Guess what I got in the mail today. A nice letter from Check Into Cash: Your One Stop Money Shop.
They want me to promote their services. They will send me, your favorite accountant/tax preparer, ten bucks every time you cash a check there, including refund checks. If a tax office asks you to do something so stupid, clutch your wallet tight, and run. You DO NOT pay to have your refund check cashed. Once you walk into a payday loan store you are poorer. Much poorer. What they do is legal, but in my opinion, unethical. I call it financial rape.
A few tips: If you need to get your refund fast, use direct deposit. If you don't have a bank account, go to a small bank or credit union that charges no fees for opening a money market or savings account and open the account with $5. Bring the bank info to your friendly tax preparer and he will see that your refund, federal and state, is direct deposited. Your refund will be fast, 10 days or so, and no added fees. Isn't that nice? No financial rape required. Same goes for Refund Anticipation Loans. Save your money.
Now I want to share additional details of the letter I received. The letter is hand signed. Very nice. They must care. They care so much they addressed the letter to: To Whom it [sic] May Concern. I am informed that I will get $10 every time a client comes in and cashes a check. If 100 people come in, they will give me $1000. Woooo hoooo! Then they ask me to "share" the enclosed flyers with employees and customers. You know, I really like my employees and customers. Why would I introduce them to the local loan shark?
There's more. The nice lady that sent me the letter says, "We also have pens, pencils, and rulers," if I would be interested. Ahhhh, no. "Marketing goes both ways," she continues. She invites me to send a stack of my business cards and flyers. "...we would be more than happy to share them with our customers." Let me make this clear: I don't want clients that frequent payday loan stores. People that have this nasty habit do not remain clients for long. They go broke is what they do.
Please, please, please, do not use payday loans or check cashing products. As a nice accountant, I must inform you, I've only seen disaster from people who do. These companies are not a last resort. They are the dirt packing tight on your financial grave.