Android smartphones on Boost Mobile’s network can now serve as a mobile wallet.
Boost Mobile subscribers can head to any of the carrier’s stores to load cash into their virtual wallet. The approach differs from a long-rumored app — designed to virtually store credit cards — that’s said to be coming from the country’s major carriers. Boost’s focus is on customers who rely on cash payments and don’t have credit cards.
Payments can be sent across the world, including to 3,500 companies in the U.S. In a twist from existing mobile-wallet apps such as Square, users also will get a prepaid Visa card that’s linked to their mobile wallet. The card can be used at ATMs to withdraw cash or at cash registers to pay bills by debit.
Boost’s offering does have a few drawbacks. Though there’s no monthly fee, there are a slew of other fees. Loading money costs $3. Paying bills costs $2 to $5 per transaction. Transfers between accounts may also come with a fee after the summer.
Subscribers who verify their personal information including Social Security number can get a “Plus” account that comes with a higher maximum balance and the ability to use an ATM. The “Plus” account eventually will allow deposits by taking pictures of checks, Boost said.
The app is initially available for use in Los Angeles, San Diego and New Jersey.
The technology for the app comes from Wipit, a 3-year-old Pasadena-based company that former executives of Boost and Virgin Mobile helped start.
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