Refundo, a provider of low-cost tax-related bank products, has inked a deal with “socially responsible” San Francisco-based lender LendUp to couple short-term loans with Refundo's refund-processing platform for tax professionals.
The companies bank on IRS estimates that last fall’s government shutdown and the subsequent delayed start to tax season might delay refunds by up to two weeks in 2014.
Refundo helps preparers set up bank accounts for clients to process refunds. “By offering LendUp loans to their customers, Refundo is further enabling the under-banked to access dignified financial products while they wait for their tax returns,” the companies said in a joint statement.
The delay stands to impact some taxpayers. Last fall, Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, wrote to the IRS and warned that the delay to tax season augured a financial burden to people who count on early tax refunds.
Refundo CEO Roger Chinchilla called the deal “a big win for the communities we serve, which are struggling to make ends meet.” The company also touted the service as a client-attraction and retention tool.
Tax preparers who use Refundo can process LendUp loan applications, which come with instant loan decisions and funding in as little as 15 minutes, while preparing a client’s return, the companies added.
Refundo offers under-banked individuals and families such refund-processing tools as direct deposit, payments to preparers, and for-fee check cashing at such locations as Wells Fargo, Santander, Capital One, BB&T, Bank of the West and Walmart. The company also has a bilingual mobile-banking app and a prepaid Visa card.