Buzz Builds Over Digital Bank Startup

A British digital banking startup is picking up steam and attracting some major investment, according to an article by Tim Wallace on London’s The bank, called Atom, has been getting funding from such high-profile investors as Sir Peter Vardy, Jon Moulton, Jim O’Neill, and Neil Woodford’s CF Woodford Equity Income Fund.

Atom’s aim is to be a full-service, fully digital bank that utilizes advanced technologies. As its founder Anthony Thomson says, atom is “putting massive investment into doing things we think are really innovative,” with a focus “on customer identification and the use of biometrics – fingerprints, voice, facial recognition, iris recognition.”

It’s an ambitious undertaking, and there may well be a market for such a banking institution. That having been said, traditional banks have also been jumping on the advanced authentication bandwagon: On a smaller scale, we’ve seen community banks in America adopt biometric authentication measures to identify customers, while elsewhere there have been nationwide projects with the same aim, as we’ve seen recently in Kenya.

It’s a recognition of the increasing threat of digital fraud, which has been on the rise as consumers have increasingly done financial transactions online, rather than in person. Is the ultimate endpoint of that trajectory a totally digital banking experience? Atom is betting on it, and so are its investors.

December 8, 2014 – by Alex Perala