“We’ve already transformed how Americans use and pay for phones, tablets and wireless service; why stop there?.” T-Mobile CEO John Legere said in a statement. The so-called “uncarrier,” which credits itself fo rhaving “upended” the cellular industry, is now focused on banking.
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T-Mobile is launching what it calls Mobile Money. a service that enablers people to “do most everything they would otherwise do with traditional checking accounts.” even if they don’t have a checking account. This includes deposting checking from smartphone cameras, paying bills, making retail purchases, taking direct deposits from employers or the government and getting cash from ATMs.
When you sign up for the service you get a prepaid Visa card that’s linked to your account and the Mobile Money Android and iOS app. You don’t need to be a T-Mobile wireless customer to use the app, but T-Mobile customers don’t have to pay for activation, monthly maintenance, in-network ATM withdrawals, or for replacing lost or stolen cards. There are no minimum balances required. Subscribers can deposit cash at T-Mobile and Safeway stores in the U.S. and access there money from ATM machines including a network of 42,000 machines that will waive ATM fees for T-Mobile customers.
The service is likely to appeal to the “unbanked,” which includes a lot of people, including those who don’t maintain high enough balances to get their bank to waive service fees. Mobile banking, which is just starting to gain speed in the U.S. is popular in developing countries including in Kenya where M-PESA is extremely popular. A service of carrier Safaricom, the M in M-PESA stands for mobile while Pesa is the Swahili word for money.