T-Mobile puts its mark on payments with Money app rollout

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T-Mobile, which announced Thursday that its four-month testing phase for the T-Mobile Money app is complete and that the banking/payments service is available nationwide, said the next step is to establish itself as a mainstream financial services company.

Not long ago, U.S. wireless carriers battled mobile wallet technology providers over who would have access to the secure element on handsets as mobile payments entered an infancy stage.

Since then, the telco providers have taken a back seat to either technology companies like Google and Apple or major electronics manufacturers like Samsung and their "Pay" models.
Rather than stay in the background, T-Mobile has partnered with Bank Mobile, a division of Customers Bank, to create an account attached to a Mastercard debit card in which users can make payments or withdrawals from Allpoint ATMs worldwide.

T-Mobile is sweetening the pot with a 4% annual percentage yield on T-Mobile Money checking accounts that carry up to a $3,000 balance. It is also providing 1% APY on every dollar over the $3,000 threshold when users sign up for T-Mobile ID and make deposits of at least $200 a month.

Despite the advances of Apple Pay and its Apple Card expected this summer, and increasing capabilities for Google Pay and others, T-Mobile feels it is filling a niche that traditional providers and most disruptors can't address.

"Traditional banks aren't mobile first, and they're definitely not customer-first," John Legere, CEO of T-Mobile, said in a press release about the app. "As more and more people use their smartphones to manage money, we saw an opportunity to address another customer pain point."

Mostly, T-Mobile wants to eliminate the fee structure that U.S. consumers pay for the use of checking accounts and payment cards by declaring that T-Mobile Money will not have any fees associated with it.

The T-Mobile Money app allows users to make mobile check deposits, set up direct deposit, pay bills, send a check, transfer money or make P2P payments. It also provides the option to make mobile payments from a wallet like Apple Pay, Google Pay or Samsung Pay.

The app offers its own biometric security with fingerprint and Face ID login, and also delivers account alerts and debit card disabling.

Use of the app is available to any customer, even those who do not use T-Mobile as its wireless carrier.

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