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Alternatives to tax refund advances

Don't want to pay to have your taxes prepared? Miss the deadline? Consider one of these options instead.

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While several tax preparation companies offer 0% APR advances on your refund, that doesn’t mean they’re free. You usually still have to pay to have your taxes prepared, which can be upwards of $250 depending on how complex they are. And most have deadlines some time in February. If you missed the cutoff date, your refund is on the smaller side or you just don’t want to pay to have your taxes prepared, consider these alternatives instead.

Personal loans

Personal loans are a good choice if you have one or two large expenses you want to pay for but your tax refund won’t cover it. Rates are typically low for borrowers with good to excellent credit, and you can find amounts up to $100,000.

Pay advance apps

Pay advance apps are ideal if you frequently find yourself short on cash between paychecks. They’re a low-cost way to get an advance on the hours you’ve already worked, and many can transfer funds into your bank account the same day you apply. Most of these apps also don’t take your credit score into consideration, meaning they can be a good option if you’ve struggled to stay on top of your bills in the past.

Installment loans

Installment loans can be helpful if you aren’t able to get an advance on your tax refund and need money fast. Most lenders are willing to work with borrowers of all credit types, and many offer next-day funding. Just watch out for high rates and fees that can lead to APRs in the triple digits.

Payday loans

If you only need a small amount and don’t have the money to professionally file your taxes, a payday lender can help you get up to $500 quickly. But these loans are expensive — so consider a pay advance first.

3 credit unions that offer low-cost payday alternative loans instead

Read more about these alternatives

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