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T-Mobile wants to be your Un-bank, launches Mobile Money: free checking account and more
T-Mobile is shaking up the wireless industry in the US with its Un-carrier initiative, but the next target may be even more ambitious. The carrier just announced Mobile Money, a financial service that combines a no-fee checking account, a Visa debit card, and a mobile application, offering free basic money management services to T-Mobile customers.
Mobile Money is targeted at the approximately 70 million Americans that either lack a bank account or often use payday-loans, cash checking services, and other forms of money management services that T-Mobile’s CEO John Legere calls “predatory services”.
The service offers a regular checking account with zero fees for operations like depositing paychecks, cashing checks, paying bills and groceries, and withdrawing cash from network ATMs. Users will be able to withdraw money from over 42,000 ATMs in the US, using a Visa card issued by Bancorp for free. Outside this ATM network, normal withdrawal charges apply.
Using the Mobile Money apps for Android or iOS, users will be able to cash checks by simply snapping them with the phone’s camera, pay bills, or send money to other people using their phone numbers and last four digits of their debit card number.
You can sign up for the service online or from one of T-Mobile’s 3,000 retail locations starting today, while Safeway stores will begin to offer Mobile Money starting in February. Most of the fees for the service are zero for T-Mobile customers, while non-customers will have to pay some fees. Even T-Mo customers will have to pay fees for special services like immediate release of check deposits funds or same-day bill payment.
While it may be strange to think of T-Mobile as your next bank – or is it un-bank?, the carrier has experience in managing loans and administering individual accounts. After all, interest-free device financing is a form of loan. With that said, for most customers, T-Mobile’s Mobile Money will never replace regular bank services.
All things told, this seems a great strategic move from T-Mobile, adding value to customers and increasing the incentives to stick around year after year.
Mobile Money by T-Mobile
Un-carrier brings its revolution to personal finance with Mobile Money by T-Mobile
BELLEVUE, Wash. — Jan. 22, 2014 — Not content with upending just one industry, T-Mobile US, Inc. (NYSE: TMUS) today announced the company is extending its Un-carrier consumer movement to personal finance – transforming smartphones into personal money managers that can free people from excessive fees they often pay to use their own money.
The company calls this next phase of its consumer revolution Mobile Money by T-Mobile®.
“We’ve already transformed how Americans use and pay for phones, tablets and wireless service; why stop there?” said John Legere, president and chief executive officer of T-Mobile. “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.”
ATM, overdraft and monthly maintenance fees all hit record highs last year, according to Bankrate’s 2013 Checking Survey. Mobile Money helps counter that trend with the combination of a simple, smartphone money management application designed for use with a re-loadable T-Mobile Visa® Prepaid Card that offers many reduced fee or $0 cost services for registered T-Mobile wireless customers.
With Mobile Money, registered T-Mobile wireless customers pay $0 for things they do every day. No charge for activation, monthly maintenance, in-network ATM withdrawals, or for replacing lost or stolen cards. No minimum balances required. No more worrying about overdraft fees. And no unnecessary trips to the bank or a check casher[i].
At the same time, Mobile Money lets customers do most everything they would otherwise do with traditional checking accounts, includingdirect depositing paychecks, depositing checks from capable smartphone cameras, making retail purchases, paying bills and withdrawing cash from more than 42,000 in-network ATMs nationwide with no ATM fees[ii]. Mobile Money can also be a powerful tool for families seeking a better way to budget or to provide money to kids away at college. Consumers get all of this plus the ease of managing money any time and from virtually anywhere.
T-Mobile isn’t new to the personal finance arena. With its ground-breaking approach to separating the costs of wireless services and devices, T-Mobile gives customers the option of financing smartphone purchase. To date, T-Mobile has facilitated billions of dollars in loans for customer phones, all without charging a penny in interest.
Mobile Money builds on T-Mobile’s financing experience to provide a sensible and affordable alternative to checking fees for the roughly 68 million U.S. adults who do not have traditional accounts and have to rely on alternative financial services[iii].
“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,” said Mike Sievert, chief marketing officer for T-Mobile. “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[iv].”
Starting today, individuals can register for their personalized T-Mobile Visa Prepaid Card at https://t-mobilemoneyservices.com/. Cards will also be available in participating T-Mobile retail locations and beginning in February will be available in Safeway stores in the United States.
For more information, please visit: http://www.t-mobile.com/landing/moneyservices.html.
The card is issued by The Bancorp Bank, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Bancorp, Inc. (Nasdaq: TBBK), pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc and may be used everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted. The Bancorp Bank; Member FDIC. Distributed and serviced by Blackhawk Network California, Inc.
About T-Mobile US, Inc.:
As America’s Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc. (NYSE: “TMUS”) is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The company’s advanced nationwide 4G and expanding 4G LTE network delivers outstanding wireless experiences for customers who are unwilling to compromise on quality and value. Based in Bellevue, Wash., T-Mobile US provides services through its subsidiaries and operates its flagship brands, T-Mobile and MetroPCS. It currently serves approximately 46.7 million wireless subscribers and provides products and services through 70,000 points of distribution. For more information, please visit http://www.t-mobile.com.