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Atom Bank savers alarmed by messaging blunder - what you need to know

Atom Bank has mistakenly sent notifications to many of its customers, one of which warned an "external account" had been connected to savers' accounts and prompted widespread alarm. The bank temporarily restricted access to its app to stop more notifications going out, but says it's NOT been hacked and customers' money is safe. It adds that the issue is now fixed – we've full details below.

Savers using the app-only bank reported receiving the messages late on Friday afternoon (21 May). Many then found they were unable to log in to the app or call anyone at the bank, with some saying they'd been on hold on the phone for over an hour. On Friday evening, we saw over 50 tweets from concerned customers, such as the following:

What Atom Bank says has happened

We've spoken to Atom to find out what's happening, and this is what it told us:

  • Atom says it HASN'T been hacked and the messages aren't a scam. Many had feared this could be the case, but Atom says it's simply a technical error that's resulted in some customers being sent another copy of the last notification they received from the bank. 

  • Atom temporarily restricted access to its app, but says it's now back up and running. It told us it limited access on Friday 21 May to prevent more duplicate messages being sent, but it should have been back up and running as normal later that day.

  • Atom says you DON'T need to do anything. It adds that customers' money is safe and this was simply a mistake sending out notifications. 

  • Some customers will be paid £15 compensation for the disruption. Savers who received a notification from Atom on Friday telling them to contact the bank will get £15 automatically credited to their Atom savings account or to their linked account if their savings account has been closed. They were notified of this on Monday 24 May with payments to be made this week. Atom says it is to cover the stress caused by these notifications and then being unable to get through to customer services. It's unclear how many customers will get a payment. 

    But the £15 won't be paid to those who weren't told to get in touch. For example, some received notifications from Atom saying “your statement is available” but they weren't told to contact customer services. Of course, if you're unhappy about this - see below for how to complain. 

Atom Bank's chief customer officer, Edward Twiddy said: “This afternoon [Friday 21 May] we identified an issue with one of our systems which caused some notifications to be resent to a group of customers. This issue also caused the app to be down temporarily, but it’s now up and running and we have our engineers ensuring that the error doesn’t happen again. I want to reassure customers that their money and accounts are safe and apologise for the inconvenience.” featured Atom Bank in our weekly email this week as the provider is currently the top easy-access savings account payer at 0.5% AER interest. It also has the top savings account for those willing to lock their cash away for a year at 0.85%. See our Top Savings account guide for more info and other top picks. 

Unhappy? How to complain – and escalate it if needed

If you’re unhappy with the service you’ve received from Atom then you first need to complain directly to the bank itself. See Atom Bank’s website for full details on how to do so.

If you’re unhappy with the response you get from Atom or you don’t receive one, you can take your complaint to the free Financial Ombudsman Service. Normally, you need to wait eight weeks for a response but Atom Bank says complaints can be passed onto the Ombudsman if it doesn’t reply within 15 days. See more help in our Financial Ombudsman guide. 

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