H&R Block Inc. plans to quit the credit card business by selling its WebCard Visa portfolio to Providian Financial Corp. of San Francisco.

A Block subsidiary owns the $181 million in receivables of WebCard Visa, issued by Columbus Bank and Trust Co., a division of Synovus Financial Corp. of Columbus, Ga.

The cards were affinity cards for the Compuserve on-line service, which H&R Block sold last year. Block said Monday that it will focus on offering financial services to its 15 million U.S. tax customers.

The sale is expected to close Friday and to result in an after-tax net loss of $15.4 million, or 16 cents per share. Block will use the proceeds to pay down commercial paper balances.

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