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Atom, the mobile bank that will recognize your voice and face

The UK start-up will use biometrics to run a check on customer identities

Atom has drawn the attention of ‘fintechs’ yet again with the announcement that it will be using face and voice recognition systems as its main procedure for authenticating user identities.

The start-up, the UK’s first mobile-only bank which will be up and running by the beginning of 2016, explained it also wanted to make a difference in terms of systems providing access to financial services. Atom is introducing biometrics-based formulae, which it considers better suited to mobile devices and more secure than standardized systems of passwords and codes.

The company claims frequent Internet users have an average of 19 passcodes, but that 1 out of every 3 passcodes are not secure enough. Atom’s idea is to combine facial recognition, passcodes and voice recognition to enable its customers to carry out any kind of operation online or on their mobiles, with no limitations.

This means that Atom customers can access their accounts by simply showing their faces to the tablet or mobile camera; or just saying a few words to make a transfer. The start-up is also working on making fingerprints part of its authentication procedures.

BBVA holds a 29.5% stake in Atom, one of the most promising ‘fintech’ start-ups. KPMG ranks it 8th among the world’s 100 major fintechs.

“When Atom users have registered their identity credentials (face, voice and passcode), they can choose how to access their accounts via the app. And, if they are making an unusual transaction or a transaction for a very large amount, they can specify additional security checks if they wish”, says Edward Twiddy, Atom’s Chief Innovation Officer.

Atom sought out partners with tried and tested technology in this area to build its biometric systems. Daon supplies its main platform, known as IdentifyX, the same system employed by US Banks USAA, a pioneer in the use of biometrics in the finance industry.

Four out of five customers prefer biometric systems to the traditional PIN number or passcode.

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