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Apparently not content with only putting rival carriers on notice, T-Mobile US is now setting its sights on the banking industry with the introduction of a new smartphone-based checking account service.
T-Mobile US announced Wednesday the debut of Mobile Money by T-Mobile, a mostly fee-free bank account powered by a prepaid Visa debit card and a companion smartphone app that allows users to deposit checks from anywhere.
Like competing services such as Simple, GoBank and Bluebird, the concept behind Mobile Money by T-Mobile is to eliminate what CEO John Legere calls "outrageous fees" many customers pay to check cashing or payday loan services -- but also to banks, which frequently charge monthly maintenance, ATM and overdraft fees.
“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. “Mobile Money shifts the balance of power for T-Mobile customers and keeps more money in their pockets.”
Registered T-Mobile wireless customers will benefit most from Mobile Money, with no activation charges, no monthly maintenance or in-network ATM fees at more than 42,000 locations nationwide. Cards can be reloaded fee-free at any T-Mobile retail store, and Mobile Money requires no minimum balance, charges nothing for overdrafts or replacing cards that have been lost or stolen.
All of this is managed from the free Mobile Money smartphone app for iPhone and Android, which can be used to set up direct deposits or even deposit checks to an account just by snapping a photo.
Online registration for Mobile Money by T-Mobile is now available from the company's website, with Visa prepaid cards also available in retail stores; starter kits will also be available in Safeway locations early next month, with other retail partners to come.
Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter