At the same time federal regulators are cracking down on payday loans, another form of short-term credit for low-income Americans is staging an unexpected comeback.

During the most recent tax season, roughly 1 million loans were made to consumers who were waiting to receive their refund checks, according to a new estimate from H&R Block. Just two years earlier, fewer than 35,000 U.S. taxpayers even applied for refund anticipation loans, after consumer advocates agitated about high interest rates, and regulators pushed banks out of the business entirely.

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