Atom bank review

Save on the go with one of the latest challenger banks.

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Atom bank is one of the “challenger banks”“ aiming to bring banking into the present. Atom works entirely through your smartphone or tablet, making banking more accessible. However, unlike many of its competitors, Atom offers savings accounts and mortgages rather than current accounts.It also offers business loans.

This review will look at Atom’s app and its Fixed Savers product; if you’re interested in Atom’s mortgages then we have a review for that too.

What is Atom bank?

Atom bank was one of the first wave of challenger banks, starting in 2016. It sees no need for physical branches, providing all of its services from the app.

Atom’s strengths are value for money and convenience, and it has won praise for how easy it is to use. Atom doesn’t offer any current accounts – only savings and mortgages, and business loans.

How does Atom bank work?

Completely through an app on your tablet or smartphone. It doesn’t even send a card, you just move your money via bank transfers.

Atom makes the app personal to you, giving the option to alter your brand, theme and the name of your account. The design focuses on the products offered by Atom, with added extras like a blog and videos about the company.

The basic app functions include:

  • Your savings: See how much money you have saved, and how much money you will earn through interest. Your interest rates are also displayed on the screen.
  • Atom’s products: Atom offers a small pool of savings accounts, as well as mortgages at a competitive rate. From the products screen you can select or apply for one of these options.
  • Your mortgage: If you have opened a mortgage with Atom, an option to view your repayments becomes available on screen. This will let you know how much and when you need to pay back your loan. Read our Atom bank mortgage review to learn more.
  • Business loans: Atom also offers business and buy-to-let loans for small business and sole traders through intermediary brokers.

The app also features:

  • Blog: Atom’s blog, “Atomised”, is updated monthly and discusses a variety of current topics within banking and society.
  • Videos: A video on Atom bank’s story so far and a video on security can be found on the app home page.
  • Daily quote: Atom provides customers with a daily quote for anyone who wants to be inspired.

Fees and limits

With Atom you can open a savings account lasting up to five years. Interest rates vary depending on the saving period and the type of interest chosen.

Annual equivalent rates are competitive:

ProductInterest TypeRates (Gross)Rates (AER)
3 Month Fixed SaverAnnual interest0.75%0.75%
3 Month Fixed Saver (monthly interest)Monthly interest0.75%0.75%
6 Month Fixed SaverAnnual interest0.75%0.75%
6 Month Fixed Saver (monthly interest)Monthly interest0.75%0.75%
1 Year Fixed SaverAnnual interest1.50%1.50%
1 Year Fixed Saver (monthly interest)Monthly interest1.49%1.50%
2 Year Fixed SaverAnnual interest1.50%1.50%
2 Year Fixed Saver (monthly interest)Monthly interest1.49%1.50%
3 Year Fixed SaverAnnual interest1.50%1.50%
3 Year Fixed Saver (monthly interest)Monthly interest1.49%1.50%
5 Year Fixed SaverAnnual interest1.50%1.50%
5 Year Fixed Saver (monthly interest)Monthly interest1.49%1.50%

There are no withdrawals on the account until it has matured, and day-to-day payments cannot be made so there are no fees.

How safe is Atom bank?

With an emerging bank like Atom you might worry what will happen to your money if the bank goes bust. Atom is covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). So you’re covered for up to £85,000 if Atom suddenly went insolvent.

You might also have concerns about the bank’s day-to-day security features – how effective is the bank at stopping fraud?

Well, it offers broadly the same security features as a traditional banking app. Instead of using the standard passcode and password combination, Atom bank uses face and voice recognition to keep your money safe. The Atom app asks for a selfie and voice clip when logging in.

Along with your personal details and address Atom also requests your existing bank details when you register.

Can Atom bank be used abroad?

Atom has no option for a current account, meaning you may want to look elsewhere if you are looking for a mobile bank to travel with. Additionally, while you can use the app overseas, or even start an account, you might struggle to get updates. If, however, you would like to put some money away while travelling, Atom bank might have a nice return for you to come home to.

Atom bank customer reviews

Atom ranked top for public sentiment during lockdown among 10 banks that we tracked as part of September 2020 study that we conducted in partnership with the social data analyst BrandsEye.

