Wednesday, January 22, 2014

T-Mobile goes 'Unbank' with new Mobile Money service

T-Mobile USA's seemingly never-ending moves that set it apart from other carriers continued on Wednesday. The company announced (press release via BGR) Mobile Money, a free checking account service available to anyone with a T-Mobile USA phone number.

Mobile Money is free, with an network of 42,000 ATMs, no monthly maintenance fees, no minimum balance, no replacement fee for lost or stolen cards. Basically, it's free, free, free, although you have to remember it's a checking account only, meaning no interest (although considering the interest rate you can get nowadays it's not that big a loss, right?).

Here's how it works:
  • A T-Mobile subscriber walks into a T-Mobile store and opens a Mobile Money checking account with an initial deposit. T-Mobile gives you a prepaid Visa card, although you will eventually get a personalized debit / ATM card.
  • Cash deposits can be made at T-Mobile stores; checks can be deposited through the T-Mobile Mobile Money app by taking a picture; the app is available for both iOS and Android.
  • Fee-free withdrawals can be made from a network of 42,000 ATMs that you can find using the app. There is also a network of international ATMs that you can use fee-free.
  • Money transfers can be made directly, via the app, to other Mobile Money users, as long as you have the recipient's T-Mobile USA phone number and the last four digits of his or her debit card.
  • You pay your bills electronically using the app or T-Mobile USA's website.
  • If necessary, you can even have T-Mobile USA send out a hard copy check.
John Legere, president and chief executive officer of T-Mobile USA said:
We’ve already transformed how Americans use and pay for phones, tablets and wireless service; why stop there? Millions of Americans pay outrageous fees to check cashers, payday lenders and other predatory businesses – just for the right to use their own money. Mobile Money shifts the balance of power for T-Mobile customers and keeps more money in their pockets.
Mike Sievert, chief marketing officer for T-Mobile added,
It’s ridiculous that families, especially those who can least afford it, have to pay so much for basic check cashing services that many of us take for granted. Mobile Money levels the playing field to put money back in consumers’ pockets for important things –- like bills, groceries or vacations. The typical household using a check casher to cash their paychecks could save about $1,500 per year, and customers tired of getting hit with overdraft fees can switch and save an average of $225 a year.
Registration for personalized T-Mobile Visa Prepaid Card began on Wednesday at Cards at also available at participating T-Mobile retail locations and starting in February, will be available in U.S. Safeway stores.

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