Tax refund reloadables

Here’s an interesting development.  Two leading tax preparation firms, H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt, are each offering prepaid reloadable cards as an option for receiving tax refunds.  What’s really interesting about this is that both cards can be reloaded with Vanilla Reload cards.  And, unlike most other Vanilla Reloadable prepaid cards, these have no transaction fees and no monthly fees (with the Jackson Hewitt card, you do need to load at least $1K per month to avoid fees, though).

VanillaReload

One advantage of the H&R Block card is that it appears to have a true bill pay function (but with a 95 cent per payment fee).  On the other hand, you apparently have to go beg for this card in-person.  Meanwhile, the Jackson Hewitt card is available for free online, but its bill pay function is severely limited.

To accommodate these cards, I’ve updated my Vanilla Reloadables page (which can be found under my “Gift Cards” menu).  That page now has details about all of the cards I’m familiar with that can be reloaded with Vanilla Reload cards.  I’ve removed the Mio card from that page since it is no longer available.  If you have bookmarked the page in the past, please update your bookmark as the web address has changed.

Hat tip to the Free-quent Flyer Blog and to Personal Finance Digest.

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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Comments

  1. I just signed up for the Jackson-Hewitt card. I figure at worst it is fairly similar to amex-prepaid cards… can get $500 from ATM for $2.50, which is fairly reasonable for my needs, although I don’t like the monthly fee if my needs change and I want to shelf this card.

    I looked at their billpay. It looks identical to the billpay options I see for my new momentum card. I saw no credit cards.

  2. Interesting, but why would anyone do this? Not meant to be a smart aleck, just wondering.
    Beans are generally used for cc spend manufacturing, why put a tax refund on them? Is there a way to accumulate points/miles from this?

  3. It’s always nice to have another option, but the Jackson Hewitt card seems to be serviced by the same companies that service the MVD card, a company that many of us have found difficult to work with. The underlying bank issuing the card is different, but I’m not sure whether that really makes it better.

  4. Maybe I’m missing something here but what is the point. I’d rather just have the cash. There is no spend being met and I don’t get miles for using these. All I would do is turn around and pay my bills with them which I can do better and cheaper with cash.

  5. Use caution with these types of loadable cards. They are garbage and they love to lock your money up and ask for verification and proof that you are you. The VRs are great the cards they are loaded on are complete garbage.

  6. Just a warning. I had both of these. They locked up my account within a week and it took several weeks for me to get my money back.

  7. Could you discuss the limitations of the Jackson Hewitt bill pay? In poking around the JH site, I could not find any bill pay specifics.

    Thanks.

    • They have a limited list of billers that you can pay. I assume they are all companies that accept credit card payments anyway. So, while there might be other good uses for the JH Preferred card, its bill pay function isn’t one of them.

  8. JH closed my account as soon as I loaded 5k onto it over two days, without even trying to withdraw anything. Another person I know also got the card closed on him after loading 5k (albeit at smaller pace). Useless garbage.

    With HRB card, IF the office has temp cards and IF they let you get one without doing taxes (very big ifs), get ready to deal with screwed up card as few people in those “offices” actually know how to set it up properly.

  9. I posted this on milesabound blog:

    I’d like to report the quickest in and out shut down ever.

    I somehow got approved for this (friends of mine who had been booted from MVD a few times were never verified) and I got my card ten days later. I then loaded $5k VR – a few a day and then my last batch of max $2500 in one shot. They load faster because it’s better connected than BB. You will actually notice this.

    I decided to CA the whole thing and leave the $5 fee they say they charge for this. My plan was to load er up once more to $5k and do it again, then be done, seeing as how they’d probably be done with me.

    I was close on this prediction!

    I did the CA and logged on that night. No good. Could not get in. Called. Could not get anything. Had to battle with a lengthy hidden phone tree to finally reach a nice US based CSR. She told me, “Well sir this card is designed to be loaded and used over time for regular purchases and you just loaded it up fast and then wd the money. You cant do that.” I said, ok fine but ma’am can you tell me exactly where that is in the TCs? It’s not there isn’t it? She said no. We didnt argue but she got what I was saying. I said they really ought to TELL PEOPLE that you cant do that, otherwise why cant you? very Paypal of them. Very Incomm/Bancorp (which is who JH partnered with to set up this very card, as it has the Vanilla logo on the back too).

    In the end she told me I could spend down the $5 but when I tried it was a no go. I had planned to let them have it anyway and so done I am.

    Another ft friend did the same thing and got shut down too. It was done after $5k anyway. And a third CAd after only $2500 planning to load more and he got shut down after the first $2500 CA. So he should have loaded more.

    You wouldn’t want your money held up by these guys, because then you have to fax in this or that, or FDIC them and wait. I would suggest avoiding this card or only really planning on floating if you have the ability.

  10. I got my taxes loaded onto the JH preferred card. I can use my card so far while out just fine..But trying to do anything online is not working at all. This really sucks!

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