Hoping to help combat economic stress and support financial wellness, H&R Block is introducing a mobile banking platform called Spruce, the company announced Thursday (Jan 20).
According to the press release, this solution from Spruce “will help everyone be good with money,” with a connected debit card and savings account that allows consumers to budget for their goals.
Spruce also offers more financial knowledge to those who need it, helping to maintain financial stability and offering greater access to banking solutions.
According to the release, Spruce was designed to bridge the gap of underbanking and make greater financial inclusion possible, including for the 21 million households that use H&R Block for their tax returns each year.
Some of the benefits of the Spruce associated debit card include the ability to set savings goals, cash back rewards, and no monthly fees. Other features include early paycheck deposits, credit score monitoring, and overdraft protection.
“Spruce is a fintech platform that combines the best features of leading neobanks with the trusted H&R Block brand, our 66-year history, and the insights we’ve gained from helping millions of customers each year,” said Jeff Jones. , president and CEO of H&R Block, said in the statement.
“Our front row seat in American life brings a unique understanding of how to help people do better with money, and we’ve applied those learnings to Spruce. The creation and launch of Spruce is a huge milestone for our company as we continue to execute on our transformation and growth strategy, Block Horizons 2025,” continued Jones.
PYMNTS wrote last year that H&R Block saw more customers want their refunds as quickly as possible, leading more users to use the online filing tool. That said, the disbursement process has not caught up with demand.
See also: H&R Block Meets New Tax Refund Disbursement Expectations with Mobile Prepaid Debit
According to Kathy Pickering, tax director, there is “a huge opportunity for improvement.”
“What we’re seeing is about 80% of tax refunds are issued electronically, which means about 20% is issued by check,” Pickering said. “Now when you look at the other government benefit programs, like Social Security, they issued [disbursements electronically for] 98% [of payments]. That tells you there is a big gap that can be improved.”