If you’re expecting a refund from the IRS this tax season and are looking for a quick way to get cash, a tax refund advance may be just what you need. But be aware of how these loans work to avoid unexpected costs.
There are 4 major tax preparation firms, H&R Block, Jackson-Hewitt and Liberty Tax, aside from self-service TurboTax, that offer tax refund advances, which are essentially loans based on your expected federal refund. TaxSlayer, another online self-service, will launch its version later this month, a spokesperson says.
You can find tax refund advances of up to $3,500 free of fees and interest. You can also get larger advances, up to $7,000, but you’ll pay a high interest rate of more than 35% for those larger loans.
The companies say taxpayers who request a tax refund advance generally get a portion of their refund due within 24 to 48 hours of requesting it. Consumers can sign up now, without waiting, until Jan. 28, when tax filing season begins. (Anticipated taxpayers who do not accept a refund advance and e-file on Jan. 28 can expect to receive their full refunds from the IRS in mid- to late February. Tax refunds will be issued as usual, despite the partial government shutdown, the IRS says.)
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Thanks to modern technology, there is a better solution. Several popular personal finance apps help you get from one payday to the next by giving you access to your paycheck a few days earlier. That way, if it’s the middle of the week and your car battery has just died, you can get the money to cover the repair without having to pay high interest and fees.
Technically, the service these apps offer is not a loan. It’s a payday advance. In other words, it’s a way for you to get paid a little early for work you’ve already done.
It’s the same way a payday loan works, but with one crucial difference: there’s no interest. When you get your paycheck, all that comes out is the $100 you actually received, with no additional $15 or more in interest. Apps make their creators money in a variety of other ways, including tips and monthly fees.
However, lack of interest doesn’t mean there are no downsides. You’re still taking money out of your next paycheck, leaving you with less to pay all the bills. For many, that leads to taking another advance before the next paycheck and another after the check. Eventually, you’re stuck in a cycle. You’re always behind and dependent on the application and the advances it offers to get you through the month.
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The EMV chip card is a card with an embedded chip. They are simple to use and accept, and provide the cardholder with greater convenience and security. These cards can even keep track of purchases, providing retailers and service providers with marketing opportunities.
A chip card looks just like a traditional card, only it has an embedded chip. Instead of swiping your card, you insert your chip card into the terminal to complete the transaction. Your card also works contactless, so you can bring your card up to the cashier when offered the option.
A chip card is like the card you currently have, but it includes a microchip. The chip contains encrypted information, making it extremely difficult to copy or counterfeit the card. Your chip card also has the magnetic stripe on the back, so you can continue to use your card while merchants transition to the new chip-enabled terminals.
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If you are a natural person in business or a sole trader, you and your Representative also represent that your Representative is personally liable for your use of the Services and for your Obligations to Customers, including payment of any amounts due under this Agreement.
You also agree to notify us in writing no later than three days after the occurrence of any of the following: you are subject to a voluntary or involuntary petition, petition or proceeding, receivership or similar action in bankruptcy or insolvency (any of the foregoing, a “Bankruptcy Proceeding”); there is an adverse change in your financial condition; there is a planned or anticipated liquidation or material change in the basic nature of your business; you transfer or sell 25% or more of your total assets, or there is a change in control or ownership of your business or your parent entity; or you receive a judgment, decree or writ of attachment or execution, lien or levy against 25% or more of your total assets.