QuickBooks maker Intuit and American Express now offer eligible preparers the option of putting some clients’ IRS refunds on a new American Express Serve Card, a reloadable prepaid account.

The plan, open to preparers using ProSeries and Lacerte Software, allows preparers to register clients for a Serve Account during the prep process. Clients can receive their eligible IRS refund onto their card as soon as the IRS transfers the funds.

CeCe Morken of Intuit's Professional Tax Division called the option a chance for preparers to grow their practice and for clients to avoid check-cashing fees.

Stefan Happ of AmEx said the program also allows clients access to such features as the ability to set money from a refund aside for future purchases in a linked account.

When preparers renew or purchase ProSeries and Lacerte, they can enroll to offer their clients the service. Eligible clients receive a Serve card as soon as they are registered by the preparer and their application approved.

Serve reloadable prepaid accounts don't require a credit check. They include free ATM withdrawals nationwide, free direct deposit, and online bill pay, among other features.

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