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How would you like to pay a high price to borrow money that already belongs to you? Sounds ridiculous, right? But that’s pretty much what happens to many folks at tax time in the world of RALs, or refund anticipation loans.

You may be tempted by tax-time advertisements for “Fast Cash Refunds,” “Money Now,” or “Instant Refunds.” These ads will offer to get you your refund in just a day or two, or even on the spot. Beware! Many of these “fast refunds” are really LOANS, refund anticipation loans.

When you get a RAL you’re borrowing against your own tax refund money. And RALs are often marketed to people who need money the most—low- and moderate-income workers who receive the Earned Income Tax Credit.