It's that time of year where everyone who's given the government a free loan is looking to get that money back. One of the largest tax preparers in the country has figured out another way for you to get your money fast. H&R Block has come out with an Emerald Card Mastercard. When you have your taxes done at a H&R Block tax office, you can choose to have your refund put directly on the debit card. This is may be good idea for those that do not have a bank account. If you have a bank account in good standing, you can save money by having your refund deposited directly into your existing checking or savings account for free.

The debit card is free to get but you will pay the following fees:

  • Withdraw money from an ATM - $1.85 each in addition to any charges the ATM owner may charge.
  • Balance Inquiry - $1.00 per inquiry at an ATM. Free if you check online.
  • Speak with a live customer service agent - $2.00
  • Card lost or stolen - $10.00 replacement fee
  • Paper Statement - $1.00
  • Express Delivery for your card - $35.00
  • Of course, there is no fee to add additional money on your card.
If you would like to get your money throughout the year and not give the government a free loan, you can adjust your W-4 witholdings on your paycheck. Not sure what W-4 holdings are? Here is a great explanation from Kiplingers and a link to the IRS website.

Note: I am not advocating this card and I am not affiliated with H&R Block.
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4 comments

  1. Chitown // January 10, 2008 at 9:50 AM  

    Wow...This sounds like a horrible idea and just another way for them to collect fee income.

  2. Money Blue Book // January 10, 2008 at 11:52 AM  

    Terrible terrible idea...everyone should direct deposit the refund into their savings account. Why would you start spending it right away? A debit card only encourages this extra spending
    -Raymond

  3. RacerX // January 10, 2008 at 12:16 PM  

    Meanwhile H&R gets the interest on your money. This is too replace all of the Rapid Refund penalties they got hit with last year!

    If you don't have a bank account, you probably don't need to pay $30 to have your taxes done either :)

  4. the Prince of Thrift // January 10, 2008 at 3:47 PM  

    I agree Chitown, it sounds like a horrible idea because it is a horrible idea. The sears spin off (H & R Block) is just out to make money for themselves. It is another deviation into predatory lending.