T-Mobile has officially announced Mobile Money, a new program that's aimed at helping consumers avoid fees related to check cashers, payday loans and overdraft fees. As part of the service, T-Mobile will issue users a special prepaid Visa card that can be used to make retail purchases and withdraw cash from one of more than 42,000 ATMs. Customers can also deposit cash into a Mobile Money account using direct deposit or a smartphone camera, and refill services will be offered at T-Mobile and Safeway stores. Android and iOS apps will be available to help users manage their accounts.
Mobile Money by T-Mobile has no minimum balance and that registered T-Mobile customers can enjoy many services with reduced or zero fees, including activation, retail purchases and in-network ATM withdrawals. Non-T-Mobile customers are subject to fees for things like monthly maintenance and balance inquiries. Some of the actions that can result in a fee for all users are withdrawals at out-of-network ATMs, expedited bill payment, requests for written account histories and teller cash advances.
T-Mobile's Mobile Money prepaid Visa cards will be available in select T-Mo stores starting in February and will also be offered in Safeway grocery stores. Overall it looks like an interesting program that could help get a flexible, widely-accepted Visa prepaid card into the hands of consumers that don't yet have a banking account, rely on fee-riddled check-cashing services or are just looking for a new checking service that's connected with their T-Mobile account. To learn more about Mobile Money while we wait for the program to launch next month, you can check out the official website and FAQ at the links below.