First Un-carrier, now Un-banker? T-Mobile unleashes Mobile Money

Mobile Money by T-Mobile
Taking a bite out of bank fees

The scrappy underdog of the US wireless market is taking a brief break from prodding rivals to revolutionize the way consumers handle their personal finance - and hopefully save them money in the process.

T-Mobile has announced Mobile Money, a service that combines a pre-paid Visa debit card with an iPhone or Android app, to offer consumers a break from bank fees.

With Mobile Money, consumers will have a virtual bank account that allows them to deposit checks using their smartphone camera, directly deposit paychecks, pay bills and make purchases wherever Visa cards are accepted. Those who sign-up won't be subject to activation, overdraft, monthly maintenance or withdrawal fees, and there's no charge for withdrawing from in-network ATMs.

Mobile Money isn't exclusive to T-Mobile customers, but the company's wireless subscribers benefit most with fee-free card reloads at any of the carrier's 3,000-plus retail stores.

Goodbye, wicked fees!

T-Mobile may seem a little off-kilter for going down this path, but the carrier lobbed some stats that may convince customers to give T-Mobile, The Bank a try.

According to a recent survey conducted by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and cited by T-Mobile, upwards of 68 million US adult don't have a traditional bank account, instead relying on payday lenders or check cashing services.

Such options usually mean a bite out of the consumer's wallet, but according to T-Mobile, the banking industry as a whole isn't much better. In 2013, the industry reportedly racked in a record high amount of ATM, overdraft and monthly maintenance fees.

"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," said John Legere, T-Mobile CEO, in a press release.

Interested consumers can sign up now for Mobile Money online or at head to local T-Mobile retail store to get their the Visa prepaid card. It will also be available in Safeway stores starting next month.

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