You can see more on challenger vs traditional banks during lockdown in our industry report, which is free to download.

On Trustpilot, Atom has 4.6 out of 5 stars and a rating of “Excellent”, based on over 3,700 customer reviews (updated October 2020). Positive reviews praised the app’s simplicity and ease of use, while negative feedback spotlighted technical issues and specific problems with in-app face recognition.

Pros and cons of Atom bank

Pros

  • Register in under 30 minutes.
  • Display of account balance and interest rates, as well as how much you will get back at the end of the saving period.
  • Display of your possible returns encourages you to save.
  • Competitive rates of AER and tax-free interest up to £1000.
  • Personalised bank account.
  • Choose how long you want to save for.
  • Tough security to keep your money safe.
  • FCA and PRA certified.

Cons

  • Security features often take multiple tries to work.
  • Atom asks for a lot of information from you.
  • No bank card issued.
  • Traditional banks are still necessary for full money management.

The verdict

Atom Bank has a good range of fixed rate savings accounts, the set up is fairly quick and the rates are competitive (although not always the top of the market). You can choose how long the account lasts for and whether to get interest paid monthly or annually.

Just keep in mind that once you deposit your money, you won’t be able to get it back until the account expires – Atom has no “cooling off” period, so think carefully before opening an account. Also, it’s just fixed-rate savings accounts, no easy access accounts or regular savers available.

You can open an account with as little as £50 and still get Atom’s best rates. Together with its flexibility and easy setup, this makes Atom a competitive option for small savers who want to grow their stash without touching it for a while.

Compare Atom Bank against its competitors

Data indicated here is updated daily
Name Product Ratings Interest (AER) Arranged overdraft Key benefits Link Representative example
We say
★★★★★
You say
★★★★★
0%
39.9% EAR variable
£125 when you switch
Go to site
Current account switch service guarantee badge
Plus earn 2.75% AER / gross interest with the linked HSBC Regular Saver
To be eligible for HSBC Advance, customers will need to pay in a minimum of £1,750 per month or £10,500 over 6 months and must qualify for a minimum £1,000 arranged overdraft. To be eligible for the £125 switching offer, customers must switch from a non-HSBC Group current account product. Other T&Cs apply. Representative example: If you use an arranged overdraft of £1,200, you’ll be charged interest at 38.9% (0% EAR variable on first £25, 39.9% thereafter).
We say
★★★★★
You say
★★★★★
0%
15% EAR variable
Award-winning current account, apply in minutes
Go to site
Current account switch service guarantee badge
No fees for spending or withdrawing cash overseas - currencies are converted at Mastercard’s standard exchange rate
Representative example: If you use an arranged overdraft of £1,200 you'll be charged interest at 15% EAR variable.
We say
★★★★★
You say
★★★★★
0%
39.94% EAR variable
Interest and fee free overdraft
for first four months when you switch
Go to site
Current account switch service guarantee badge
Up to 15% cashback at a range of major retailers
Representative example: If you use an arranged overdraft of £1,200 you'll be charged interest at 39.94% EAR variable.
We say
★★★★★
0%
N/A
Guaranteed acceptance plus a credit building feature
Go to site
Account fee of £5.95 per month.
We say
★★★★★
0%
N/A
Guaranteed acceptance
Go to site
Current account switch service guarantee badge
Earn cashback on your purchases when you shop through the ThinkMoney rewards portal
Account fee of £10 per month or £15 per month.
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How easy is it to top up?

Very easy. Transfer up to £100,000 to your Atom savings account within a week of registration, and then watch your money mature. Be wary, you must deposit your money within a week of opening an account.

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2 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    EddyJuly 29, 2019

    How does Atom bank notify you at the end of the savings period and how easy is it to recover your invested funds?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JhezJuly 30, 2019Staff

      Hi Eddy,

      Thank you for your comment.

      When your account is due to mature, they will notify you in advance through notifications in your Atom app, and through SMS and email. These notifications will guide you through the next steps and what your options are upon maturity. All instructions can be given and acted upon within the app to make this as easy as possible for you.

      Eligible deposits in Atom bank plc (UK mainland only) are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. You are advised to contact their customer service when accessing your funds or withdrawing it. There is an option in the app as well for doing that.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

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