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T-Mobile just unveiled its newest, and perhaps boldest venture yet… it is becoming a bank

22/01/2014 by


There are no maintenance fees, minimum balances or activation fees associated with the new card

T-Mobile is taking its “UnCarrier” strategy a step further today by stepping out of the wireless realm for a minute and offering prepaid Visa cards for those who may have trouble obtaining one at a bank.

According to T-Mobile, it’s launching a new service called “Mobile Money” that will give both the carrier’s customers and even non-customers a prepaid Visa card that offers the typical features of a checking account, but minus the big fees (if you’re a T-Mobile customer, at least).

The Mobile Money prepaid debit card allows participating users to setup their direct deposit, make purchases without incurring any fees, withdraw cash at over 42,000 ATMs for free and have their tax refund deposited right to their Mobile Money card.

The card is paired with a mobile app for iOS and Android users, which will let them pay bills, view their account, find ATMs, transfer funds, add funds and even take pictures of checks to have them deposited into the account.

You don’t have to be a T-Mobile customer to apply for the Mobile Money card, but being a customer helps keep all the fees away. There are no maintenance fees, minimum balances or activation fees associated with the new card.

The new service could be a great option for those who have poor credit and can’t obtain a traditional checking account with a bank. T-Mobile Chief Marketing Officer Mike Sievert said people who currently use check cashers can save up to $1,500 per year in fees.

Those interested in the Mobile Money card can sign up starting today either online or in T-Mobile stores.

T-Mobile’s UnCarrier strategy has certainly shaken up the wireless industry. Last year, it eliminated contracts for reduced cell phone plans in March and introduced an early phone upgrade program in July. Then, in October, it started offering a free unlimited international text and data plan.

Earlier this month, T-Mobile said it would pay up to $350 in early termination fees (ETFs) per customer that switched from another carrier to T-Mobile. And just this week, the UnCarrier encouraged customers to write their former carriers break-up letters.

It looks like these UnCarrier offerings are working out in T-Mobile’s favor, since the carrier announced its best quarter in eight years this month. According to T-Mobile, Q4 2013 saw the addition of 1.645 million new T-Mobile customers, bringing its total for 2013 to 4.4 million new customers. This is huge for T-Mobile, considering it lost 32,000 customers in the same quarter one year earlier.

Postpaid, in particular, experienced a dramatic shift for the quarter with 869,000 new customers compared to losing 515,000 for the same quarter in 2012.

Full fourth quarter results are expected to be released on February 25.

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