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T-Mobile Expands Into Banking With Mobile Money Checking Service

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T-Mobile wants to save your money. Yes, you read that right. Today, the wireless “un-carrier” unveiled a checking account service available to all T-Mobile customers called Mobile Money. The company is billing the program as a fee-free alternative to traditional banking.

Mobile Money functions kind of like online-only banks Simple and Ally. It has an app for iOS and Android through which to to deposit checks and manage funds, and comes with a prepaid Visa card for brick-and-mortar transactions (a debit card is in the works). The checking account does come with conveniences few can match, however, like the ability to deposit money at T-Mobile stores, transfer money to a T-Mobile customer using their phone number, and withdraw cash from a network of 42,000 AllPoint ATMs nationwide.

Considering many of T-Mobile’s Uncarrier initiatives have centered around saving money, it should come as little surprise that the carrier wants to remove a degree of separation and help manage your dollars directly. That’s something other carriers have tried without much success, but perhaps Mobile Money’s simplicity, low cost of entry, and user-friendliness will help the service appeal to a wide range of consumers.

T-Mobile Frees Consumers From Outrageous Check Cashing Fees With Innovative New Smartphone Solution

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, including direct 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 visithttp://www.t-mobile.com.

  • Droid 1967

    This is a good idea and will bring in funds needed to upgrade. Im hoping this means rumors of merge with sprint are false.

  • jmsbwmn

    T-Mobile will be getting my family’s business next month. This whole banking deal isn’t appealing to me, but I am very pleased with how they are disrupting the mobile industry, especially the offer to pay our ETF when we switch.

  • Cesar

    I’m considering switching to T-Mo from Verizon. Anyone know if their ETF payment thing applies to individuals as well as families? I’m currently on my family’s plan(paying $40 a month for my line on a stupid Share Everything plan, but I’d rather just pay the extra $20 for unlimited everything), but I think I’m the only one who wants to switch to T-Mo.

    • taron19119

      Yes I do

  • enigmaco

    Really makes me wonder about the sprint merger, they are having great success why the hell would they want to shoot themselves in the foot by joining up with sprint?

    • http://volumeboy-man.bandcamp.com/ VBM

      I really hope that merger doesn’t happen.

      • enigmaco

        Same here I had sprint I know how bad the service is, that is the last thing they need saw what happened with nextel.

        • http://volumeboy-man.bandcamp.com/ VBM

          Yeah I had Sprint a few years ago too. When I go stationed in England, I told them to freeze my account and they said “ok”… 2 months later my mom in the States calls me saying I’ve got a $300 bill from Sprint! I call them and the issue gets resolved down to $100. A month after that I go to Iraq, but before I left I called Sprint and asked “hey is my damn account on hold or what? I’m gonna be in Iraq for little bit.” Their reply: “yes.” 4 month in tour I talk to my mom… “you’ve got a bill from Sprint: $350.” I call Sprint. “WTF?! My account should be frozen.” Their reply: “no. it’s still active. Me: “Terminate my account. Now” Sprint: “It’s going to cost $250 though.” Me: “ok”

          I hate Sprint.

          • enigmaco

            Thank you for serving by the way yeah sprint is horrible. I was done with my contract by 3 months and I was getting tired of the problems and poor reception so I called in and cancelled. They tried to tell me that if I cancelled they were going to charge me a ETF. Now how the hell are you charging me a ETF when I never changed anything with my billing, and never upgraded my phone. My contract is done therefore met my obligation never again.

          • Higher_Ground

            yeah could just be coincidence, but my gf’s father has had multilple issues with identity theft and sprint. People were buying like 10 phones/lines at once with his info, and Sprint/Nextel kept sending him the bill anyway. Needless to say they’re all on AT&T now.

  • done

    they already do this in africa…what took them so long?

  • J Dub

    I feel like T-Mobile is embracing the low budget brand. They are taking a page out of Wal-Mart’s book. Embrace that your main demographic is of lower budget. This is probably very appealing to a lot of folks in that demographic.

  • Jeremy Martin

    This is a bold but potentially dangerous attitude TMobile has. I say this because they are doing a great job getting their name out there and making people love them. Without the network to back it up they risk having disenfranchised customers once they realize how little coverage T-Mobile has right now compared to Verizon and AT&T (assuming thats who they switch from). I feel like T-Mobile wants to grow their network but obviously need the money to do it. What better way than to get a ton of customers and use that new money to build out. I just hope it doesn’t backfire on them.

  • NexusMan

    Shouldn’t they get the mobile phone service thing down before branching off into banking?

    • hoosiercub88

      *imagine a T-Mobile board room meeting type setting*

      John: Hey guys, I’ve got this ridiculously great idea, let’s start banking!

      Board Member: What do you mean John? We’re a wireless service provider.

      John: Yes, but we need to be the un-carrier, make ourselves resemble a cell phone service provider the least bit possible.

      Board Member: Don’t we already do that by ignoring millions of customers who’re stuck on our EDGE/GPRS network?

      John: *see image*

      • hoosiercub88

        Hate on haters, the fact is, T-Mobile doesn’t care about you if you don’t live in a Metro area. They just want their pops for their whole ad campaign.

        That’s the reason they will never be equivalent to the bigger two.

        • NexusMan

          Exactly. I’m glad someone else sees that “UNcarrier” is not a good thing.

          • hoosiercub88

            It’s not a bad thing honestly, if their network wasn’t such a joke, I’d be all about them. The sad fact of life is though, they don’t care… they don’t intend on making their network compete with Verizon’s or even AT&T’s except in larger metropolitan areas.

          • Philip J. Fry

            Give em time man…….it seems like they are finally trying to care more about their customers, so maybe when they can get more customers, they can start beafing up there towers. I hope so anyway, because soon as they do, I’m switching.

