T-Mobile already beats to a different drum than most wireless carriers in the US, offering contract-free plans, unlimited international text and data, and an offer to pay your early-termination fee if you switch from another carrier.
Now the company is taking another unusual step… into the banking industry.
T-Mobile’s new Mobile Money service is basically an online checking account. Customers can deposit checks at an ATM or by snapping a photo with their smartphones, pay bills online, withdraw cash from 42,000 in-network ATMs across the US, or use a pre-paid Visa debit card to make purchases at stores.
You don’t need to be a T-Mobile wireless subscriber to use Mobile Money, but if you are then all service fees are waived — so I’m not sure why you’d bother setting up an account if you’re not already a T-Mobile customer.
While there’s no shortage of banks willing to hold onto your money for you, T-Mobile is hoping Mobile Money will appeal specifically to households that might not already have a bank, or who don’t keep much money in one.
The company’s press release points out that households that use check cashers can pay up to $1500 in fees per year, and folks with bank accounts that charge overdraft fees can pay up to $225 per year.