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No More H&R Block Tax Refund Anticipation Loans

This article was written by in Debt Reduction, Taxes. 82 comments.


One of the most popular services available surrounding tax season is also one of the most expensive. Refund anticipation loans (RALs) are great products from a lender’s point of view; they are low risk and they are expensive. From a customer’s point of view, they provide a means to get cash when a household files its tax return rather than waiting for a check from the IRS. Tax preparation services like those offered by H&R Block sell these expensive loans in partnership with banks and other lending institutions. Since most customers who use these products need cash right away, they seem to be more willing to pay the high fees associated with these loans.

With the IRS sending direct deposits faster than ever, one might wonder why these products, and their cousins, the refund anticipation checks, are so popular. Millions of Americans simply don’t have bank accounts. Living paycheck-to-paycheck, these families see little need to store their money somewhere safe because they have nowhere to store it. I am amazed that 40% of H&R Block’s clients used these products last year considering the high fees. I consider refund anticipation loans one of the worst forms of debt, second only to pay day loans.

While I understand the function of thees products in the marketplace, I don’t like the concept of charging someone in a difficult financial situation to borrow his or her own money — and charging the borrower a high fee from an annual interest rate perspective. In a perfect world, no one would be living paycheck-to-paycheck, unable to make the rent or mortgage payment, and one step away from homelessness, but the reality is that many households are facing these troubles.

In 2011, H&R Block will not be offering refund anticipation loans. A federal regulatory agency, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) has barred HSBC from offering these products. HSBC was H&R Block’s exclusive partner for refund anticipation loans. The customers who would be interested in these products will be directed to refund anticipation checks as a similar alternative, although it doesn’t provide the cash as quickly as a loan.

HSBC is not the only bank offering refund anticipation loans, and I am unsure why the OCC has singled out this one bank. If the bank was handling the sales of these loans in a reputable manner, the regulation should be applied consistently across all institutions. For H&R Block, these loans provided a significant portion of revenue, $130 million in 2010. Earlier this year, when HSBC was considering on its own not offering the refund anticipation loans to H&R Block, the tax return agency sued the bank.

Unless the situation changes, competitors like Jackson Hewitt will still be able to offer this product to their customers. TurboTax does not offer refund anticipation loans.

H&R Block, Wall Street Journal, Fox Business

Updated March 29, 2011 and originally published December 31, 2010. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes, also known as Flexo, is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about him and follow Luke Landes on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 82 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar LifeAndMyFinances

I never really did understand why people would agree to RALs. But you are right, most people don’t have bank accounts and are in dire need of the money NOW! Also, I wish people would stop allowing the government to use their money tax-free. Sure, it fun to get a lump sum of money – but it could have been your money all year long! I continually shake my head….

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avatar Julie

As a taxpreparer, I can tell you that the people that get the RAL don’t care what it costs…it is “free” money to them. Like you said it is all about the refundable credits….

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avatar rajesh

can u be more specific on that.

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avatar Marilyn

I know I don’t know you and you don’t know me and you can’t possibly know the people I know. I use RAL and as a taxpayer I can say I work hard for the little I get and it is by no means’ free’ money. Please don’t speck for me.

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avatar Ronald Gurney

If you’re only making $14,000 a year, getting back all your with holding plus nearly $5,000 in Earned Income Tax Credit, and up to $1000 per child of Child Tax Credit, you would want your money back immediately! HRB was charging a “modest” 36% interest for the loans. People are not willing to wait 8 to 15 days (which is only avaailable to them if they have a bank account – which many are unbanked clients) through a IRS direct deposit. The refund anticipation check allows folks to get their money as an IRS direct deposit through an intermediary and temporary bank account and to have their tax preparation fees with held at the same time. In a fair tax system, people below the dollar amount where no tax return is required, wouldn’t even have to file a return and would get the EITC and CTC as part of their weekly paycheck. Better yet, the government should stop these credits altogether – they are ripe for fraud.

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avatar Thom T

Amen. Summed it up perfectly!

