Rates mentioned in this article are as of October 11, 2019. The T-Mobile MONEY checking account is a digital cash management account that offers up to 4.00% APY on monthly balances up to $3,000. Because T-Mobile is not a bank itself, it partners with BankMobile, a division of Customers Bank, to offer the account.
In addition to an attractive interest rate, the account offers plenty of user-friendly features, including direct deposit and mobile check deposit. However, the 4.00% APY is only available to T-Mobile wireless customers (non-customers earn a lower APY), and it applies to a limited amount of funds. The T-Mobile MONEY app can also be difficult to use, reducing the account’s overall value to consumers.
T-Mobile MONEY checking account
The T-Mobile MONEY checking account is attractive mainly because of its high-yield interest rate. If you have a T-Mobile wireless account and sign up for T-Mobile MONEY, you can earn a 4.00% APY on balances up to $3,000 in a checking account. Any amount above $3,000 will earn 1.00% APY, somewhat lessening the value of the account if you plan to keep large sums of money there. The APY rate may also change after you’ve enrolled in the account.
To qualify for the 4.00% APY, you must enroll in the perks program with your T-Mobile ID and deposit $200 into the account each month (note, though, that rewards or promotional credits don’t count toward the minimum deposit). Customers who meet these guidelines can earn up to $120 in interest each year. Even if you don’t meet the monthly deposit requirements, you will still earn 1.00% on your balance.
Eligibility for the 4.00% APY rate is based on your account activity from month to month. Let’s say you deposited $200 in September, but only $150 in October. Then in November, you deposited $200 again. You’d earn 4.00% in September and November, and 1.00% in October. So, if money is tighter for a month or two out of the year, you can still earn the higher rate when you have more money to deposit. Some users treat the checking account as a savings account and simply keep money in there to accrue interest.
T-Mobile MONEY accounts are FDIC-insured up to $250,000, and funds are held at BankMobile, which is a division of Customers Bank. Accounts also include Mastercard’s Zero Liability Protection — so if you’re a victim of fraud, you will not be held accountable for transactions that weren’t authorized.
T-Mobile MONEY checking account for non-wireless customers
You can still create a T-Mobile MONEY account if you aren’t a T-Mobile wireless customer, but you won’t be eligible for the 4.00% APY. Non-wireless customers earn 1.00% APY, regardless of their balance. If you are a wireless customer when you open a checking account but then cancel your T-Mobile service, you’ll keep the interest you’ve accrued to that point, but your APY going forward will be 1.00%.
Though the T-Mobile MONEY account is less attractive for non-wireless customers, there are benefits in addition to earning interest. T-Mobile MONEY customers can set up direct deposit for their paychecks and transfer money from an external account. You can also deposit paper checks through the mobile app. To transfer money to friends and family, you have the option of linking your T-Mobile MONEY account to PayPal or Venmo and sending funds that way.
T-Mobile MONEY fees and fine print
Besides the potential to earn 4.00% APY, T-Mobile MONEY’s fee structure is one of its more appealing features. This is a low-cost account that’s free to sign up for and doesn’t include any hidden or burdensome fees. Even if you use an out-of-network ATM, T-Mobile won’t charge you, although the ATM owner may assess a fee. T-Mobile MONEY does not rebate these ATM charges, but the fact that you won’t be charged on at least one end is a perk.
Additionally, a T-Mobile MONEY account includes overdraft protection up to $50, though this is only offered to T-Mobile wireless customers and they must deposit at least $200 within a given month to receive the benefit. If you make a purchase that will overdraw your account, T-Mobile will cover the expense, and you’ll have to bring the balance back to at least $0 within the month you made that purchase. The feature will kick in up to a total of $50, so if you make several small purchases before realizing you’re overdrawn, each will be covered. But if you don’t bring your account current by the end of the month in which the overdraft occurred, you may lose access to this feature.
|T-Mobile MONEY Fees|
|ATM fees||$0 in-network, no T-Mobile fees out-of-network*|
|Stop check fee||$0|
Using the T-Mobile MONEY mobile app
The T-Mobile MONEY mobile app seems like it should be easy to use, as the design is simple and intuitive. However, the Android app can be glitchy to the point of unusable.
When trying to sign up for an account via the app, this DepositAccounts.com writer found that the app froze repeatedly, making it impossible to get past the initial sign-up screens. Later, after setting up an account via the website, the mobile app froze entirely when trying to access the ATM search feature.
