H&R Block Inc. announced that the H&R Block Bank reached its goal of opening one million bank accounts for free nearly three months earlier than expected because of the overwhelming popularity of the prepaid card.
The company expected to reach its goal by the end of tax season - April 17 this year. Instead, the milestone was reached after slightly more than two months of offering the accounts, which can be accessed with the H&R Block Emerald Prepaid MasterCardÂ®.
In those two months, the card has helped H&R Block clients save nearly $30 million on check-cashing fees. The card also provides year-round benefits, such as direct deposit and easy access through a nationwide network of ATMs. Thousands of clients have already taken advantage of adding funds to the account with payroll and other deposits totaling $14 million.
"Nearly 40 percent of our new bank clients did not previously have a checking or savings account," said H&R Block Chairman and CEO Mark. A. Ernst. "This is a solid first step in connecting clients to the financial mainstream and helping them begin a banking relationship."
The FDIC-insured bank account offers unique features to meet the needs of consumers who either don't have a bank account or may not have the same benefits offered through their current checking or savings account. The account features no set-up fees, no overdraft fees, no minimum balance requirement, no transaction fees for purchase and easy bill payment.
"Consumers without bank accounts can spend more than $500 annually on check-cashing and transaction fees," said Kathy Barney, president of H&R Block Bank. "The H&R Block Emerald Card account through the Bank can dramatically reduce these costs, putting more money into clients' pockets and equipping them to make healthier financial choices."
Client interest in the accounts remains high. The H&R Block Bank, which opened May 1, 2006, expects that it could open 2 to 3 million bank accounts by the end of tax season.