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Larry Magid: T-Mobile To Launch Mobile Money Checking Service

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A man uses two smartphones. (Indranil Mukherjee/AFP/Getty Images)

A man uses two smartphones. (Indranil Mukherjee/AFP/Getty Images)

LarryMagid01-228 Larry Magid
Larry Magid is a technology journalist and an Internet safe...
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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— T-Mobile is teaming up with Safeway to launch a new checking service called Mobile Money. The service actually goes beyond just check cashing and in a sense goes into the banking business, although not literally.

What they’re doing is issuing a prepaid Visa card that’s linked to a mobile app that you can use on any smartphone (you don’t have to be a T-Mobile customer). If you are one of their customers then they’ll wave a bunch of fees for you.

You can use the service to cash and deposit checks at a Safeway or T-Mobile store. You can also use your smartphone camera to take a picture of checks to deposit them (similar to the online service many banks already provide).

There’s a demographic of people sometimes referred to as the “unbanked”. It’s an enormous population overseas. But even in the U.S. there are a lot of people who for a variety of reasons (mostly financial) don’t have checking accounts because the fees are very high or they have trouble managing the checking accounts.

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