In the weeks leading up to April 15, tax accounting giant H&R Block is top of mind for many people. The company came out with an iPad app for its Emerald Card customers in mid February.
The app lets cardholders see their account balance, view their transaction history, find ATM and reload locations, get direct deposit information, make a payment to their Emerald Advance Line of Credit, deposit money to and make withdrawals from their Emerald Savings account. The app works with both the H&R Block Emerald Prepaid MasterCard and H&R Block Emerald Plus Prepaid.
This app obviously doesn't let a user conduct all of his or her financial life online, but it does provide a few features banks might want to emulate. It offers what appears to be a real-time display of posted and pending transactions. It provides a "frequently asked questions" section that explains how to load money onto the Emerald card, how to get cash, how to use the card to make payments using a PIN pad, and such. (Conveniently, a tab in the FAQ section is, "Schedule an appointment for tax preparation.") Buttons on the app link the user to H&R Block's Facebook page and Twitter stream.
At press time, the app had only one review on the App Store, which read, "Nice work!"
H&R Block also has an At Home app for the iPad that customers can use to complete their U.S. federal and state returns. This program is similar to many online tax programs and has won rave reviews from customers, such as, "I, like most, hate taxes. I was able to enter my information and got returns back. They also have one free state return and a free federal. Awesome for me because I live in one state and work in another." Another app, H&R Block Mobile, lets customers track the status of their Federal refund, estimate the amount of their tax refund and get answers to tax questions. It provides profiles of local tax professionals and an office locator.