There is a growing awareness that the money that we have saved in “big banks” is being used to fund some of the worst fossil fuel projects. JP Morgan Chase continues to be the worst funder of fossil fuels, providing $317 billion of fossil fuel financing since the 2015 Paris Agreement. In response to the awareness, a number of fossil fuel-free banks were created. We previously featured an Aspiration Bank review. Now we will provide a review of one of the newcomers, Atmos Bank. Read on for our Atmos Bank review.
- Deposited funds are used for sustainable projects.
- A savings interest rate of up to 0.8% is offered.
- Cashback rates as high as 5% are provided for debit card use.
- Impact in carbon reductions is provided.
- No fees are charged and no minimum balance is required.
- Multiple savings account can be opened to help meet financial goals.
- Website and mobile app are easy to use.
- Donations to a select group of non-profit organizations are required to achieve an interest rate of 0.8%. The rate is otherwise 0.4%.
- 0% cashback rate is offered when purchases are made at companies not on the specified list.
- Website FAQ list is still limited.
- Mixed results were had with customer service.
- Maximum check value that can be deposited through the mobile app is lower ($1,000) than many other banks.
Atmos was launched in 2021 by two founders passionate about climate change. Like many of the new high interest online banks, Atmos is not a bank in the traditional sense. Atmos transfers deposited funds to Evolve Bank & Trust, an FDIC-insured institution. Evolve then invests in renewable energy projects. In the future, Atmos plans to directly lend to sustainable projects.
Use of Funds
Atmos pledges to only lend to sectors that help to rapidly accelerate our transition towards a clean, fair, and transformed economy. Atmos will use deposited funds to invest in specified project types. These project types include:
- Renewable energy
- Regenerative agriculture
- Electric transportation
- Weather resilience
- Building electrification
- Energy efficiency overhauls.
Project types such as fossil fuel extraction, fast fashion, and industrial agriculture are excluded. For now, deposited funds are being lent to utility-scale solar projects.
It is worth recognizing that Atmos is pushing the definition of a “clean” bank. Several of Atmos’s competitors take the approach of excluding fossil fuels. Atmos goes beyond that by including only sustainable investments.
Atmos provides users with the impact, in tons of carbon reductions, of deposited funds. This is calculated based on the lending of funds to utility-scale solar projects.
Hopefully, as Atmos expands its lending to other project types, the impact calculations will take into consideration the carbon savings from all project types.
Atmos offers a base savings rate of 0.40%. This rate will be increased to 0.80% if customers elect to make monthly recurring donations to at least one of Atmos’s partner nonprofit organizations.
When compared to the 0.06% national average interest rate for savings accounts (November 2021), Atmos offers an attractive rate. The amount of donation required to achieve 0.8% is not specified.
Customers can get 2% – 5% cashback when using an Atmos debit card at certain sustainable businesses. The list includes, but is not limited to, sustainable businesses in sectors such as clean energy, electric vehicles, sustainable clothing & apparel, and food providers. Check the list to see which companies are included and if the cashback rate is 2% or 5%. Zero percent (0%) cashback is provided if purchases are made from the companies not on the list.
Fees & Minimum Balance
No fees are charged by Atmos. There is also no minimum balance.
Accounts held at Atmos are FDIC Insured up to $250,000. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is an independent agency created by Congress to maintain stability and public confidence in the nation’s financial system.
$250,000 is a lower amount than what many banks offer. However, the level is sufficiently high for the majority of Americans.
Multiple Savings Accounts
Customers can open up to six unique savings accounts to help meet financial goals. This is a unique offering that could be useful in helping to separate funds for different uses.
Website & Mobile Application
Applying on Atmos’s website for a new account was simple and a quick process. The website and mobile application (app) for Atmos are both easy to use. Both highlight total savings and checking amounts as well as impact. Atmos has made it easy to find your total cashback value and your interest rate. Other banks make these values difficult to find so transparency is appreciated.
Checks can be deposited via the mobile app. The maximum value of check that can be deposited is $1,000. We hope that this amount increases to be on par with other banks.
Atmos offers customer service support Monday – Saturday from 8AM – 6PM, PST.
Our experience with customer service was mixed. We had limited success using the chat option. However, follow up emails were quickly received. We tried to call during opening hours but received no reply.
The FAQs that are available are focused mainly on the company details. Over time, it is expected that there will be additional questions and answers focused on customer activities.
Link To Join
To get started with a free $10, join using this link.