Forget the wireless industry, T-Mobile launches new attack on banking

T-Mobile Checking Account

Not content with shaking up just one massive industry, the Uncarrier has set its sights on another: banking. T-Mobile on Wednesday announced a new program called Mobile Money that provides the company’s wireless subscribers with checking accounts that offer free activation, monthly maintenance and ATM withdrawals at any of the carrier’s 42,000 in-network partner ATMs. There is also no fee for replacing lost or stolen cards and no minimum balances required.

The move closely follows T-Mobile’s “Uncarrier 4.0″ initiative, which offers to pay families who break their contracts with rival carriers and switch to T-Mobile.

“We’ve already transformed how Americans use and pay for phones, tablets and wireless service; why stop there?” T-Mobile CEO John Legere said. “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.”

T-Mobile’s full press release follows below.

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 purchases. 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.

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