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avatar Nathanael Willie

Just to clarify, saying that “H&R was charging” is an incorrect statement. You clearly did not read the article. H&R Block does not charge the 36% annual rate on the Refund Anticipation Loans or even themselves provide it. They partnered with HSBC Bank who charged the 36% annual interest and payed out these loans. H&R Block charges for the tax return preparation and offered HSBCs RALs in their tax offices as an additional convenience for their customers. Two distinct corporations with two separate products offered in one office.

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avatar lynn ♦155 (Cent)

I can’t see H and R doing this without some sort of fee to HSBC.

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avatar Inez

H&R charges a fee for the paper work they file to get you the loan, it is a small fee. I have used H&R Block for filing my taxes since I first started filing when I was 19, I am 54, pretty much live paycheck to paycheck, and don’t have any problem with H&R Block, or HSBC Bank.

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avatar Inez

Well stated.

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avatar bmeighan ♦130 (Cent)

TurboTax does not, and never has, offered Refund Anticipation Loans (RALs) to its customers.

Bob Meighan
VP, TurboTax

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,435 (Platinum)

Thanks for the clarification. I admit I was confused by the WSJ article. I’ve clarified the post.

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avatar mike crabtree

Thats great for you, I’m sure as a VP you don’t run into the situation of being broke around christmas. So for the rest of America a little loan so I can get my little girl what she wants is ok with me. It’s our damn money if we agree to it then let it be. Have a great Christmas, I hope I can

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avatar Eric

Desperate measures in desperate times I’m guessing. But the terms are definitely horrible like payday loans.

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avatar TakeitEZ ♦549 (Dime)

Yeah I would never use those loans. I get mine within 10 via direct deposit. Yet as others have pointed out, if I did not have a bank account I would be tempted to use them.

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avatar Lesa R

You can get a prepaid debit card that would function the same as a bank acct for direct deposit of your refund. That’s what I use and have never had a problem with them. I would strongly advise everyone not to get those Refund Anticipation Loans. They are loans period. If your refund is held up by IRS for any reason and the bank does not get reimbursed for that loan that they gave you, then the bank will in turn go after you for repayment of the loan. It has nothing to do with IRS, they will not facilitate between you and the bank. You are on your own. Refund Anticipation Checks are ripoffs with all the fees that they charge you and you will not get it any sooner than if you just requested direct deposit from IRS to your bank (or debit card). I need my money just as badly as the next person, but I can wait the 2 wks for it, to avoid the extra hassels and/or fees. Just some friendly advice.

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avatar mike crabtree

You used to be able to get these loans as early as november. Thats way more than 10 days. It was nice to be able to get a loan of MY money for christmas. Now if it was only 10 days, yeah there would be no way I would agree to fees

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avatar Sharonda Cloud

I think it should be up to the individual how they want to go about handling the preperation of their taxes!! I personally know people who have done the RAL(s) and the HAVE bank accounts but for whatever reason said they needed the money right then!! No one tells you how much you can spend on an over priced car or house so why should they be able to tell you how to prepare your taxes? I do agree the fees are to high but that’s the great thing about AMERICA WE HAVE CHOICES!!

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avatar Evan

Sharonda,

Shhhh maybe the gov’t will think it is a good idea to price our cars for us…lol I agree this is type of restriction is ridiculous!

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avatar Bonita

AMEN & HALLELUJAH TO THAT !!!!!!!!!!!! : )

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avatar KipEsquire

The OCC only regulates nationally chartered banks. Most banks are state-chartered. That’s why they can reach HSBC but not H&R Block’s in-house bank or Santa Barbara Bank & Trust, which is Jackson Hewitt’s predatory co-conspirator.

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avatar Jim

RAL’s ARE FOR THOSE WHO WANT CASH QUICK. MOST AGENCIES DO NOT OFFER THIS SERVICE. REMEMBER, YOUR TAXES ARE VERY IMPORTNAT. DO NOT MESS WITH THEM, OR THE GOV’T WILL MESS WITH YOU. DO IT THE RIGHT WAY AND YOU’LL BE FINE. WAIT UNTIL YOUR W-2 ARRIVES AND SUBMIT IT THEN. LET’S PUT IT THIS WAY, YOU WAITED ALL YEAR FOR YOUR W-2, WHAT’S TWO – THREE MORE WEEKS?

