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T-Mobile pulls plug on Mobile Money effort that tried to take on check cashing industry

The company launched the effort with big goals back in 2014, but has said little since.

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T-Mobile confirmed Friday that it is getting out of the mobile payments business, ending a two-year effort to offer an alternative to the check cashing industry.

The Mobile Money service was launched in January 2014 with T-Mobile executives hoping to offer a cheaper and easier alternative to check cashing services, but has been little talked about since.

The service combined a mobile app for paying bills and depositing checks along with a prepaid card that could be reloaded for free at T-Mobile stores or for a fee at some retailers.

T-Mobile began notifying customers of plans to shutter the service this week. Customers will be able to load their cards until June 27 and have until July 27 to draw down prepaid card balances. Any unused money will be refunded by check.

A T-Mobile representative declined to comment on how many people had taken part in the service or are currently using it.

Moving money around by cellphone has been huge in some places, especially emerging markets in Africa and elsewhere where large swaths of the population lack access to conventional banking. Here in the U.S., though, such banking replacement services have been slow to take off even as interest has clearly risen in payment systems such as Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay.

This article originally appeared on Recode.net.

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