T-Mobile gets into banking, wants to replace your checking account

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 Mobile Money

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.


    I can’t decide if this is a really smart move or a really dumb move. I guess time will tell.

  • Michael Thompson

    How about getting the “wireless carrier” thing down to the point where you have a good network and don’t require wacky gimmicks to get business?

  • Chris

    Interesting. I guess they are appealing to those low income families who switch over to T-Mobile because of the reduced monthly bills.

  • Touko

    Who in their right mind would ever trust a telco with their money?? Those are the only corporations even more sleazy than banks…

    • John

      You forgot Monsanto, the world’s kingpin of sleazy, with 4 of their lawyers placed on the U.S. supreme court…

    • epinoa

      This has it’s roots in MPesa in Africa which as pretty much wiped out the retail banking industry in several countries.