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avatar James Mayfield

To those in need 2-3 weeks could mean, eviction, gas or electric shut off or no food in the fridge.

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avatar Nita

That’s right!!! I’m glad someone is keeping it REAL!!!! Times are tough!!!

Thanks for your post!

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avatar bob

times are tough they ruined a good thing taking away those ral loans most people need there money right away .why go to hr block anymore i have used them for years.i am using turbo tax next year.

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avatar Marilyn

And for myself and many other’s Christmas. Imagine our surprize as each of us call for an appointment . expecting to be put into the swing of things that Christmas bring’s just to find out that instead we will be Christmas bystander’s.

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avatar Nita

Sounds like you’ve never STRUGGLED!

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avatar MikeB

I can see why refund anticipation loans are so popular, but it isn’t just a tax time thing. My wife manages a call center and is often approached by employees who tell her if she can’t give them a pay advance they will not come in the following day because they can not afford enough gas for the commute to work. She is confronted with requests and even demands every week. These people need help not just with managing money, but many of the events that are going on in their lives.

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avatar Lisa

I’m wondering why your wife is even discussing office matters with you, some office manager she is! You and your wife have some nerve and that sounds like a bunch of bologna, the thing about employees refusing to come into work if they cant get a payday loan; guess you’ve never had to struggle, get over yourself! Did you think that may the employees could afford gas if those payday loan places paid their employees more money… They only pay them like minimum wage! Yes I’ve seen what they pay before in hiring ads.

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avatar brianahasmoney ♦367 (Nickel)

That’s crazy! I just heard a commercial about it this morning, so I guess they didn’t get to inform the media about it yet.

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avatar msoand ♦110 (Cent)

I am glad they stopped this practice. As one previous poster mentioned, they should stop these loans across the board and not aimed at just HSBC. I have always tried to convince people to file electronically and wait the 3 weeks. Even with being lump sum amounts, it is money you did not have, so don’t make plans until you actually receive it. It has been hard to get people to change their habits or way of thinking about their money. I must admit, I used it once and it was an emergency that I needed the funds. Even with the emergency, I took some time to weigh the options of going Rapid Refund or just waiting for my 3 week check from the IRS. I was able to convince a few because they were having to wait the 3 weeks for the other half from the IRS after they filed a RAL loan.

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avatar bmeighan ♦130 (Cent)

To msoand… By using tax software like TurboTax, you should get your refund in about 10 days when you electronically file and select direct deposit. It should never be as long as 3 weeks. 3 weeks may be the case when you efile and request a check.

Bob Meighan
VP, TurboTax

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avatar Wen

I used Turbo Tax this year, it was accepted on Feb 15, 2011. Still no info on the IRS refund site and it is Mar. 3, 2011. I called and they haven’t even started processing my refund yet.

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avatar Bob Meighan

Wen… TurboTax cannot control the speed at which the IRS processes the returns. If you were accepted on 2/15, that means you were caught in the huge backlog of returns that were stockpiled pending the update of the IRS systems for the late December tax legislation. Even with that backlog, you should be receiving your refund within days. If not, contact the IRS.

Bob Meighan
VP, TurboTax

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avatar alex

ive been using turbotax for 3 years e very time i use them it takes over 3 weeks to get my refund… i am waiting right now for my refund that was supposed to be here on the 25.. today is the 27th and i was told i wont get it until the 20th of february now. Not a check either a direct deposit

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avatar t

This does not make sense. The RAL is an option for many people. Eliminating this option is not protecting the consumer but rather restricting. Yes these are high APR loans. Yet they are short loans that accumalate to 50 dollar fees to have a few thousand in hand, instead of waiting a couple weeks for the IRS to give you your money back. A succesful RAL i do not see as a problem. The only issue occurs when the IRS does not issue a refund after a RAL has been approved.

