October 02, 2021

Don't use T-Mobile Money

TL-DR version: If you ever change your email address, and you lose access to your old email address, you'll no longer be able to reset your T-Mobile Money password via email. If you're not a T-Mobile Wireless customer, you won't be able to reset your password via text message either. So, you may lose the ability to reset your password altogether.

The Setting

I have used T-Mobile Money for more than 2 years now, as a secondary spending account. (I put the money there that I have saved up to spend on "fun" stuff.) I like the interest rate that I earn, and it has been a friendly experience. There is no monthly fee. (I assume they get their profits from the "credit card interchange fees" that they receive from a merchant when I purchase items with the associated debit card.)

However, I recently changed my email address, and this change appears to have put me at risk of losing access to my money.

The Symptoms

T-Mobile Money, like other banking services, permits me to change the email address which they will use for correspondence (such as my statements, or the spending alerts that I configure).

However, my "username" - which was set automatically to be my email address when I first signed up - cannot ever be changed, apparently. As they note on their FAQ page:

As a reminder, your username is an email address or T-Mobile wireless phone number you used to sign up for a T-Mobile MONEY account.

At first, I thought this would only be a source of minor confusion. Having to use my old email as the username is unintuitive, but I use a KeePass password manager, so I could always look up the correct value and (I thought) no actual harm could befall.

The problem came when I was having trouble accessing the site, and to troubleshoot I tried resetting my password. I tried entering my new email address, and I got the message:

Sorry, something you entered does not match our records. Please try again.

OK, I thought - this must say "please enter your email" but really mean "please enter your username". So I tried entering my old email address. This time, the message displayed indicated a temporary login URL would be emailed to me. And, it was -- to my old email address.

There are multiple problems with this, but the one I am concerned with here can be framed by one question: What if I could no longer access my old email address? Apparently, if that were the case:

What are my options?

The Outcome

As soon as practicable, I believe I am going to withdraw my money from T-Mobile Money and close my account.

I haven't actually lost access to my old email address yet - but I will (I know when it's going to happen), and although it's unlikely, it could be given to someone else.

There are multiple banks that can provide a similar service to this one, and I believe they don't include the same "gotcha" scenario.

Note: I haven't enabled any way for you to leave a comment here on this article, sorry. But if you'd like to get in touch about what I wrote, feel free to send me a note via my contact form.

David Smedberg