T-Mobile on Wednesday continued to push the boundaries of what defines a mobile carrier by announcing Mobile Money, a new personal finance service that lets customers store and manage their money with the Seattle-based company.
Customers who sign up for Mobile Money are essentially getting a traditional checking account.
Customers can have money deposited directly to their Mobile Money account or deposit checks by taking a picture with their smartphone.
Mobile Money customers also get a Visa debit card that they can use to make purchases, pay bills or withdraw cash from a network of 42,000 ATMs scattered throughout the nation. The ATMs can be found using a mobile app that can also be used to manage customers' money.
One of the advantages of Mobile Money is that the service does not have many of the fees that come with traditional checking accounts, the company said.
T-Mobile said there are no charges for activation, monthly maintenance, in-network ATM withdrawals, minimum balances or for replacing lost or stolen cards. The company also said there are no overdraft 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," T-Mobile Chief Executive John Legere said in a statement. "Mobile Money shifts the balance of power for T-Mobile customers and keeps more money in their pockets.”
The company said anyone, not just T-Mobile customers, can sign up for Mobile Money. Those interested in the service can go online or to participating T-Mobile retail store.
[Updated, 9:53 p.m. PST Jan. 22: T-Mobile is working with The Bancorp Bank to provide the service. T-Mobile said the funds in Mobile Money accounts will be federally insured.]