NEW YORK Jan 22 T-Mobile US is
stepping beyond cellphones and offering payment cards in the
latest effort to differentiate its service from bigger rivals.
The No. 4 U.S. mobile provider said it is offering a Visa
card with banking features and a smartphone money management
application with reduced-fee or zero-cost services for T-Mobile
The company, which has gained attention with promises of
more flexible and cheaper cellphone services, is hoping to
attract a similar following in personal finance.
The card, issued by a Bancorp Inc subsidiary and
licensed by Visa Inc, is similar to a bank account. It
will allow consumers to direct deposit paychecks and checks from
smartphone cameras, make retail purchases, pay bills and
withdraw cash from more than 42,000 ATMs with no fees.
The service could be attractive to people who struggle to
qualify for traditional bank accounts but is unlikely to bring
in revenue for the operator, at least in the short term, said
Jackdaw Research analyst Jan Dawson.
"This has to be seen today as strictly a competitive
differentiator and not a revenue opportunity, though I would
expect T-Mobile to offer a broader range of financial services
over time, and perhaps try to make some money on those," Dawson
said. "For now, though, this is another marketing effort from
T-Mobile that will cost money rather than make money for the
T-Mobile Chief Executive John Legere managed to turn around
four years of customer losses with subscriber growth in the last
three quarters of 2013 by offering discounted services and
loudly criticizing bigger rivals Verizon Wireless
, AT&T Inc and Sprint Corp.
T-Mobile shares were down 3 cents at $33.14 on the New York
Stock Exchange on Wednesday.