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avatar rus

HR Block may not have a RAL to offer but they do have a Emerald Loan. Not to be confused with the Emerald Loan line of credit that is offered befoe Christmas thru Jan the 14. On jan the 14 HR Blosk will be offering the Emerald loan for customers that are in need of some fast money!

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avatar Bob

Yes they will offer the Emerald Loan BUT I am told the approval rate will be only 20% as compared to the 60% for the Emerald Advance line of credit. They will be using your Beacon Credit Score which is really going to limit the amount of people that qualify. Consumers using a RAL do not usually have the best credit. Very good marketing ploy on Blocks part to pull in consumers for tax preparation that may have hesitated because on no RAL. Hey we can offer you a Emerald Loan, and then AFTER they do your taxes turn you down for this new loan. They will lose allot of customers that way.

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avatar Bob

WOW!!!! HR Block has delayed the Emerald Loan due to some sort regulatory problem, so they are saying. They have marketed this product in their offices and on their own Tax Forum website. They are now stating it may be delayed a week or more with some offices now saying they may not have the program at all. I honestly must say this is very suspect. All the offices were religiously stating come back to the office on January 14th or January 15th to apply for this Emerald Loan. Amazing that anyone that did their taxes before this time, their taxes would have been transmitted to the IRS early on January 14th therefore not allowing them to change their minds and not use Block for their taxes. I have a good friend that is a CPA that is calling this a bait and switch by Block to retain some of their RAL customers they lost. I do not know if I would go as far as saying that, but it is very close.

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avatar Sandra

I am one who uses the RAL and it doesn’t cost you anymore than any other loan what costs you the most are the fees that the tax preparer charges just for doing your taxes. And, no I do not use the RAL because I live paycheck to paycheck and I do have a ban account, 6 to be exact. I get a refund because it is money the goverment owes me, yes they actually owe me sand if you take time to look at things that yoy could “write off” or receive credits for they could possibly owe you! Stop humiliating people because the only reason you know so much about these loans is because you get them yourself??? I have only saw two people that wrote something on this blog that are taxpreparers.

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avatar faithfueledbennetts ♦264 (Nickel)

Wow, I had never heard of a RAL until now. It sounds like the Payday Advance places. I recently listened to a heated debate on the radio about these types of loans and why they are not illegal. It is obviously a prey on the weak and needy in hopes that the repayment cannot be made in order to make the business tons of money at the expense of an already down and out person. I understand that people have free will & make the choice to take the loan out on their own, but the scale of probability seems unbalanced for the consumer’s success.

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avatar tigernicole86 ♦55 (Newbie)

Honestly, one of these was just like a payday loan. Except maybe worse. You never really knew what you were getting back. May as well just have used a credit card.

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avatar msuizzofan

I believe this is a result of the consent order signed by HSBC as a result of examination by the office of the comptroller – HSBC was cited for noncompliance of the Bank Secrecy Act in a 29 page consent decree on 10/6/2010. My guess is that no one at HSBC made the connection that the RAL loans would be subject to the BSA, but as wire transfers, would be. Interesting reading

http://www.occ.treas.gov/news-issuances/news-releases/2010/nr-occ-2010-121a.pdf

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avatar Christina

We went into do our taxes not knowing that H&R block stopped the RAL. We waited an hour to get into our appointment then another hour to do our taxes with the woman. We wanted the RAL because I just got a job and we were needing a second car asap. Well no one ever mentioned that the RAL had been stopped at all. We had done this the previous year as well because my husband was not opposed to paying $500 to get our own money back. I was leaning towards waiting for the direct deposit. Anyways back to the story… So she was flipping through pages on the pc and having us sign stuff. She asked how we wanted our money: check, direct deposit, or emarld card. We told her how then I noticed they all said 8-15 days. So I said wait you guys aren’t doing the 1-2 day money anymore? She as just like no the federal goverment changed the rules so we can’t do that anymore. However, you will get your money in 8 -15 days. After spending two hours there we were just like whatever fine. However, I think this practice was very dishonest and they should be letting customers know before hand. Next year we will be using a new tax service.

