T-Mobile certainly does not lack in creativity. Though the mobile provider's new initiative to pay off early termination fees for customers who switch to T-Mobile might not lure every customer away from its competitors, the move has certainly put pressure on AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint. Now it appears that T-Mobile has even larger ambitions in taking on U.S. banks.
T-Mobile today announced that a new program that will allow its customers to essentially open a checking account with the mobile provider. The "Mobile Money" plan gives customers a re-loadable T-Mobile-branded Visa Prepaid debit card. "Many" T-Mobile customers will qualify for reduced fees or no fees for the use of the card, according to the company.
The idea is that Mobile Money customers will be able to manage their card as a checking account right from their smartphones. The program offers customers the program with many common banking tasks at no charge. Customers will be able to deposit checks using smartphone cameras and cash can be withdrawn with no fee at one of 42,000 ATMs in T-Mobile's network. The system can even handle direct deposit for regular paychecks.
"We've already transformed how Americans use and pay for phones, tablets and wireless service; why stop there?" said John Legere, CEO 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."
T-Mobile customers can already sign up for the Mobile Money program through the company's website. The cards will roll out soon to T-Mobile store locations and will also be available in Safeway stores sometime in February.