01-22-2014 03:09 PM
Next year, I will also be going to another tax preparer. What I learned the hard way is that, unlike the old Rapid Refund system (which was awesome, by the way), the Emerald Card requires a credit check. Now, if they're doing a credit check, they can see whether whatever is on your credit report has anythihg to do with defaulted loans, back due bills from H&R Block or its subsidiaries, or any federal program. None of that is on my credit report. Mostly what's on there are medical bills, like many Americans. Now, not only does HRB NOT tell you that they're adding another hit to your credit report until you've actually signed the paper to get the card, but the statement "not available to all persons" is misleading -- especially when neither the commercials nor the website make clear indications that a credit check is part of the deal. I have been an HRB customer for many years and I have always defended the fees charged for tax filing. I thought it was a worthwhile investment. I have always recommended that my friends use HRB. Not anymore. In my opinion, if you all know how much I will be getting back and, therefore, know that you will receive your payment before my refund even hits my bank account, then there is no reason for you to add another hit to my credit history. The most you all should do is to see if I owe HRB, its subsidiaries, and/or the federal government, as those are the only three entities that may affect my ability to pay you. But alluding to the fact that if you are due a refund of a certain amount, you qualify for the Emerald Card is just plain misleading and it shows that HRB has no interest in anything but bringing people into the office so that extra filing fees can be collected by HRB agents.
Next year, anything but HRB for me, and I'm making sure that all my friends know that they were initially right and that they should definitely go with another firm.
01-22-2014 05:38 PM
Hi JacksonEY0725 -
I am sorry to hear that you had an unpleasant experience. First I would like to point out that I think you may be confusing the Emerald Card with the Emerald Advance, which is a loan product from HR Block Bank. The Emerald Advance does take credit worthiness into account when making a decision on whether a client is approved or not. They look at a few different things, such as credit, debt to income ratio, estimated tax return amount, etc. This is a loan product and is not directly related to your tax return. In other words, it is not an "advance" on your refund the way the Rapid Refund was. It is it's own separate product and is treated as such. Hopefully this helps explain the Emerald Advance in better detail.
01-22-2014 07:23 PM
I just thought I would add a link to the Emerald Advance line of credit terms and conditions which state clearly on the first page that a credit check will be done by requesting information from one of the credit reporting agencies. This is necessary because unless you have an Emerald Savings Account open at H&R Block Bank, the line of credit loan is unsecured. Although you have the option to file your return at H&R Block and pay down the Emerald Advance with a portion of your federal tax refund, it is not mandatory that you do so.
It was the federal government agencies (Office of the Comptroller being one) that mandated federally insured banks could no longer funds loans secured by federal tax refunds thus ending the ability to offer Refund Anticipation Loans a few years ago.
Anyway, here is the above mentioned link:
Tax Professional (Retired)