Atom to Pioneer Biometric Banking in the UK

16 December 2015


Atom will be pioneering the use of biometrics in the UK banking industry, leading the way with face and voice biometrics as core credentials to log-in to your bank. Atom is the UK’s first bank designed for digital, offering easy and convenient banking via an app, due to launch in 2016.

A personalised approach is at the heart of what Atom will offer, starting at the very first step of opening the ‘virtual doors’ of the bank. Face and voice recognition will be two key ways in which customers will be able to identify themselves to access their money and make financial transactions.

The average person has 19 passwords. But 1 in 3 of us don’t make them strong enough. That’s a frightening statistic, given how prolific our use of the web is. Whether it’s doing a weekly grocery shop, checking in with friends on social media or online banking, our ability to stay safe online hinges on remembering those magical combinations of characters! As we’ve seen recently with high profile cases, such credentials can be stolen, along with other personal details, through the insidious techniques of hackers.

Present your face to view your balance, or say a few words to transfer some money. Atom wants to ensure the registration and log in process of the bank is as simple, and most importantly, as safe as possible. Atom are starting out with face and voice biometrics, but are already working on adding fingerprint to the list.

Many people will already be using biometrics on a daily basis, with mobile phone fingerprint scanning now common, but the scanning of faces and recording of voices is new to most. It’s natural to question how secure it is and this has been a critical consideration for Atom in its evaluation of the bank’s security measures. The biometric software Atom will be using is already used extensively around the world at airports and international border controls.

Edward Twiddy, Chief Innovation Officer said: “Atom is taking a tiered approach to security. Once a customer’s identity credentials are registered (face, voice and passcode), they can choose how they want to log-in to the Atom app. If there’s an unusual or high value transaction, then we may ask for additional security checks.

Using a combination of facial recognition, passcode and voice recognition, a customer will be able to do everything they need to do within the app. We know customers of other banks get frustrated today with not being able to do everything they want to do online or in app and with Atom, this frustration won’t exist.”

Atom will use software company Daon’s mobile biometric authentication platform IdentityX®, already in use by the American financial services company USAA. They have more than 1,000,000 users enrolled on the biometric platform, with 4 out of 5 of their customers preferring biometrics to PIN or password as a way to authenticate themselves.

To provide their biometric gateway, Atom have partnered with IT services and solutions company CSC, the provider of ConfidentID™, a mobile user authentication service powered by Daon’s IdentityX® platform.

Beau Andersen, CSC’s UK industry General Manager, Banking & Capital Markets, said: “Ensuring a superior customer experience and high level of security for their customers will be key to Atom as they launch. We are delighted to be at the forefront of their inception and to be enabling a level of security which allows their customers to conduct transactions with confidence through secure authentication, a critical component of what they offer.”

Tom Grissen, Daon’s CEO said: “Daon is excited to be working with Atom and CSC to provide Atom customers with a convenient, fast, and secure way to authenticate within Atom’s mobile app. Daon’s IdentityX® platform was designed to leverage existing smartphone features, acting as a biometric capture device, which simplifies the authentication process and removes the need for complicated passwords. We’re delighted to support Atom on their journey to make banking secure, easy and convenient.

Editors notes: Atom is a start-up bank, not yet launched, but authorized with restrictions by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the PRA.

Founded over a year ago and based in the City of Durham, Atom has a growing team of 160 people drawn from across the country, working with partners to bring pioneering technology to Europe. Atom is building the UK’s first bank designed specifically for digital, offering easy and convenient banking, along with unique and engaging ways to manage money.

The Atom executive team is highly experienced, having built and run some of the most well-respected banks in the UK. CEO Mark Mullen has 25 years experience in the sector and was previously CEO at the multi-award winning telephone and internet bank first direct.

The team is supported by a strong non-exec board, which includes founder and Chairman Anthony Thomson, also the founder and former Chairman at Metro Bank. He is Chairman of the Financial Services Forum, the UK’s leading membership organisation for senior FS industry executives and Chairman of the National Skills Academy for Financial Services, a national charity.

For more information visit Full details of the extent of our authorisation by the PRA can be found on the Financial Services Register.