These days, who doesn’t want to be a bank? In recent months and years, we’ve seen industries from Big Tech to Big Retail offer a broader array of banking services. And now the trend has come to “Big Tax.”
H&R Block, which abandoned its banking charter seven years ago, is back in the banking business with a mobile banking platform called Spruce. The company’s new offering is designed to serve the needs of the millions of Americans who are struggling to better manage their spending, saving, and planning for the future. Spruce features a spending account and debit card, as well as a connected savings account that supports budgeting for specific goals.
“Spruce is a financial technology platform that combines the best features of leading neo-banks with H&R Block’s trusted brand, our 66-year history, and the insights we’ve gained from helping millions of customers every year,” H&R Block President and CEO Jeff Jones said. “Our front row seat on American life provides a unique understanding of how to help people get better with money, and we’ve applied those learnings to Spruce.”
In addition to helping users set and meet personalized savings goals, Spruce offers cash back rewards when customers use their Spruce debit cards to shop at qualifying merchants, and a fee-free environment with no monthly fees, no sign-up fees, and no minimum balance requirements. Spruce customers also have access to more than 55,000 ATMs around the country – also fee-free. Additional features include an early paycheck service, credit score monitoring, and overdraft protection. And, unsurprisingly given the business of its parent company, Spruce will also make it easy for users to apply part of their tax refund toward their savings goals.
Spruce’s savings and spending accounts are established at MetaBank, which also issues the Spruce debit card. The new banking services platform joins H&R Block’s other non-tax financial services solutions including its Emerald Prepaid Mastercard program, and its business bank account, payments, and bookkeeping solution Wave Money. Wave Money is a product of software solution provider Wave Financial, which was acquired by H&R Block in 2019.
“We believe in a future with equitable access to easy and affordable banking,” H&R Block Chief Financial Services Officer Les Whiting said. “Our customers already trust us with their most personal financial details when we help them file their taxes, and we created the Spruce solution to help address their unmet banking needs, too.”
The Spruce mobile app can be downloaded from the Apple Store and at Google Play. Users can open accounts via the app or at sprucemoney.com.