The major selling point so far is that T-Mobile will offer its subscribers, who can deposit at least $200 a month into the account (on up to a $3,000 balance), a 4% annual percentage yield (APY) on their money. Banks on main street ask for a lower deposit but typically offer a far lower APY. The Money service offers non-T-Mobile customers an APY of 1% on their funds.
You may remember that T-Mobile has tried this once before, launching a Mobile Money trial -- for the "unbanked" in Miami -- in November 2014 that didn't go any further. (See T-Mobile: The Uncarrier for the Unbanked?)
And it was involved in the launch of a mobile wallet system in 2013 that was backed by three carriers -- AT&T and Verizon as well as T-Mobile -- with the brand name "Isis" but that experience may have left the trio with a sour taste about mobile money offerings. Isis was rebranded as "Softcard" in July 2014. (See Isis (the Mobile Wallet One) to Rebrand.)
Mobile banking in the US through wireless operators not taken off so far. Rather, all major retail banks offer mobile apps for customers to check balances, make payments and access other services.
This is in contrast to other parts of the world, particularly Africa, where mobile operators have taken the lead in providing mobile money services to the 'under-served'. Around half of the 282 mobile money services operating worldwide are located in Sub-Saharan Africa, the GSMA has reported.
T-Mobile hasn't said anything publicly about the Money service yet -- the website was uncovered by Domain Name Wire on November 28. Visually, the site appears to be aimed at younger millennials, possibly those looking to open their first bank account.
— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading