Fintech Challenger Latest; Atom Bank Up (by £83m), Monzo Bank Down?

Startup founders could learn a lot from Monzo founder Tom Blomfield’s reaction to a “technical hiccup” which occurred on Sunday, which meant Monzo card holders were unable to use their cash cards.

Instead of sticking his head in the sand and hoping no-one had noticed, Blomfield ensured Monzo sent an update to every one of its users’ apps informing them of what was happening, and provided hourly status updates until the problem was resolved.

Neat. It looks like the challenger bank will be dropping its third-party provider, too, Global Processing Services, based in Dubai, who its rumoured were the ones responsible for the outage.

Instead of waking up to negative headlines, Monzo turned a technical glitch into a PR coup, thanks to a sympathetic tech press, and super-fast response times.

Still, in the battle to become Britain’s premier thrusting Fintech alternative bank, Monzo, Starling, Revolut, Curve (who all suffered similar technical problems on Sunday) et al have been forced to take a back seat this week, as Atom Bank, the only “major” challenger bank to be based outside of London, just announced an £83m pound raise.

That brings the Durham based company’s total funding to $268.14m which puts it way out in front on the fundraising leader board at least, ahead of Tandem ($77.8m), Starling ($70m), and Monzo ($45.05m).

This latest round values Atom Bank at $320m, and it was led by existing backer Spanish bank BBVA – a bank leading an investment round into a bank that wants to disrupt it? Hmmm.

Still, Atom Bank say their services are marketed at millennials, i.e. those between 18 and 34, and as well as offering sexy mobile apps for Android and iPhone, it also offers mortgages, fixed saver accounts and secured loans.

Somewhat awesomely, it is also rumoured that Atom Bank are on the verge of offering musician WillIam, formerly of the Black-Eyed Peas, a role as a consultant and board advisor.

Surely time for one of the other Challenger banks to offer Fergie a seat on their board?

It’s also rumoured that Atom Bank only has around 14k users, so we guess they must be planning to spend some of the war chest on a wide-ranging marketing pitch at some stage.

It’s still all up for grabs for all the UK’s challenger banks, although it does feel slightly bizarre watching them battle for supremacy, backed as most of them are by the High-Street Banks they are trying to best.

Still, it’s not all about the money – only in the case of Fintech challenger banks, it kind of is, we guess.

All together now: “Tonight’s the night, let’s live it up, I got my money, let’s spend it up, let’s do it, let’s do it, let’s do it, let’s do it, and do it and do it, let’s live it up!

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