Fifth Third Bank Speeds Tax Refunds With Early Pay Service

Fifth Third Bank

Fifth Third Bank will provide customers with their federal tax refund up to five days earlier.

The bank said in a Monday (Jan. 9) press release that while the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) reports that 90% of consumers who file electronically and choose to receive their refund via direct deposit get their refund in less than 21 days, Fifth Third Bank customers can get it in 16 days or less.

This feature will be available to select customers, will be free and will launch in late January, according to the press release.

“We continue to look for ways to help our customers quickly access their cash,” Howard Hammond, head of the Consumer Bank for Fifth Third Bank, said in the release. “Early Pay has made a huge difference in the lives of our customers. Receiving a tax refund up to five days earlier will also make an impactful difference for our customers, and we are thrilled to be the first traditional bank to roll this out.”

PYMNTS research has found that 17% of the disbursements U.S. consumers received in 2021 were instant payments — a share that was almost three times as high as it was in 2020.

Consumers today are 50% more likely to be aware of instant payments than they were in 2020, and are 15% more likely to choose instant payments if they’re given the option to do so than they were a year earlier, according to the “Disbursements Tracker,” a PYMNTS and Ingo Money collaboration.

Fifth Third Bank Momentum Banking now has more than 1 million customers with access to Early Pay and able to receive their paycheck up to two days early, according to the Monday press release.

In practice, customers using the new tax refunds service select that they would like their refund deposited to their Fifth Third Momentum Checking account, enter their account and routing numbers, and receive the money posted to their accounts once Fifth Third has receive the funds from the IRS, the release said.

Regardless of where money is coming from, customers want to have the money they are owed as soon as possible, Fifth Third Bank Director of Product Management Ben Mendelsohn told PYMNTS in an interview posted in November.

Since Fifth Third already had the groundwork for faster processing of automated clearing house (ACH) payments, the bank was able to expand the offering to cover a wide range of direct deposits, including government benefits, Mendelsohn said at the time.