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avatar nikki

I hear ya, we went thru the same thing. If i would have known that b4hand, I would have done them myself, for free. Curious if you got your refund yet. We filed on Jan. 15. H&R Block told us our refund date was the 28th. Got on the Irs website a day later and it said Feb. 1, couple days later check again and it’s changed to the 8th. We claim EIC and get quite a large amount back so I know they check it to make sure, but damn, makes me angry, you sure don’t see no delays in them takin’ the money out of your paycheck, I want my money back now! lol

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avatar nikki

lol I just thought of this, we’ll probably all get letters in the mail stating, “Due to the poor economy,and the fact we’re too busy takin’ care of other countries, we don’t have your money. We spent it on feeding starving children in Africa, we’ll get ya’ back when they get jobs”…….STILL WANT MY MONEY! lol

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avatar Blessed

Really… Starving people in Africa is all that you could come up with. Hmmm

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avatar fred`

If you file EIC then you didn’t have much if any witheld for federal taxes anyway.

I just don’t understand the concept of anyone who doesn’t have to pay ANY federal taxes to this country, and then receives EIC on top of it. I worked for Block for three years and quit because I couldn’t stand it anymore to watch people make up 1099′s for income when I knew it was fradulent. They hit the sweet spot at around 14,500, and claim NO witholding. They walk out with 5000 dollars. All tax payers should pay something to this country. My experience says that over 50% of the EIC claims are fradulent.

A flat tax whereas everyone pays 10% (even you so called poor people), with NO credits is the way to stop the cheating.

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avatar fred`

The reason a lot of returns were witheld is because of identity theft investigations. They are rampant in the beginning of the filing season. That delayed the refunds at least a week in most cases.

Just flat tax it… and eliminate credits and deductions. There is just too much fraud in preparing and filing taxes.

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avatar Liz

thats exactly what happened to us I am sooooo furious I want nothing to do with HR Block again we were told 8-15 days now the website says an extra 4 days my question is WTH did we pay for a bank fee if we dont even get our money asap or with in those 8-15 days we are at 8 days now
My sis filed hers the next day via efile and got hers back yesterday i think it was

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avatar Ray

The problem with the loans and check is, what happens if your refund is held up. If it costa you 500 dollars to get your money in 2 days, how much will it cost you if your return gets looked at?
I’ve had my returns held up for MONTHS after the IRS sent me a letter saying we are looking at your return closer. I ended up getting more money than my prepairer requested, but had to wait months. If the gov is giving you back more than your prepairer is asking it’s time for a new prepairer, but that’s another story. Thank god for turbo-Tax, I do it myself now.

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avatar Nita

I did not know HR & Block stopped (RALs)!!! I am so upset right now, because I have been using that service for years. My tax preparer failed to share that (IMPORTANT) information with me until right after she completed and submitted my taxes. I stated I want to do the RAL this year, and she decided to tell me HR & Block no longer does them!!! Instead, she charged me almost $400.00 just to make a fool of me. * If I knew this important information, I would have gone to Jackson Hewitt!!!

***HR& Block, please let people know you no longer do RALs upfront, before tricking your clients.

REAL people don’t have money to throw away like that!!!

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avatar Nita

I did not know H&R Block stopped (RALs)!!! I am so upset right now, because I have been using that service for years. My tax preparer failed to share that (IMPORTANT) information with me until right after she completed and submitted my taxes. I stated I want to do the RAL this year, and she decided to tell me HR & Block no longer does them!!! Instead, she charged me almost $400.00 just to make a fool of me. * If I knew this important information, I would have gone to Jackson Hewitt!!!
***H&R Block, please let people know you no longer do RALs upfront, before tricking your clients.
REAL people don’t have money to throw away like that!!!

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avatar maria

what do you mean REAL people you where the fool that paid the fee and pays for it every year and is now mad because you cant throw away your money LOL check yourself.

