We’re excited to announce a new partnership with Atmos Financial!
Here’s the way most banks work: They take your deposits and use that money to invest. Those investments generate a financial return. That financial return then covers the operating cost of the bank and is what enables them to provide you (typically measly) interest rates. So said another way, your deposits (what’s in your savings and checking accounts) is not just sitting there in a vault somewhere. Instead, that capital is being used to generate a financial return for the banks and their shareholders (and, if you’re lucky, maybe you).
Here’s the catch though. These banks are investing in both good stuff and in bad stuff. In the good stuff column, they’re often lending to renewable energy projects like solar and wind, large infrastructure projects like ports and airports, and commercial credit like the construction of a new housing development. But there’s also a bad stuff column. For example, since 2015 (when the Paris Agreement was signed), the top-5 global banks have invested over $1 trillion in fossil fuels (tar sands oil, new coal plants, etc.). Yes, you read that correctly – your personal savings are being used to invest in stuff that is bad for the planet. Obviously it’s not all bad, but it’s not all good.
Enter Atmos Financial. They’re part of a new breed of neobank* that wants to align customers’ deposits with their values. Atmos is focused on climate change, so they use your deposits only for climate-positive investments. Instead of using your money for both good and bad stuff, they just do the good stuff: clean energy and projects that fight global warming.
Plus, since they’re not burdened with the legacy of old systems and processes, they use software to deliver a better customer experience at a lower cost. What does this mean? They can pay you a higher savings rate. They can charge lower fees. And what we’re most excited about, they pay you cash back on climate-aligned brands. Starting today, you can get 2% cash-back when you use your Atmos account to pay for your Elephant Energy membership.
As part of this partnership, we took their services for a spin. Here’s what we found:
Setting up a new account was a breeze. It uses the latest/greatest customer sign-up flow and took less than 5 minutes.
I was able to transfer money into my savings account using Plaid (a very trustworthy partner) – so I felt good about my money being in good hands.
Once I had a savings account, I was able to open a checking account in literally 1 minute.
I was able to transfer money from my savings account to my checking account in 1 minute. With a funded checking account, I got a virtual debit card instantly, which meant I could use the card that minute to make purchases. Compare that with the process of getting a new card from Wells Fargo – it literally takes days.
The user interface is clean, simple, and transparent. It’s honestly a breath of fresh air compared with the clunky user interfaces I have with Wells Fargo and Chase.
Take their FDIC-insured accounts for a ride and let us know what you think!
*What’s a neobank? Neobanks are 100% insured by the FDIC but don’t have their own banking charter. Instead, they ‘borrow’ other banks’ charters to be able to provide you with banking services. As a user, it (so far) is functionally the same.