T-Mobile has launched a checking service that aims to lure the underbanked away from high-fee check cashers and payday lenders.
The company's Mobile Money service lets customers use a smartphone app and reloadable prepaid card to sign up for direct deposit, deposit checks using mobile phone cameras, pay bills and make purchases at online and at brick-and-mortar stores.
Customers who sign up for the service are not charged fees for activation, monthly maintenance or withdrawals at 42,000 ATMs maintained by partner companies. The service also does not require a minimum balance.
"It's ridiculous that families, especially those who can least afford it, have to pay so much for basic check cashing services that many of us take for granted," Mike Sievert, chief marketing officer for T-Mobile, said in a Wednesday press release. "The typical household using a check casher to cash their paychecks could save about $1,500 per year, and customers tired of getting hit with overdraft fees can switch and save an average of $225 a year."
The T-Mobile Visa prepaid card is issued by The Bancorp (TBBK) and can be reloaded free of charge in T-Mobile stores, according to the release.