Smartphone Owners, T-Mobile Wants to be Your Bank

T-Mobile's latest tactic to bring in new smartphone customers isn't more talk minutes for less, or lower iPhone prices. The company instead is looking to be your bank.

T-Mobile to customers: We want to be your bankT-Mobile to customers: We want to be your bank

As part of a new service called Mobile Money, T-Mobile is targeting people that either don't have bank accounts, or have limited banking services available and rely on check cashing services. That's a market that just so happens to make up many of T-Mobile's customer base.

The plan requires customers to buy a smartphone and as part of the deal they get a pre-paid Visa debit card, along with other bank services such as online bill paying, direct deposit, and check cashing, and they won't have to pay the usual service fees traditional banks charge. Right now, subscribers can reload their Visa debit card at T-Mobile stores, but that will include Safeway stores come February.

For T-Mobile, the plan could draw in customers that haven't been able to get banking services elsewhere, and could give existing customers relying on check cashing services a new reason to stay.