Rapid Refunds = Rip-Off

Avoid bank products like rapid or “instant” refunds. These are very costly and the cost is somewhat hidden.

They are costly because you aren’t really getting your refund, but a short term loan. These loans must go through a bank or other intermediary, and they charge a substantial fee. They have risk, because your refund may not be issued. If you owe back taxes, child support, or student loans, your refund will be taken to pay those debts. Or, your refund may be held up unexpectedly due to things beyond your control (e.g., identity theft, someone else claimed your dependent, etc). So the bank fees are substantial.

They are somewhat hidden, buried in your payment, and you might not realize it. If your refund was supposed to be $5400, and their fees are $400, you will only receive $5000. You may think a $5000 is great, and want it right now! But you just paid $400 to get your own money two weeks earlier.

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