bank rates credit cards insurance finance calculators

Get Your Tax Refund On A Debit Card

If you have your taxes prepared by H&R Block and are due a refund, you can get your money on a prepaid debit card that carries no monthly fees.

Of course, getting your refund via debit card is unnecessary.

But if you’re in the market for a prepaid card anyway, the Emerald Prepaid MasterCard appears to be one of the cheapest options — as long as you don’t use an ATM.

Unlike most prepaid cards, like the Suze Orman debit card we recently reviewed, there is no up-front set-up fee, no monthly fee — unless you stop using it — and no fee for direct deposit.

The ATM withdrawal fees are fairly high, but if you use the card for spending, it should be nearly cost-free.

Here’s a look at the details of this prepaid debit card:

Card purchase fee None
Monthly fee None. However, there is a $2.50 per month fee if the card is inactive for three consecutive months.
Domestic ATM withdrawal fees $2.50 per transaction for withdrawals, $1.00 for balance inquiries.
Other features Free direct deposit; FDIC insured.
Verdict Used wisely, this prepaid card is one of the better values on the market. However, once you get your tax refund, you might be better off cutting it up.

When you have your taxes completed at a participating H&R Block tax office, you can choose to have your tax refund loaded onto the card. There’s no charge for that.

According to Block, it usually takes eight to 15 days for the funds to be available. This is the same amount of time it will take to get your refund via check or direct deposit.

After you get your refund, you can continue using the card to pay for things wherever MasterCard is accepted.

To do that, the best way to load the card is through direct deposit of all or part of your paycheck. That’s free.

You can also add funds to the card at places like Green Dot, MoneyGram and Western Union, but they generally charge about $4.50 per load.

Money loaded onto the card is FDIC-insured.

On the negative side, the ATM fees are rather high. Cash withdrawals cost $2.50 each, plus $1 for balance inquiries. In addition, the ATM operator may charge its own fees, unless you use an ATM operated by AllPoint, which doesn’t charge a fee.

While there’s no monthly fee, there is a monthly inactivity fee: If you don’t use the card for three consecutive months, you may be charged $2.50 per month after that if you don’t use the card.

So, if the only reason you get the card is to get your refund and don’t want to use it anymore, make sure you cancel the card immediately afterward to avoid that charge.

In addition to getting this card at an H&R Block office, you can apply for one online.

Don't miss out on the next bank deal. Get the newest deals delivered straight to your inbox!

Comments (2)
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (4 votes, average: 2.75 out of 5)
Loading ... Loading ...
2 Existing Comments
  1. Adum wilson said:
    on February 4th at 09:05 am

    Tax Refund Expert are a UK based company who specialise in reclaiming overpaid tax on behalf of our clients. With over 10 years experience in this field, we make the process of making a claim simple and straight forward. We know from personal experience how difficult it can be as an individual, dealing with the taxman, let alone calculating the maximum tax refund you would be entitled too.We deal with the whole process from start to finish, so all you have to do is complete the tax forms and send to us, with any P45’s/P60’S you may have. We will then do the rest. We will keep you updated weekly so you know where your claim is up to and our average turnaround is 6 to 8 weeks.

    And remember! We offer a completely free no obligation review of your payroll / tax records. We also work on a “No win No Fee” basis so that we will only be paid once you have received your refund.

  2. Brittany Bennington said:
    on March 31st at 03:07 pm

    How the hell do u guys keep business I have been getting screwed around ever since 02/28/2013