T-Mobile will kill its Mobile Money banking offering

T-Mobile said it is pulling the plug on its Mobile Money program.

The operator launched Mobile Money two years ago in an effort to provide the benefits of a checking account to "unbanked" users who don't have one. The program couples a smartphone money-management app with a reloadable T-Mobile Visa Prepaid Card that offered "many reduced fee or $0 cost services" for its customers.

Customers can use Mobile Money to access services such as direct deposit paychecks, depositing checks from capable smartphone cameras, making retail purchases, paying bills and withdrawing cash from more than 42,000 ATMs without paying extra fees.

But T-Mobile earlier this week began informing Mobile Money users that the service will be discontinued July 27. Users will no longer be able to reload their accounts or access the app after June 27.

Customers were also warned to remove any recurring debits or direct deposits being sent to their cards by June 27, and to "spend down any available balance" by July 27.

The demise of Mobile Money is notable because it was an ambitious effort by T-Mobile to expand far beyond its traditional role as a network operator into consumer banking. It was designed to appeal to younger, mobile-dependent users by serving as an alternative to traditional check-cashing businesses that typically charge hefty fees, making it appear to be a good fit for the "uncarrier."

A spokesman for the carrier confirmed the move to kill the service, saying that more solutions have come to market to address those who need prepaid banking services. T-Mobile said it will continue to monitor "the mobile-first financial services industry" to address such needs, and continues to support Android Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay. But the operator's effort to provide its own branded banking offering is dead.

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