Is Atom.Finance a scam?

Now that we are all home in quarantine, I have decided to take a moment to browse through some little known financial apps that I have downloaded on my phone or tablet. When I see an app that is being advertised, I tend to download it from the app store just to try it out for a few days, even if I don’t plan on keeping it. This is when I came across the Atom – Personal Finance App.

When I first came across Atom, I was impressed with the way the app was portrayed. It seemed modern, cool even. This app seemed to be on the up and coming, with new features being added constantly, and it seemed like a perfect candidate to do a review on from The Centennial Investor.

Now it has been a few weeks since I’ve been trying it out, and I want to give an honest and unbiased review of the entire platform just in case you are on the edge about becoming a user.

Let’s get right into it.

Atom – Personal Finance App

Background

Atom is a third party personal finance/portfolio analysis app that connects to primary brokerage accounts in order to give you a way to analyze all of your holdings in one place. It’s selling point is that it simplifies the analysis process for the user, supposedly adding for a more seamless feel when searching for financial information, looking for weak links in your portfolio, or just general knowledge regarding your investments.

The mission of the Atom Finance company is to democratize access to high-quality investing resources. It provides detailed company data (financials, consensus estimates, valuation metrics), SEC filings, transcripts, events, curated news and more to help investors make informed decisions.

With it being a fairly new platform (I found out about the site through an Instagram ad), I know many people would be quite skeptical with allowing this site access to their precious brokerage information. If you are one of those people, I am going to go in to my biggest advantages and disadvantages of the Atom Platform that will, hopefully, allow you to make a more informed decision or whether or not to sign up.

Advantages

Advantage #1: Overall Look and Feel

Atom Finance is a modern-style financial app. Once you open the website, either on desktop or mobile, you are immediately graced with a platform that looks like it could have come straight out of Apple, Inc. The simplicity, the dark theme, the way the information is laid out to you, everything about the general appearance of the site is remarkable.

One of the main things I want to point out when first coming across the site and connecting my brokerage information is that Atom.Finance does not make a huge deal about the value of your portfolio. It truly puts an emphasis on the information.

Here’s an example of my home screen pulled from Atom.

As you can see, the value of my total portfolio is not immediately present on the home screen. It is actually a very small bar on the top right. The majority of the page seems to push out the current news in different sectors and the performance of the major indices.

This may be good for some people. If you are downloading Atom in the first place then you probably are looking to do some analysis that go beyond stressing over your own portfolio, and then this may be good for you. For other, and most, people, I think that they would like to see their portfolio displayed more prominently on the home screen.

Advantage #2: Portfolio Statistics and Analysis Tools

Atom.Finance has statistics that Robinhood and WeBull can only dream of.

They have an array of analysis tools for your portfolio that are even over my own head at times, and I graduated with a Bachelors and a Master’s Degree in Finance.

A few of the analyses that they offer for your portfolio are Average Consensus P/E, Average Consensus Revenue Growth, Gross Exposure, Beta Adjusted Net Percentages, and many more.

The tools that are available to you are almost endless and all you have to do is connect your portfolio to have access to them all. You have the ability to see company financial statement from years back, which is definitely not available with most free brokerages these days.

Below is a screenshot pulled from the financials page on Atom:

Although, if I am being completely honest, I rarely take a look at these advanced statistics.

In terms of my personal portfolio, I’ll look to see what my largest industry holding is for my portfolio from time to time, but other than that I feel that most of the numbers are a tad bit confusing to look at.

I feel that if you are an experienced investor then you may want these numbers, and they are a great selling feature if you are. But I think that Atom should be selling more to the millennial generation, and most millennials don’t have much preference on having these numbers pushed into their faces. The option is great, I think Atom has other things that it should be working on the be better. For example, I would want to be able to analyze and buy stocks in the same platform, and Atom is just for analysis.

Advantage #3: Market Briefings 3x a Day

This is one of my favorite features of the Atom – Personal Finance App.

Atom provides a morning, evening, and afternoon briefing that summarizes all of the major events in the market at the time. This is perfect for someone who just has a few minutes, but want to stay up to date with changes in the economy.

I can read this briefing and be updated with all of the major market changes going on that day without having to search for individual articles that don’t consolidate it all, and this is a major advantage.

Even when I wasn’t using Atom as my primary portfolio analysis tool, I still enjoyed reading the briefing three times a day.