          • timrcm

            You’ll be waiting for quite awhile, I’m afraid. John has mentioned several times (look it up on youtube or something) that they have no intentions of trying to get coverage everywhere like Verizon. I think he mentioned something along the lines of it being impressive that Verizon has coverage in the vast empty dust bowl, but that it isn’t their market.

            That’s not acceptable to me. I used them with a Galaxy Nexus for over 6 months and couldn’t take it anymore. Sure, it worked great at home and at work since I live in the city, but any time I’d go out of town even by a few miles it’d drop to absolute crap. Family outing? No signal. Mall at the edge of town? EDGE coverage to match. Short roadtrip to the next town over? Nope, no music streaming for you, a 30 mile wide deadzone is all you have to look forward to. Which is scary, because how the hell would I call for help if I have no signal for 30 miles in any direction and my car breaks down?

            I’m happy for people that it works out for, but I have a feeling a lot of people that switch will end up just like I did. I tried my damn best to make it work. WiFi calling apps, ignoring the bad coverage… but it got to me, and I ended up back at Verizon. Straight Talk using AT&T was WORLDS better, but it still wasn’t good enough.

          • yankeesusa

            How is this not a good thing? Even if tmobile flops it has forced others like att and verizon to make certain changes. Although all the changes verizon does still screw the customer over it is still affecting the entire mobile playing field. Just look at att and their next plan adjustment and sprints new framily plan and easy pay. These would not be there if it wasn’t for tmobile uncarrier.
            All I know is that tmobile finally works in my area and I tested them for 2 months and on the 3rd month I dropped sprint like a bad habit and I couldn’t be happier. Yes, if they fail in the next year or so I will just switch to att but for now Im getting great data speeds and saving over $25 on my monthly bill.

          • hoosiercub88

            That’s great that you’ve lucked into good coverage this is a hard sale though..

          • hoosiercub88

            Over this…

          • yankeesusa

            Like it’s been said before. Verizon has been doing great with coverage. They are able to do this because they have several businesses like landline and fios not to mention they charge an arm and a leg to their customers. That is why if you don’t travel for business and have good T-Mobile coverage then it’s a no brainer.

          • spacespeed

            And most of that coverage is… in the middle of nowhere. I don’t think I’ll be there anytime soon, so I’ll stay with T-Mobile, thanks.

            (Oh: also, if Verizon/AT&T actually provided fiber transit at a fair price in these areas, I’d suspect you’d see a lot more coverage…)

          • yankeesusa

            With everything that’s happened in the past it can seem like a hard sell. But I guess we’ll see in the next 8 months to a year what transpires. I’m rooting for T-Mobile to get out of debt and become a real competitor. It will help everyone in the long run. Not just T-Mobile customers.

  • Diablo81588

    I fail to see the point in this. Most banks have deals with AllPoint so that benefit is nothing special. Other than that, just a Tmobile branded bank?

    • michael arazan

      10-1 they make money on the interest that everybody deposits into their accounts. That’s what PayPal does, and why people can not get out their larger sums of money in the thousands. A lot of complaints about it and PayPal delaying transactions from a week to a month because they keep the interest people put into PayPal accounts. I’m curious to where the money goes when deposited into T-Mo accounts and if they do the same.

      • picaso86

        If they can manage to bring a similar service like PayPal, I would “jump” on this right away.

        • josephraphaelhill.

          I see what you did there.

      • Cowboydroid

        It’s also an enormous source of new revenue, considering commercial banks can leverage anywhere from 90 to 100% of deposits.

      • Higher_Ground

        yeah I don’t see them lending it out like a traditional bank, so maybe they are using it to add a little more cash for infrastructure. I wonder if there’s a minimum account balance, for this exact reason.

  • MK17

    Not seeing this as being all that useful, but I guess it’s a good step and good for those who’s income may not be all that steady. Though I usually don’t like to keep my money with someone who takes it. Same principal reason why I always remove and Paypal credit as soon as I receive it. I don’t want them deciding that my money is now theirs and take it. The bank gives me a balance of power.

    • hoosiercub88

      I lost it at “The bank gives me a balance of power.”

      It’s hilarious if you think banks don’t take your money too, they do, and gladly.

      • Adrynalyne

        Thats what he said in the rest of his reply.

        Gotta read more than the last sentence. I think he meant to say something else.

  • Joel Hurst

    Interesting. Bancorp Bank are the same folks behind Simple. I’ve used Simple for a while now and love it.

  • Cory_S

    I dont see the value in this for the customer. Should make collect past due bills easier for T-Mobile though.

  • John Legere

    Too bad i just got my Google wallet card.

    • Ray Gray

      Yeah but there is no way to load money on the Google wallet card unless you have another bank account. Me and my brother use it to send money back in forth but other then that it’s useless

      • John Legere

        I use a credit union. No fees, no bs. Easy peasy.

  • Spencer Walker

    I get great tmobe service but many I know don’t its the only thing holding them back. Without spending tens if billions I wonder how long until this wears off for them

  • mikes

    They can’t even get my bill right and they want me to let them handle my money also..

  • master94

    Well that is really living it up to the uncarrier idea, so much in fact it has nothing to do with cellphones or related tech. Very cool

    • Kyle

      Hey there is mention of an app which is cellphone / tech related :P

      • master94

        Touche.

  • Philip J. Fry

    TMO is on a roll! If they can keep up this business attitude, they will hopefully gain a lot more customers which in turn will help them build more towers which we all know they need. With that said, I love these early morning post. Thanks kyle!

  • Omar Amer

    even for t-mobile this is a huge leap(and a risk) to do. bit of a stretch to consider it “un-carrier” though.