Other users, on both Android and iOS devices, have complained about the app freezing or becoming quite slow, and they’ve also had difficulties logging in or signing up for an account through the app. Other complaints about the app include problems with the mobile check deposit feature, issues with the biometric authentication not working and a lack of voiceover functionality for visually impaired users.
Asked about the app’s tendency to freeze and other glitches during sign-up or log-in, a T-Mobile spokesperson said that the overall ratings for iOS and Android — 4.8 and 4.3, respectively — “are indicators of the quality of the T-Mobile MONEY customer experience.”
“We are always working on improvements and ideas for future new features to help deliver a great digital banking experience with great consumer and customer benefits,” the spokesperson added.
When the app does work, it is user-friendly and easy to navigate. You can log in via password or fingerprint authentication, or whichever biometric verification system you’ve set up on your smartphone.
If you haven’t yet added money to your account or you have a low balance, you’ll be prompted to make a deposit when you log in, though you can opt to do so later.
From the homescreen, you can navigate to the Add Money or Move Money sections, where you have several options for depositing money and can pay bills, transfer money to another bank account or send money to a friend.
If you need paper checks, you can navigate to the More heading on the homescreen, which brings up an additional menu. Click Order Checks, and you’ll be shown your routing and account numbers and prompted to visit the Vistaprint website, where you can choose a design and order your checkbooks.
The T-Mobile MONEY app provides all of the features you need to manage your account from your phone; it’s a standout for the ease of use, though the tendency of the app to freeze or crash is a real impediment to using it. Fortunately, the web app is equally user-friendly, so you can still take advantage of all the accounts features without running into the same frustrations.
Opening a T-Mobile MONEY account
Adults who are 18 and older and live in the continental U.S. are eligible for T-Mobile MONEY checking accounts. To open an account, you must provide a street address in the continental U.S., your Social Security number and a government- or state-issued ID, like a driver’s license or passport. T-Mobile MONEY won’t run a credit check when you open an account, so you can enroll even with a limited or poor credit history.
You can open a T-Mobile MONEY account through the website or via the mobile app. The T-Mobile MONEY app is available for Android and iOS. The sign-up process is simple, but make sure you have your ID handy, as you’ll need it early on.
When opening an account through the web app, the first question you’ll be asked is whether you have a T-Mobile wireless account. If you already have a T-Mobile ID, you’ll be able to sign up using that existing identification. But if you haven’t created one, you’ll need to do that to move forward, using your T-Mobile number.
If you’re not already a T-Mobile customer, the sign-up process is a bit more involved. You’ll need to provide your name and email address and then create a password. Once your account is set up, you’ll be prompted to add money, although you can opt to do so later.
After signing up and being approved for an account, you’ll get a T-Mobile MONEY debit card in the mail within a few days, along with several checks. You then can link the card to your preferred mobile wallet. In the event that you need to withdraw cash, you can find a fee-free ATM via the search feature through either the website or mobile app.
When this DepositAccounts.com writer initially signed up for an account, her application was denied and she received a message saying her information could not be authenticated. After reaching out to the company, she was approved and given full access to the account. According to a spokesperson for T-Mobile, the company “does not have visibility or access to any account information, data or approval status” because of consumer protection regulations, and therefore could not identify why an account was initially denied.
However, if you have any issues signing up, you can call BankMobile at 866-686-9358. If you’re already a T-Mobile customer, you can just dial **MONEY from your mobile phone.
What else you should know about T-Mobile MONEY
Customer reviews on both the Play Store and App Store reveal a broad range of usability complaints. Among the most significant are how long it takes for deposits and money transfers to process, as well as errors and problems in depositing money. If you’re simply using T-Mobile MONEY as a savings account, that may not be a concern. But if you’re relying on it as your regular checking account, such delays in receiving money could cause real problems.
People have also had trouble logging into their accounts even after they’ve deposited money, which, again, could create issues if this is your primary checking account.
Overall review of T-Mobile MONEY
The core attraction of the T-Mobile MONEY checking account is the opportunity to earn 4.00% APY on your balance. Because that feature is limited to T-Mobile wireless customers, non-wireless customers may find more value with other cash management accounts, if only due to the usability issues with the T-Mobile MONEY app.
The ability to earn 1.00% APY is a benefit, of course, but consumers who are eligible for a savings account with a higher rate may be better served pursuing that option. The design and functionality of the T-Mobile MONEY app is promising, but until the usability issues are resolved, users will likely gravitate toward other digital cash management options.