What happens when a phone company gets into personal finance? If the T-Mobile MONEY checking account is any indication, surprisingly great things.
T-Mobile MONEY Checking is a free high-interest checking account that launched back in 2019. This makes at least two major wireless phone carriers which now offer banking products with Verizon Family Money launching in the summer of 2021.
T-Mobile MONEY is more rewarding than the average bank account with an APY of up to 4.00%. Plus, the account offers a number of complementary features including early direct deposit and overdraft protection.
To learn more about T-Mobile Money continue reading our review below.
In this post you'll learn:
Features and Benefits
The T-Mobile MONEY is a fee-free checking account offering up to 4.00% interest on balances up to $3,000 and 1.00% APY on the rest of your balance above that. To be eligible for the 4.00% interest rate, you need to have a T-Mobile phone plan and make at least 10 qualifying purchases using your T-Mobile MONEY card each month.
Qualifying purchases include most in-person and online transactions made using your debit card but do not include ATM withdrawals, bill payments, transfers, or pending/returned purchases. If you do not meet these requirements, your entire balance will earn 1.00%.
Interest is compounded and credited monthly. This account requires a minimum opening deposit and an average daily balance of at least $1 in order to earn interest. There are no minimum balance requirements for avoiding fees or account closure.
Basic features included with this account for everybody are mobile check deposits, cash deposits, free transfers, free ATM access, and interest on your entire balance. Additional perks available include early direct deposit and free overdraft protection. If you’re not sure what benefits you qualify for, just log into your account and select “My Perks” to see.
There are a few different ways to move money into or out of this account. The first is bill pay, a feature that allows you to set up recurring payments out of your account. There is no charge for using this service. Transactions up to $10,000 each are permitted when using bill pay and there is a daily limit of $20,000.
Another option for transferring is to send money to friends and families directly from your MONEY account by selecting a peer-to-peer transfer app such as Venmo, PayPal, or Cash App from within the T-Mobile MONEY app. There are no minimum transfer requirements or fees, but there is a daily transfer limit of $3,000 when you do this. There is also an individual ACH transfer and daily withdrawal limit of $3,000.
Incoming and outgoing wire transfers are not permitted for any account holders.
You can fund your account via:
- Direct deposit
- Mobile check deposit
- ACH bank transfer
- Cash deposit (at more than 65,000 participating merchants including select Walgreens, Walmart, and CVS locations)
- Note that these may incur a fee and merchants may choose to limit the number of cash deposits you can make
- You are required to deposit at least $20 in cash when using this funding option
You may make a transfer as a one-time transaction or set up recurring transfers from a linked bank account to fund this account.
This checking account is just as safe as any other. T-Mobile MONEY is available through member FDIC Customers Bank and federally insured up to $250,000 per depositor.
T-Mobile MONEY Debit Card
This account comes with a free Mastercard debit card that does not charge foreign transaction fees or card replacement/activation fees. You can withdraw up to $500 per day from ATMs using this card (this limit also applies to your savings account, if you have one) and make up to $2,500 in combined PIN, point-of-sale, or signature-based transactions per day. PIN transactions may not exceed $500 each.
Early Direct Deposit
This account offers early direct deposit to all account holders. To use this feature, just link your direct deposit to this account and it will automatically become eligible for early transfer. And during tax season, you can get your refund up to three days early when you choose to receive it via direct deposit and use your T-Mobile MONEY account.
Overdraft protection up to $50 is also available, but it is offered exclusively to T-Mobile phone customers. There is no fee for using overdraft protection or interest. To enroll, you need to make at least 10 qualifying purchases using your debit card in the first month, and then you will receive this benefit for as long as your account is open.
T-Mobile MONEY Savings Account
Account holders can optionally open a savings account with T-Mobile as well. You do not need to have a T-Mobile phone plan, but you must have an existing T-Mobile MONEY Checking account in order to open this savings account. It earns 1.00% APY across all balance tiers regardless of whether you are a T-Mobile phone customer or not. Limit one per customer.
You will not receive a separate debit card for this account but can use your debit card to make withdrawals. Withdrawals from your MONEY savings account are limited to six per month.
Who It’s For
Who can open a T-Mobile MONEY account? Do you have to be a T-Mobile customer? No, you don’t have to have a T-Mobile phone plan to qualify for this checking account.