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avatar Cathleen

Maria- Actually, H&R block is charging the same price for their 8-15 refund that they use to on their 1-2 day return. So, yes it can be a little aggravating. There are times that people really need that money to make it. I don’t think anyone has a right to judge what others spend THEIR money on. Even if it is fee to get it quicker! Just saying!

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avatar DarkElfa

I’ve been reading complaints like the last few all morning. H&RB isn’t telling its customers that the RAL is gone until the end of the session and then telling the customer one of several confusing lies to make it seem as if RAL’s aren’t available anywhere.

Someone from the Justice Department needs to get right on this crap. H&RB is abusing client trust and lying to their faces.

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avatar Man

Funny how the same people who protest people CHOOSING a RAL are the same one’s you support FORCING higher taxes on responsible citizens. Land of the free, indeed.

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avatar DonnaFreedman ♦45 (Newbie)

@Sandra: You may be eligible for free income tax prep and advice:
http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=107626,00.html
As for your comment that the RAL interest is no worse than the tax preparation fees…Why would you want to hand over not just the fees, but the usurious interest rate for an RAL?
I

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avatar Abby Freedman ♦137 (Cent)

Good! These were terrible, terrible products. I winced every time mentioned using this.

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avatar Tammy Zurkammer

I have gotten RAL’S @ H&R block for years and I only paid 50 or so more bucks to have my money in November.They averaged my annual income from my paystub and approximately how much I’d be getting back and loaned me a percent of the money on an Emerald card which was available as quickly as I walked out the door!! I was a single mom that had kids to buy Christmas for and Thanksgiving dinner to provide and barely had the money to get by let alone make sure my children had a wonderful holiday. I am disappointed they wont be offering it this year because I would pay 50-60 bucks to do it again this year.

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avatar Cathleen

Tammy, They are still doing the advanced line of credit! Call your local office and find out more. I live in Texas and I have an appt set up for Nov. 29th. I understand exactly what you are talking about. That is the only way that my children get christmas every year. We live paycheck to paycheck, and I would rather pay the fees then to have to think about what could happen if that service wasn’t available. Yes there are programs out there that help get Christmas for your kids, but I would rather try and get it myself. It’s our money anyway, so nobody else has a right to tell us what to do with it! Hope that yall have a wonderful Christmas!!!

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avatar shurrie

For my family this means my children will not have a Christmas nor birthdays this year. I have a Dec. 3 and a Jan 17th birthday for my little ones. This is the only way I could afford gifts, as we we live paycheck to paycheck. I have two jobs and my husband has one. But I also take care of my disabled mother in my home. This will definatly be a hard time for us now.

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avatar Cathleen

Call your local office. As far as I know they are still doing the advanced line of credit. This is different from the RAL.

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avatar Lisa

I am a single parent and yeah the fees are more then crazy but if it wasnt for that loan I would have lost everything I worked so hard for.. Dealing with afew on going help problems have made it so I have been missing work.. Times are hard for alot of people.. Some do use the money one BS but then again others do need the money for bills and what not.. Not everyone has that perfect job, husband or wife, that picture perfect life.. But like I say I dont always do what I want but will always do what I gotta do and if that means pay them money to make sure Iam able to keep my son taken care of.. Well to me he is worth more then aything and I will do what I gotta do

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avatar maria

Amen and I totally understand where your coming from, I wish you the best and every family that has a need for the loans , you are not alone out there. People with money really dont know how hard it is and what a lot of us have to face , its not that we dont want to wait , A lot of us just cant. The only way I would use this loan now would be because of lack of food or a important bill other than that Christmas and birthdays can wait, they come every year.

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avatar gena

I am so upset I just heard that this service/product has ended. My family has been taking advantage of this service for a few years now. We have had the worst luck over the past five years and was one way we could provide a little something for x-mas for our children. Despiste the fees…. We have lost a tremendous amount as a family. Went into complete financial distress paying for care for a family member with cancer, then lost several jobs due to lay offs…. our home and have sold everything we owned (including wedding rings) just get a roof over our head at a Budget Suites.. Now it really sucks to know now we cant even get a measly $500 out of our return for some things to give to our kids.. Life is great… (not at all), And before all of this happened to us over the past five years, we never had a late payment, bad credit or a need for a RAL…………..

