In yet another sign of just how crowded the mobile payments market is becoming, Boost Mobile today launched its own mobile wallet app. Dubbed (predictably) Mobile Wallet, the new service allows customers of the Sprint-owned MVNO to make payments in over 135 countries and set up bill payments with more than 3,500 companies across the US. Of course, it also lets you re-up any of your Boost cellular accounts.
A debit card makes things a bit more convenient
More interestingly than that, though, customers will also be given a prepaid Visa card that's directly tied to their wallet balance. This basically allows you to tap into the service wherever Visa is accepted. Google is said to be experimenting with a similar approach that would let Google Wallet users receive a physical credit card to use for in-store transactions, but the company has reportedly run into problems with that plan. If you were hoping to avoid ATM surcharges though, no such luck. Even checking your balance carries a 50 cent surcharge.
Unfortunately, with Boost's prepaid nature, the process of adding money to your mobile wallet is somewhat inconvenient. You'll need to head to a physical Boost retailer (and pay a $3 reload fee) every time you want to add cash to your balance. Funds can be transferred between accounts, but that doesn't do much to lessen the annoyance here. The company has promised it will soon offer the ability to take pictures of a check and deposit those funds, but that feature — part of Mobile Wallet Plus — isn't ready at launch. Boost Mobile Wallet is launching in limited markets including Los Angeles and New Jersey today, with a national rollout kicking off this summer.