YOU ARE AT:CarriersT-Mobile US looks for greater control over customer finances

T-Mobile US looks for greater control over customer finances

Having already this year offered to give customers money to change carriers, T-Mobile US today announced a new initiative to now help consumers manage their finances through its Mobile Money service.

The offering relies on a smartphone application and re-loadable Visa prepaid card to provide a number of financial transactions at a reduced cost than what many conventional banks and financial institutions charge. T-Mobile US claims customers will not be charged an activation fee, for “monthly maintenance,” for making withdrawals at “in-network” automated teller machines or for a replacement card. There is also no minimum balance required for the service and as it’s a prepaid card there are no concerns with overdraft fees.

T-Mobile US added that the service allows customers set up direct deposit of paychecks, depositing checks from “capable” smartphone cameras, conduct retail transactions at locations that accept Visa, pay bills and withdraw cash from more than 42,000 in-network ATMs. Consumers can begin registering for the service today, with cards available in participating T-Mobile US retail locations. Cards will also be available at Safeway stores beginning next month.

Mobile Money by 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,” explained T-Mobile CEO and President John Legere. “Mobile Money shifts the balance of power for T-Mobile customers and keeps more money in their pockets.”

Mobile banking has been to this point a fringe interest for wireless carriers, with most of the activity in the space being controlled by established banking or credit card companies tapping into the advanced capabilities of smartphones and wireless networks. AT&T Mobility announced an initiative back in 2007 for U.S. customers, while a number of more recent launches have involved emerging markets where carriers are looking to tap into the so-called “un-banked” market.

T-Mobile US earlier this month rolled out an offer to pay consumers up to $650 if they switch their wireless service to T-Mobile US. The offer targets current customers of its three larger rivals – Verizon Wireless, AT&T Mobility and Sprint – offering first up to $300 in instant credit for the trade in of their current device. The remainder of the eligible credit comes once the customer receives their early-termination fee from their current carrier, with T-Mobile US offering to pay up to $350 per transferred line. Carriers currently charge up to $350 in ETFs for customers that break a contract that supported a subsidized smartphone, though those charges are also pro-rated based on the term of the remaining contract.

The move was the latest in T-Mobile US’ “Un-carrier” initiative, which began last year with the rollout of the carrier’s Simple Choice rate plans, which allowed customers to de-couple a service contract from the rate plan. Instead, signed up to pay a monthly price for their handset spread out over a 24-month period.

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