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avatar Cathleen

Try to call your local office. The RAL is different from the advanced line of credit. You migh be able to still get your family Christmas and I wish you the best of luck.

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avatar gena

You know we have so many financial issues in our countrty. freedome is a loose term.

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avatar laura

I am a single mother of 2 and I have used the Emerald Advanced loan for years now. It is a wonderful thing for those of us who have kids and need that little server of cash right before Christmas. If it wasn’t for the loan I am able to recieve every year I wouldn’tbe able to afford to buy presents and pay my bills. I work 55 hour weeks and I still struggle. So I appreciate the loan. I don’t mind the fees.

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avatar Tasha

how soon does this loan start? I have three kids and sick of all the grief people think they have the right to give over this issue

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avatar laura

I called h&r block. They will be offering this loan. Starting December 1st.

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avatar Tasha

My question is, how does did this guy know back in march that HR block wasnt doing there christmas loan anymore? So when I call them monday thats what there going to tell me, because I am going to call them. And if they are doing it. I was this nutt job and his advice off the web. If i am wrong then ill retract

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avatar christina hansen

Emerald Advance Line of Credit
Promotional period ends 1/16/2012. Available to H&R Block Bank customers in good standing (except those with an IRA only) and individuals who paid H&R Block or its franchisee for 2010 tax return preparation. H&R Block Emerald Advance® line of credit and H&R Block Emerald Savings® are offered through and H&R Block Emerald Prepaid MasterCard is issued by H&R Block Bank, a Federal Savings Bank, Member FDIC, and are all trademarks of HRB Innovations, Inc. Line of credit is subject to credit and underwriting approval. Fees apply. If you apply and qualify for an Emerald Advance, H&R Block Bank may report information about your account to credit bureaus. Late payments, missed payments, or other defaults on your account may be reflected in your credit report. Products offered only at participating offices. MasterCard is a registered trademark of MasterCard International Incorporated. ©2011

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avatar Yvon

This is very very disappointing.
I have been getting my taxes done by H&R for 15 years now and use that money for Christmas shopping. I am disabled so it does not come easy for me.

I am totally screwed now this Christmas since i just found out about this over the phone with H&R block today!

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avatar laura

I got my emerald advanced card today. The fees are the same.

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avatar amanda

I just called my h&r block and they are doing the holiday loans at least they are in my area so I would double check if you were wanting to do it

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avatar Trisha

Yes 2011 holiday loan have started, But! HR doing credit checks on your money if credit bad no loans no Xmas for me this year they just turned me down because of credit been with HR for over 15 years and did the emeral loan for last 3 years never had a problem so upset gotta make a plan gotta had Xmas

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avatar amanda

yea and you also had to have done your taxe returns in the store with them last year. I did them online threw h&r block and i was turned down because I did them online not in the store :(

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avatar amanda

yea and you also had to have done your tax returns in the store with them last year. I did them online threw h&r block and i was turned down because I did them online not in the store :(

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avatar Courtnay

What I hate about the anticipation loans and I SERIOUSLY think needs to be addressed is the fact the parents who are in debt in child support can use the refund loan methods to receive their return without the amount being collected by child support to pay their debt. So not only are the parents commiting fraud by doing that there isnt a check system to prevent them for getting their full return when they file. So they lie to the tax agent and get their money and their children still go without. NOW I hows right mind is that in any way right??!!!!!!!

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avatar Greta

Courtnay, That’s not true. The return is processed by the IRS, and if the IRS keeps a portion of their refund to pay debt such as child support, then the bank (HSBC) would go after them to repay the loan. This product in no way would keep their refund from going to pay back child support.

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avatar Latricia

I am thoroughly disgusted with h&r block, i too was not told that i would not get my funds back fast until they had processed my information and still charged me like i was still receiving a RAL. The government should have made us aware of the problems with h&r block. I have used them for 16 years, but never again, damn crooks…..

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