H&R Block Refund Advance Loans Review

Please Note: The Refund Advance loan is no longer available through H&R Block.

H&R Block refund advance loans are no-interest loans that provide an advance on your tax return if you choose to file your taxes with H&R Block. These loans are usually offered at the beginning of tax season, and reward filers for getting a head start on their taxes. If you know that you’ll be getting a tax refund back from the government, these loans allow you to access that cash as soon as you file your taxes. However, personal loans are only available through a prepaid MasterCard, so they might not be the most accessible option for all borrowers.

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In this article

    H&R Block at a glance

    LenderMin LoanMax LoanAPR RangeTermsKey Benefit
    H&R Block$250$3,5000%N/AAccess your tax refund faster

    What we like about an H&R Block advance

    H&R block refund advance loans can have your tax refund money to you much sooner than anticipated. These interest-free loans allow borrowers to access their refunds even before the government has processed their taxes and issued a refund. Whether you’re strapped for cash and would prefer not to wait for a check or deposit from the federal government, or are chomping at the bit to spend your refund on an upcoming trip or project, these loans can give you access to your refund that much faster. If you already file your taxes with H&R Block, these loans are a nice perk available to you as a customer.

    • Access your tax refund immediately
    • No interest
    • Good for existing customers

    Things to consider

    While an H&R Block refund advance loan may sound appealing — especially because it’s interest-free — there are a few strings attached. First and foremost, this loan is only available to customers who file their taxes through H&R Block. If you plan on filing your taxes by yourself, by using the services of a professional tax preparer or with another form of tax preparation software, you won’t be eligible for this loan. Also, the refund advance loan is only accessible in the form of a prepaid MasterCard, which can be inconvenient for borrowers who would prefer a direct deposit. Furthermore, there is a small window to be available for the loan. In 2021, customers could only apply for the loan between Jan. 4 and Feb. 28. (You can schedule an appointment for an H&R Block Emerald Advance for 2022 beginning in November 2021.)

    • Funds deposited onto prepaid MasterCard
    • Must file taxes with H&R Block
    • H&R Block fees and additional costs

    What you need to know

    H&R Block offers borrowers who file their taxes through the company an interest-free loan on their tax refund. Loan amounts are offered in $250, $500, $750, $1,250 and $3,500 increments. The loans are interest-free and are available to those who file their taxes early with H&R Block. To qualify for the loan, you must be eligible for a tax return, and H&R Block may also take into account other factors such as your credit score income history. If your application is approved, you may be able to access your funds within a few hours. Repaying the loan is simple, your tax refund will be directed to a Refund Account, from which the loan repayment will be deducted.

    Here’s how to apply for an H&R block tax refund loan

    1. Gather all of the necessary materials for your tax return, including any tax forms and other relevant information.
    2. File your taxes using the services of H&R Block.
    3. See if you’re eligible for a refund.
    4. Apply for a refund advance loan.
    5. If approved, receive funds on a prepaid MasterCard or transferred via check or direct deposit.

    H&R Block fees and penalties

    While H&R Block’s refund advance loans are interest-free, there are a variety of fees associated with the loan. First and foremost, customers must pay to file their taxes with H&R Block before they are eligible to receive a loan. Since the average cost to file a tax return with H&R Block is around $147, this is a significant consideration when filing your taxes, especially if you have a simple tax situation and could perhaps file without the help of expensive software.

    There are also a variety of fees associated with the prepaid MasterCard the loan comes on. These include a $3 ATM withdrawal fee, cashback fees, bill pay fees and inactivity fees. The cost of these fees will vary depending on your financial situation and how you use the card.

    Check Your Personal Loan Rates

    Answer a few questions to see which personal loans you pre-qualify for. It’s quick and easy, and it will not impact your credit score.

    Get Started

    with our trusted partners at Bankrate.com

    H&R Block refund advance loan alternatives

    Jackson Hewitt

    Jackson Hewitt also offers refund advance loans for customers who file their taxes using their tax software with loans of up to $3,200. Like H&R Block, Jackson Hewitt offers fast funding. While borrowers have the option of receiving funds on a prepaid debit card, they can also get the money deposited directly into their bank account.

    TurboTax refund advance

    Owned by bookkeeping giant Intuit, TurboTax is another popular option when it comes to tax preparation software. The company offers refund advance loans of up to $2,000. Similar H&R Block, TurboTax issues loan funds onto a prepaid card. While popular, TurboTax can charge steep fees to file a return if you have a complicated tax situation or extra forms.

    Liberty Tax

    Liberty Tax is another tax preparation service that offers refund advance loans from $500 to $6,250 and are subject to a finance charge. The loan amount will depend on your tac refund and you can file your taxes with Liberty Tax online, or visit a branch location to file your taxes in person.



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    For every review, our editorial team:

    • Identifies five measurable aspects to compare across each brand
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    Here’s a breakdown of the five aspect scores and their rating criteria for our review of the best personal loans of 2020.

    Why do some brands have different SimpleScores on different pages?

    To ensure the SimpleScore is as helpful and accurate as possible, we developed unique criteria for every category we compare at The Simple Dollar. Since most brands offer a variety of financial solutions, their products and services will score differently depending on what we’re scoring on a given page.

    However, it’s also possible for the same product from the same brand to have multiple SimpleScores. For instance, if we compare NetCredit’s personal loans according to our criteria for the best personal loans, it scores a 2.3 out of 5. But when we compare NetCredit according to the criteria for the best bad credit personal loans, it scores considerably higher, since the criteria for the latter review are more lenient (lenders who serve borrowers with bad credit will always offer higher rates, so we needed to adjust our category methodology to account for different industry standards).

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    We looked at the maximum APR for each lender — the lower their maximum rate, the higher their score.

    Loan Size

    We awarded higher scores to lenders with more generous loan sizes.

    Customer Satisfaction

    We leveraged the J.D. Power 2019 Personal Loan Satisfaction Study℠ to see how customers rated their experience with each lender. (If a lender wasn’t included in J.D. Power’s study, we skipped this aspect and averaged the four remaining aspect scores.)


    We awarded higher scores to lenders with the most channels for customer support.


    We looked at the three most common fees — origination, late payment, and pre-payment — and penalized lenders for each fee charged.

    Margaret Wack

    Contributing Writer

    Margaret Wack writes about personal finance, health, wellness, arts and culture, among other topics.