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The Atom Bank in U.K. is challenging the traditional banking model by the app-only banking.

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The Atom Bank’s mobile-only platform is distinctly different than what most people think of when they think of banks. Instead of adding mobile channels on top of legacy systems, this bank launched earlier this year in the U.K. with a device-only approach. No branches. Not even web-banking tools. Just an app.

“We believe that this segment of customers is completely underserved worldwide,” says Stewart Bromley, Atom’s Chief Operating Officer. “Other banks offer mobile as a channel, but will often push customers to more traditional channels. With Atom, everything happens in the app."

As a matter of fact, there’s a large market for app-only banking services that’s growing every day. Bromley cites research it conducted two years ago that found that 9 million people in the U.K. were interested in only banking digitally. Based on the growth of the segment and response to user testing, the number is certainly higher now, he says. Echoing this sentiment, Javelin Strategy & Research forecasts that 81 percent of U.S. adults will be using mobile banking by 2020, using a mix of websites and apps.

The topic is a polarizing one, Bromley notes. In a survey of potential customers, 50 percent “absolutely love” the idea of app-only banking. The other 50 percent were apprehensive about the platform’s ease and speed, and of their ability to use it without doing something wrong. “Those most interested were between 25 and 40 years old, but it really is anyone who is comfortable with digital and understands what they want from a bank,” Bromley says.

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