Wal-Mart customers can pick up their tax refunds in cash

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By Chris Isidore

NEW YORK (CNNMoney – Jan. 20, 2015) — Wal-Mart customers can collect their tax refunds in cash at stores this tax season.

The service is an alternative for taxpayers who otherwise might get refunds via check or direct deposit. Wal-Mart says it won’t charge customers any fee to pick up the cash at its stores, but that tax preparers may charge up to $7 to arrange the payment.

Wal-Mart will certainly benefit from having customers in the store with a fresh infusion of cash.

“It’s always a good thing to have customers in our stores who have jingles in their wallets and their pockets,” said Daniel Eckert, senior vice president for services for Wal-Mart.

Eckert says the service is targeted mostly at customers who don’t have bank accounts. An in-store refund won’t necessarily be faster or cheaper than getting one via direct deposit, he added.

A taxpayer without a bank account can pay as much as $70 in fees to cash a refund check, according to Wal-Mart.

Customers can receive both federal and state refunds from Wal-Mart. They’ll get a confirmation code via email that they’ll have to present at the store, along with identification.

Wal-Mart has an agreement with 25,000 tax preparers to arrange for the in-store refunds. The service is not available to taxpayers who prepare their taxes online themselves.

The average federal refund check this year will come to $2,900, according to Eckert. Wal-Mart will hand out cash refunds of up to $7,500.

“Tax refunds can be one of the largest financial payouts of the year for many of our customers, and the last thing they want is to wait for their refund check to arrive and then spend money on unnecessary fees,” he said.

Jackson Hewitt tax preparers will once again be in more than 3,000 Wal-Mart stores nationwide this tax season. Jackson Hewitt is offering its eligible clients a $50 Wal-Mart gift card when they e-file through a Jackson Hewitt tax preparer.

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