It’s a short-term loan worth $250, $500, $750, $1,250 or $3,500 depending on your refund amount

H&R Block’s Refund Advance

If you need your refund now, you may want to consider filing with H&R Block. H&R Block offers something it calls Refund Advance. So if you expect a refund of $600, you can apply for a $500 refund advance. It is available from .

H&R Block charges no interest on the loan. There also aren’t any finance charges or fees. All you need to do is complete a loan application. (The loan is an offer from MetaBank, N.A. Member FDIC.) You will receive the funds for your loan, in most cases, on the same day that the bank approves your application. The loan will be on an H&R Block Emerald Prepaid Mastercard.

There are just a couple of caveats. One is that you will need to file your taxes in person at an H&R Block store. Refund Advance is not available for online filers. The second thing to keep in mind is that you will need to pay for the tax-filing service. This is more expensive in person than it is online. You may pay $200 or more just for the filing, depending on the complexity of your return.

TurboTax’s Tax Prepaid Visa Card

TurboTax offers all of its online filers the option to receive their refund on a Turbo Prepaid Visa Card. Filers who want an advance on their refund can opt to receive a Turbo Prepaid Visa Card with cash advance. You simply choose the cash advance option when you e-file your taxes and then fill out a loan application. (The refund advance loan is an offer from First Century Bank, N.A., Member FDIC.)

If approved, you will receive a cash advance in the amount of $250, $500, $750, $1,000, $1,500, $2,000, $2,500, $3,000, $3,500 or $4,000. There is no interest and there are no loan fees. After the IRS accepts your return and after your loan application gets approved, you will receive your prepaid card, in the mail, in 5-10 business days. It’s worth mentioning that the majority of e-filers will receive a refund from the IRS in just 14 to 21 days, so you might not get the refund advance much faster than you would have received your refund.

Bottom Line

A tax refund loan is a short-term loan that you can use to get the value of your federal income tax refund just a bit sooner. They are popular for people who claim the EITC and need a little help making ends meet early in the year.

However, tax refund loans are not the best option for most people because they are very expensive. After deducting all fees and interest, you may have to pay 10% or more of your refund just to get a loan for a couple of weeks. If you really need some financial help, consider getting a refund advance instead. Tax filing services like H&R Block and TurboTax offer big advances at little or no cost to you.

If you are looking for a loan that lasts more than a couple of weeks, a tax refund loan is not the best choice for you. It also may not be a good idea if you suspect for some reason that you won’t be able to pay back the loan in full (such as if the lender offers a loan worth slightly more than your refund, and you don’t know if you’ll be able to pay back the difference).

  • Find a free refund advance. Tax filing services are one of the biggest lenders for tax refund loans. These services usually call them refund advances and offer them mostly as a way to entice new customers. The result has been that some refund advance loans are very cheap or even free. Below are two free refund advance loans you should consider.