H&R Block tax refund advance review
Advances are available until February 28, 2021 — but you can't have it sent to your bank account.
Bottom line: H&R Block is great if you’re expecting a large refund and don’t want to pay interest. You’ll have to have your taxes prepared at H&R Block, but basic services can be as little as $69. But funds are only issued on a prepaid debit card — and one with an ATM withdrawal fee, at that.
|Product name||H&R Block Tax Refund Advance Loan|
|Maximum advance amount||$3,500|
|Minimum advance amount||$250|
|Turnaround||As soon as the same day|
|Tax preparation fee||Starting at $69|
|Application deadline||February 28, 2021|
|Requirements||Sufficient tax refund, appropriate ID|
- 0% APR
- Maximum refund guarantee
- Online application available
- Only issues refund on prepaid debit card
- Low maximum advance of $3,500
- Poor customer reviews
How H&R Block’s tax refund advance works
You won’t pay interest on your refund advance, and funds are placed onto an Emerald Prepaid Mastercard. You can apply at an H&R Block branch from January 4 to February 28, 2021.
There are five loan amounts available — $250, $500, $750, $1,250, $3,500 — and you’ll repay it by check, direct deposit or with your prepaid debit card when you receive your tax refund from the IRS.
H&R Block's maximum refund guarantee
H&R Block also has a maximum refund guarantee. If you get an offer from another tax refund provider for a larger amount, H&R Block will do your tax preparation for free.
But this offer might not be as helpful as it seems. You typically need to use tax preparation services that a company offers to qualify for a refund advance. If you need over $3,500, consider applying for another tax refund advance instead.
How much does it cost?
You won’t pay any interest or fees on your refund advance loan — the APR is 0%. But there will be a tax preparation fee to file your taxes with an H&R Block tax pro. This starts at $69 for federal income taxes, plus an additional fee for state taxes.
It also only issues funds on H&R Block’s Emerald Prepaid Mastercard, which comes with a $3 fee each time you withdraw money from an ATM. Any other fees you may owe aren’t stated on its website, so be sure to discuss them with your H&R Block tax adviser before agreeing to a loan.
How to qualify
You must meet the following requirements to get a tax refund through H&R Block:
- File your tax return through an H&R block office
- Expect a $250 advance or more
- State-issued ID
H&R Block partners with MetaBank to offer its tax refund advance, so you have to meet the bank's underwriting requirements as well. It doesn't disclose what these requirements are, but it runs a soft credit check when you apply.
Will applying affect my credit?
No, MetaBank may check credit when you apply for the advance. But it relies on a soft credit check, which will not affect your credit score.
You can also find alternatives to tax refund advances if none of these services hit what you’re looking for.
H&R Block reviews and complaints
|BBB customer reviews||1.2 out of 5 stars, based on 332 customer reviews|
|Trustpilot Score||1.4 out of 5 stars, based on 446 customer reviews|
|Customer reviews verified as of||08 February 2021|
H&R Block gets mostly negative online reviews. Some customers complain about staff submitting the wrong information on their taxes. Several also report being unable to get through to customer service. And a few mention the high debit card fees.
Compare tax refund advances like H&R Block’s
See how H&R Block stacks up against the competition.
How do I apply?
Before, you could only apply by meeting with a tax adviser in person at an H&R Block location. But to accommodate for the coronavirus outbreak, you can now apply online. Follow these steps to get started:
- Set up an appointment with a tax pro on H&R Block's website.
- File your taxes by meeting in person, online or dropping off your documents in person.
- Apply for a tax refund advance loan through MetaBank.
- Wait for an approval notification through text or email.
You may receive an approval decision and funding on the same day you apply. If approved, your advance funds will be available on a prepaid Mastercard — the H&R Block Emerald Card.
What documents do I need to apply?
H&R Block doesn’t list any specific documents you should bring with you when you apply for a tax refund advance. However, it does state you will need to bring appropriate identification — call ahead to see what types of identification qualify.
Expecting more than $3,500? Read our guide to tax refund advances to compare other options out there.
Frequently asked questions
Answers to common questions about H&R Block's tax refund advance.
Will there be any finance charges or loan fees?
No. H&R Block won’t charge you any fees for borrowing a refund advance loan. However, you may have to pay a tax preparation fee to file your taxes through H&R Block.
Can I get a refund before I file my taxes?
No. To submit an application, you must be prepared to file your tax return with H&R Block — and pay for the tax preparation fee.
Kellye Guinan is a seasoned financial writer with over 500 articles under her belt spanning all things loans from auto to personal to business and everything in between. With four years in the field and five years of research experience, she's able to make complex personal finance decisions easier for anyone to tackle. When she's not up to her knees learning about the latest trends in lending, she spends her time improving her own financial literacy and expertise — and maintaining a Duolingo streak of over 1,300 days.
H&R Block has one of the better tax refund advance deals out there. It comes with a 0% APR and the deadline to apply isn’t until the very end of February. And you can now set up a virtual appointment with a tax pro, instead of visiting an office.
But look for another provider if you want your advance in cash. It only issues funds on a prepaid debit card, which comes with a fee every time you withdraw money from an ATM.
And while many competitors have also increased their tax advance refund amounts in light of COVID-19, H&R Block did not. You should find another tax refund advance if you need to borrow more than $3,500.