Anyone can open one as long as they are at least 18 years old, have a Social Security number and government-issued ID, and have a U.S. address. However, T-Mobile and legacy Sprint customers (since the two companies merged in 2020) enjoy more benefits. These include the 4.00% APY, overdraft protection, and the ability to create a new MONEY account for every line on your phone plan. This could be a pretty great first or supplementary checking account, especially for anyone planning to keep their balance under $3,000.
This checking account is designed for anyone 18 years or older who wants a fee-free high-interest checking account but definitely more beneficial for existing T-Mobile customers.
There are no monthly maintenance fees, no low balance fees, no overdraft fees, and no ATM fees at more than 55,000 surcharge-free ATMs (note that you may be charged fees by third parties and will not be reimbursed for these). There are no foreign transaction fees or card replacement fees either.
Merchants may charge a fee for cash deposits, but this doesn’t usually exceed $5 and T-Mobile has no control over it.
How to Open
If you are already a T-mobile customer, you can sign up for this account using your T-Mobile ID. You can find this by logging into the app and selecting “Get a T-Mobile ID.” If you’re not a T-Mobile customer, you will need to sign up with your email to receive a T-Mobile ID.
Once you have your ID, you will just sign up by filling out your personal information and agreeing to the terms and conditions. From there, it’s a simple account set-up. Every member of your phone plan is eligible to open their own T-Mobile MONEY account with a limit of one per customer. This account is not eligible for joint ownership.
This part is important: remember to register for perks using your T-Mobile ID when signing up or after opening your account. This enables you to receive the 4.00% APY if you qualify. You will start earning interest as soon as all requirements have been met (you have made at least 10 purchases using your debit card and have a balance of at least $1).
There are currently no referral incentives or signup bonuses being offered.
Pros and Cons
The competitive interest rate that this account offers on the first $3,000 is likely the best thing this account has going for it. For the sake of comparison, the national average rate for interest-bearing checking accounts currently sits at 0.03%. That makes this account very competitive compared to national brick and mortar banks and credit unions as well as the newer digital banks that tend to offer the best rates. There are a handful of other banks and credit unions out there offering similar promotional rates but few with such good standard rates after the maximum balance that qualifies has been reached.
Free features like overdraft protection (although pretty low) and early direct deposit set this account apart from a lot of others, but aren’t entirely uncommon at this point. This account also allows for cash deposits, a little less common and more convenient for a lot of people.
but probably the biggest disadvantage with this account is that you have to be a T-Mobile customer to earn this 4.00% interest rate. Switching your phone plan, unless you were already thinking about it, probably isn’t worth it for a checking account. And if you are a T-Mobile customer and decide to cancel your service, you will immediately lose access to the extra MONEY perks that you once enjoyed.
A lot of users also find the 10 purchase requirement frustrating, especially considering how many people opt to make most or all of their purchases with a credit card these days. This is definitely a con if you’re not used to using a debit card.
Another potential drawback for you might be the transfer limits and restrictions. The funding and transfer limits are lower than a lot of deposit accounts, and you may find the $3,000 daily transfer limit to be, well, limiting. Maybe you don’t use this as your primary checking account if you plan to move more than this at a time. Outbound wire transfers are not permitted.
The general consensus seems to be that banking with T-Mobile is very hit or miss. A lot of consumers have reported that their account was closed unexpectedly for safety reasons, that they had trouble reaching customer service, or that features of their account such as transfers or even debit card access were temporarily restricted.
Others have had only positive experiences and appreciate that the interest rate is so much better than what other checking accounts offer.
T-Mobile MONEY launched in 2018, so it’s a relatively new product, but we’re interested to see how the company works to resolve the issues people are reporting.
The app scores well with both Android and Apple Users. It currently has a rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars on Google Play and 4.8 out of 5 stars in the App Store.
T-Mobile claims to offer 24/7 support, but that’s not exactly the case. You can contact customer service any day of the week between 8 am and 12 am ET. If you’re a T-Mobile phone customer, just dial **MONEY and you’ll be connected with an agent. Otherwise, call 866-686-9358.
We were pleasantly surprised by the T-Mobile MONEY checking account in a lot of ways. It offers a number of free features that the average user could find useful and it charges no fees. This could be a great option if you’re looking for a high-interest checking account that offers funding flexibility, free perks, and spending perks. While we don’t necessarily recommend this as a primary checking account, it could be a good place for short-term savings or a nice addition to your suite of accounts and investments.
If you’re not already a T-Mobile customer, you should probably keep looking. This account also isn’t for you if you don’t plan to use a debit card at least 10 times a month.