an account via the app in around 15 minutes. While the process is fairly speedy, the bugs we described above could put people off, particularly if they are trying to register and open an account on the go or in a short time frame. And if people struggle to set up the first time, they may not come back and try again later — this could be contributing to the low numbers of registered customers who open accounts.

Atom needs to ensure that its process for opening accounts is as smooth as possible when it launches its current account — if that's how it plans to attract most customers. That's because customers looking for a new digitally focused bank have a number of alternatives, including Monzo, Starling, and Tandem, that they can turn to if they struggle to open an account with Atom.

Apps such as Atom show that we’ve entered the most profound era of change for financial services companies since the 1970s brought us index mutual funds, discount brokers and ATMs.

No firm is immune from the coming disruption and every company must have a strategy to harness the powerful advantages of the new fintech revolution.

The battle already underway will create surprising winners and stunned losers among some of the most powerful names in the financial world: The most contentious conflicts (and partnerships) will be between startups that are completely reengineering decades-old practices, traditional power players who are furiously trying to adapt with their own innovations, and total disruption of established technology & processes:

  • Traditional Retail Banks vs. Online-Only Banks: Traditional retail banks provide a valuable service, but online-only banks can offer many of the same services with higher rates and lower fees

  • Traditional Lenders vs. Peer-to-Peer Marketplaces: P2P lending marketplaces are growing much faster than traditional lenders—only time will tell if the banks strategy of creating their own small loan networks will be successful

  • Traditional Asset Managers vs. Robo-Advisors: Robo-advisors like Betterment offer lower fees, lower minimums and solid returns to investors, but the much larger traditional asset managers are creating their own robo-products while providing the kind of handholding that high net worth clients are willing to pay handsomely for.

As you can see, this very fluid environment is creating winners and losers before your eyes…and it’s also creating the potential for new cost savings or growth opportunities for both you and your company.

After months of researching and reporting this important trend, Evan Bakker, senior research analyst for BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, has put together an essential report on the fintech ecosystem that explains the new landscape, identifies the ripest areas for disruption, and highlights the some of the most exciting new companies. These new players have the potential to become the next Visa, Paypal or Charles Schwab because they have the potential to transform important areas of the financial services industry like:

  • Retail banking

  • Lending and Financing

  • Payments and Transfers
Wealth and Asset Management

  • Markets and Exchanges

  • Insurance

  • Blockchain Transactions

If you work in any of these sectors, it’s important for you to understand how the fintech revolution will change your business and possibly even your career. And if you’re employed in any part of the digital economy, you’ll want to know how you can exploit these new technologies to make your employer more efficient, flexible and profitable.

Among the big picture insights you'll get from The Fintech Ecosystem Report: Measuring the effects of technology on the entire financial services industry:

  • Why financial technology is so disruptive to financial services—it will soon change the nature of almost every financial activity, from banking to payments to wealth management.
  • The basic conflict will be between old firms and new—startups are re-imagining financial services processes from top to bottom, while incumbent financial services firms are trying to keep up with new products of their own.
  • Both sides face serious obstacles—traditional banks and financial services firms are investing heavily in innovation, but leveraging their investments is difficult with so much invested in legacy systems and profit centers.
  • Meanwhile, startups are struggling to navigate a rapidly-changing regulatory landscape and must scale up quickly with limited resources.
  • The blockchain is a wild card that could completely overhaul financial services. Both major banks and startups around the world are exploring the technology behind the blockchain, which stores and records Bitcoin transactions. This technology could lower the cost of many financial activities to near-zero and could wipe away many traditional banking activities completely.

This exclusive report also:

  • Explains the main growth drivers of the exploding fintech ecosystem.
  • Frames the challenges and opportunities faced by incumbents and startups.
  • Breaks down global and regional fintech investments, including which regions are the most significant and which are poised for the highest growth.
  • Reveals which two financial services are garnering the most investment, and are therefore likely to be transformed first and fastest by fintech
  • Explains why blockchain technology is critically important to banks and startups, and assesses which players stand to gain the most from it.
  • Explores the financial sectors facing disruption and breaks them down in terms of investments, vulnerabilities and growth opportunities.
  • And much more.

The Fintech Ecosystem Report: Measuring the effects of technology on the entire financial services industry is how you get the full story on the fintech revolution.

To get your copy of this invaluable guide to the fintech revolution, choose one of these options:

  1. Subscribe to an ALL-ACCESS Membership with BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report AND over 100 other expertly researched deep-dive reports, subscriptions to all of our daily newsletters, and much more. >> START A MEMBERSHIP
  2. Purchase the report and download it immediately from our research store. >> BUY THE REPORT

The choice is yours. But however you decide to acquire this report, you’ve given yourself a powerful advantage in your understanding of the fast-moving world of financial technology.

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