Advantage #4: Lastly, the platform has a lot of potential

I think that one of the biggest advantages of Atom is that it has a lot of potential to be much more than it is right now.

It reminds me of how Robinhood was when it was first launched years ago when it was a simple brokerage that was revolutionary in its own little way.

I believe that Atom is a few years ahead of its time, and will soon gain traction once it starts to remedy some of the uncomfortable spots that are associated with the platform at the moment.

Atom has the potential to change the way portfolio information is delivered to millions of Americans, from beginners to experts.

However, as of today, they just aren’t there yet. It is hard to my finger on what exactly they need, but the user interface just isn’t inviting enough for me to use it as an everyday app.


Now that we have run through our list of the biggest advantages of Atom, let’s go into the disadvantages.

Disadvantages

Disadvantage #1: No “live” Portfolio Update

This is one of the biggest drawbacks of the platform entirely.

I would think that an analysis platform that offers so much in-depth information could at least show me an up to the minute update of my portfolio. I understand that this may be difficult because they are indirectly connected to your portfolio, so for the update to occur, you would have to refresh the connection and the fresh information would need to be sent to Atom, but this just seems like a huge hassle to do constantly. I would want it to update on its own as I am looking at the screen.

Since, the portfolio refreshes periodically, it’s not as bad as you may think, it’s just not live updates. In an era where millennials want things immediately, I find this inconvenience will deter a lot of people from sticking with the app.

I think the platform would look so much more attractive if it could just update my portfolio in live speed.

Also, on the weekends and holiday, Atom doesn’t show updates for your portfolio either. I think that this should be fixed as it is one of the main features that a person looks for when discussing their portfolio, the current market value.

Disadvantage #2: Portfolio Not on the Home Screen

I know I talked about earlier how Atom puts an emphasis on the information, but I think that they put TOO much emphasis on the information and not enough on showing you what your portfolio is doing.

Once you enter into the “home screen”, you see a chart of 3 indices and a very small tab of your portfolio on the top right, and that is it as far as your portfolio goes.

You don’t even see a chart of it.

I think that you should at least be able to add your portfolio to the chart with the indices so that you can see how you’re doing in comparison with the major indices on the home screen.

(They do have this feature on the portfolio page, but you can only compare to one index at a time.)

Disadvantage #3: No Real-Time Scroll Feedback on Portfolio Values

This one goes for the Atom – Personal Finance mobile app.

When you try to drag your finger along the graph of the value of your portfolio, you don’t have the ability to see the exact value of your portfolio at certain points in time.

On the desktop app you are, but this is only for days at a time. The time period is really broad. With most people are on their phones, not having this as a mobile feature is a severe drawback of the app.

I think that this is an easy fix and I expect it to be an available feature soon, however, as of today it is still not possible.

Also, on the mobile chart, it is only presented in terms of percentages and not actual portfolio values. I wish that they would have this option, much like the Robinhood chart, available somewhere on the app.

Disadvantage #4: Limited Number of Available Brokerages Can Connect

I am someone who has multiple brokerage accounts and not all of them are available to be connected to Atom.

My largest account is with Charles Schwab and that one connected just fine. This account has index funds in it soley, so it doesn’t update until to asset value is calculated at the end of each trading day.

My other investment account is with WeBull.

Atom does not have an option to connect with the WeBull brokerage, so I never can have a full understanding of my portfolio statistics through Atom because they don’t incorporate all of my security holdings.

As before, I think that this problem will be remedied soon as it should be a fairly easy fix.


In Conclusion

I do believe that Atom has the potential to be a game changer in the portfolio analysis industry.

Everything from its modern theme to its in depth analysis tool, all being offered pretty much free of charge, has the chance to drive competitors like Yahoo Finance and Seeking Alpha looking to make a change.

I like it because it is the new kid on the block. Atom has a fresh perspective and wants to change the narrative.

It’ll be nice to see how well it does in the coming months and years.

The only advice that I would have for Atom is this:

  • Please incorporate a live portfolio update so I can see my market value in real time.
  • Add a one day tracking time frame so I can see more short term fluctuations.
  • Add more time frame in general as there are only two at the moment.
  • Put more emphasis on the users portfolio, rather than released information.
  • Continue being innovative.

If you want to join the Atom – Personal Finance App for yourself, use this link and you will get a pretty sweet surprise.


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Let me know what you think!