Mobile Money by T-Mobile

T-Mobile is doing a lot of unconventional things for the mobile industry, and now it's branching out to banking as well. The carrier has announced a new service called Mobile Money that works like any number of other online banks. You set up the account, deposit your checks through an app, and use a Visa debit card to spend. As for the fees, most of them are waived for T-Mobile customers.

2014-01-22 00_12_17-T-Mobile Visa Prepaid Card _ Reloadable Visa Debit Card

A T-Mobile Mobile Money app is already live in Google Play that can be used to deposit checks for free via the camera. You can also deposit checks in a T-Mobile store and pay no fees. It's similar to some stripped down online banks in that you don't get a checkbook, but T-Mobile can cut a check and mail it if necessary. The debit card can also be used to withdraw cash with no fees at 42,000 ATMs in the US (probably the Allpoint network). It should be noted T-Mobile itself is not the FDIC-insured bank in this setup – the endeavor is backed by The Bancorp Bank.

The company specifically called out check cashing services and payday lenders as predatory businesses that take advantage of people who just want access to their money. That's who this service seems to be aimed at – those who would not otherwise have a bank account.

i r g

There are no minimum balances, but only T-Mobile wireless customers get the fees waived – non-customers will pay a few bucks in maintenance and transaction fees. You can check out the fine print at the official site below.

[T-Mobile, Press Release]

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play. http://goo.gl/WQIXBM

  • imneveral0ne

    Does this apply to someone who is on say the $70 a month unlimited pre-paid plan who brought their own phone?

    • http://mrmcpowned.com mrmcpowned

      So long as you have a T-Mobile phone number, you should be eligible.

  • http://mrmcpowned.com mrmcpowned

    This is just the same as Simple, only with a T-Mobile white label and considerably more restrictions when you take into account that anyone can have a Simple account, as well as have the same fees waived. I for one prefer Simple, considering at least they know how to build an appealing Android app.

    • http://pharaohtechblog.blogspot.com/ Conan Kudo (ニール・ゴンパ)

      Except Simple is invite-only and T-Mobile is not.

      • http://mrmcpowned.com mrmcpowned

        Simple still works out better for nonnoon T-Mobile customers.

        • NinoBr0wn

          For what T-Mobile customers?

    • Double speak

      Not true. It's based on credit or lack of. It's not that 'simple'.

      • http://mrmcpowned.com mrmcpowned

        Where does it say that Simple is based on credit?

    • mgamerz

      Yeah... no its not. Simple's likely got better support (It'd be pretty impressive if they beat it), their app doesn't look like crap (it's really good), it has statistics, budgeting, lots of things this looks like it lacks.

      • http://mrmcpowned.com mrmcpowned

        But I mean, come on, what's up with no holo. This is 2014 -.-

  • jeffhesser

    Pretty smart. This could also be handy for people that want to separate money for budgeting purposes. If you wanted to stick to a certain amount for 'fun money' or just keep a separate card for online purchases (or target purchases *zing*) a card like this with no fee's would be awesome.

  • Guest

    I find it odd the app is not from T-Mobile but Blackhawk Network.

  • Matthew Fry

    I don't get it. I feel like most banks have free checking accounts with debit cards. What is the benefit here other than $0 ATM fees at non-bank ATMs?

    • andy_o

      Consider yourself lucky that you dind't even relize this, but, after all the "unpleasantness" with the banks a few years ago the bastards started charging checking account fees, unless you have a certain minimum (last time I checked the teller told me $5000, I think Bank of America or Wells Fargo) which you can't go under even for one day during the month, or set up a direct deposit with your employer.

      • Matthew Fry

        :( Then kudos to T-Mobile. Thank you for the info.

        • andy_o

          Yep, I closed my WF and Chase accounts, and went to the smaller California Bank & Trust, which has treated me better, but only gave me free checking for 1 year, after which I have to keep a minimum of $1000. Since my bank is not very widespread, I might just try this T-mo thing solely for the free ATM.

          • BetterWithRoot

            Credit Unions. 'Nuff Said.

      • mgamerz

        My credit union I used to use was only $5. Don't know why you'd use a huge bank instead.

        • Freak4Dell

          ATMs, branches everywhere, etc. Credit Unions are a nice concept, and the network thing that theoretically allows you to walk into most CUs and use it as your own is also a nice concept, but with a major bank, I never have to even think about if this ATM will cost me money or not, or whether I can use this branch or not, or anything of the sort. If it says my bank's name on it, I'm good to go.

        • andy_o

          Free is still better than $5. Plus, what he said.

  • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

    Did I just see a Holy Cross next to "0$ Retail Fee" on the pic?

  • rap

    Sometimes its hard for those who live in the poorer sections of town to get access to a credit union, cheap bank or free atm. Also could be a good option if want a prepaid visa for teens. Most of them have costs but if you are already a tmobile customer this would be free.

  • cdm

    Notice the "visa" card is prepaid and is probably treated like a Visa gift card. This is the same as using a Google wallet Master Card. It works fine at a lot of places then you will suddenly get a merchant who will hold 100 dollars for a 40 dollar gas purchase, for five days. I had this experience recently. It ruined my weekend. I am all for mobile based money and banking. Unfortunately in the US we aren't there yet. We are 20 years behind other countries that we view as third world in this area.