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T-Mobile is making a policy change to their popular promotional rebates when you switch.

As of September 7th, T-Mobile is offering a new rebate card system with two card types, one labeled ‘Magenta’ and the other ‘Black’. Depending on which promotion you choose to take advantage of with T-Mobile going forward, it will vary which rebate card you’ll get. They are not alike, and the new ‘magenta’ card might not give you the usefulness you were looking for.

T-Mobile’s new rebate card type

The ‘Magenta’ cards are the new rebate type. They are better described as “virtual prepaid Mastercard for use at T-Mobile”.

Example transactions they can be used for include “to make bill payments, purchase equipment, or pay off installments.” They can only be used in various T-Mobile places where T-Mobile takes payments. This includes self-service options like the website or T-Mobile app, or when interacting with care or retail.

‘Black’ cards will work like before – a prepaid Mastercard that can be used anywhere Mastercard is accepted. The Mobile Report has received exclusive screenshots detailing the change.

Details about the new ‘Magenta’ and ‘Black’ T-Mobile rebate cards.

T-Mobile promotions will require closer inspection going forward

Prior to the change, T-Mobile only offered the prepaid Mastercard that was accepted everywhere Mastercard is accepted. The new ‘magenta’ card will likely offer proportional value on many promotions, but will be far less useful.

T-Mobile is making a deliberate choice to keep that promotional rebate money inside the business. Going forward, consumers need to be careful if they are offered a rebate card. An offer telling you a rebate is on the way requires the question of where that money can really be used.

For example, T-Mobile recently made a cut to a well-received promotion for porting a line in. What used to be a total $1000 for five lines at $200 a line, became only 2 lines for $400 total maximum value. That $400, though, could be used anywhere Mastercard was accepted.

With the addition of the ‘Magenta’ card, the five line deal up to $1000 is back. But, that $1000 has to stay within a T-Mobile transaction as the cards are a “virtual Prepaid Mastercard for use at T-Mobile”.

This varies deal-to-deal, adding an additional layer of consideration when you are looking to invest.

Port-ins are back to 5 lines, but now your rebate can’t be used outside of T-Mobile.

Future implications

As mentioned above, consumers need to be a bit more informed about how their promotions will be paid out. While employees are in transition to understand the concept, it is especially crucial customers don’t get what they think is a Mastercard, and get a “T-Mobile Mastercard” instead.

It is a novel concept that T-Mobile can offer more flexibility with promotional offers by keeping the money in-house. However, this will also serve as an opportunity for T-Mobile to decrease the value of a promotion by giving the lesser value prepaid Mastercard that only they accept. This is already in play with the port-in promotion. T-Mobile will likely be loud and proud about offering $1000 again – but it now comes with a fairly heavy asterisk.

What do you think of the move? Is T-Mobile looking for new avenues to remain competitive? Do you see this becoming the next move in a string of T-Mobile’s questionable post-merger changes? Sound off below.

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