|Publication number||US20120150720 A1|
|Application number||US 13/329,748|
|Publication date||Jun 14, 2012|
|Filing date||Dec 19, 2011|
|Priority date||Mar 19, 2009|
|Also published as||US8090649, US8214286, US8296227, US8355984, US20100241557, US20120226599, US20120330820|
|Publication number||13329748, 329748, US 2012/0150720 A1, US 2012/150720 A1, US 20120150720 A1, US 20120150720A1, US 2012150720 A1, US 2012150720A1, US-A1-20120150720, US-A1-2012150720, US2012/0150720A1, US2012/150720A1, US20120150720 A1, US20120150720A1, US2012150720 A1, US2012150720A1|
|Inventors||Scott H. Galit, Trent Sorbe|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (7), Classifications (8), Legal Events (1)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/407,320, titled “Computerized Extension of Credit To Existing Demand Deposit Accounts, Prepaid Cards And Lines of Credit Based on Expected Tax Refund Proceeds, Associated Systems And Computer Program Products,” filed on Mar. 19, 2009, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
1. Field of Invention
The present invention relates generally to the financial service and banking industries, and, more particularly, to systems, computer program products, and associated methods to utilize the expectation of tax refunds to extend credit to existing demand deposit accounts, prepaid cards and lines of credit associated therewith.
Millions of prepaid cards are issued each year in the United States. Many of the customers of prepaid cards rely primarily on cash and a prepaid card account for their personal finances; these customers often do not have a traditional checking, savings, or other bank deposit account, and they consequently do not write or otherwise use bank checks.
Short-term financing is at present a $20 billion plus per year industry. Considerable portions of this lending take the form of lines of credit, the proceeds of which are made available to the customers through demand deposit accounts and prepaid cards. It is believed by industry experts that an appropriate manner of offering micro-lending is through a federal bank.
Applicants have recognized a need for enhanced lending options, bank products, demand deposit accounts, and prepaid card accounts. The present invention provides computer systems, computer program products and computer-implemented methods for underwriting and extending credit based on expected tax refund proceeds to demand deposit accounts, prepaid cards and lines of credit associated therewith of customers and providing enhanced lending options for both banks and their customers. In view of the foregoing, Applicants have recognized a need for enhanced lending options, bank products, demand deposit accounts and prepaid card products associated therewith.
For example, Applicants have recognized a growing demand and need within the banking industry to provide lines of credit to customers or consumers who generally have had limited financial resource alternatives in their times of greatest need. According to the present invention, computer systems, computer program products, and computer-implemented methods are provided for providing a line of credit or enhancing an existing line of credit. The line of credit might operate as a micro-lending open line of credit product provided by a bank. The line of credit adjustment features of the present invention are made available through communications media, such as through a computer network, a global communication network such as the Internet, or through a stand alone computer system available through a lending source. The present invention is also provided as a computer program product stored on a tangible computer readable memory or storage device.
The adjustment of an existing line of credit according to the present invention provides a meaningful enhancement to consumers by offering a service that is commonly used and important to consumers today, e.g., advance access to a future electronic deposit based on an authorized portion or percentage of an amount of funds owed to the customer as a tax refund, typically that from an income tax return filed on behalf of the customer through by an income tax return preparation service. Qualified borrowers with existing lines of credit available may have their line of credit enhanced or adjusted. The adjustment may be the customer having the line of credit increased, repayment terms extended or borrowing costs improved. In some cases, the borrower will make draws in approved increments, allowing the borrower to only utilize the amount of credit needed, rather than a loan where the full amount is borrowed in one transaction. Authorized funds can be made available immediately for use by the borrower.
Some of the beneficial features of this line of credit product and line of credit enhancement are providing various types of assistance to consumers with the management of their finances by providing a short-term borrowing alternative that is more cost effective than other expensive financial service products such as payday loans. The line of credit product, however, can still be controlled, monitored, and managed by the bank or financing institution. This embodiment of a line of credit product can be less costly than other alternatives. This is a significant benefit from the perspective of the consumer, regulators, and lending institutions.
The present invention thus provides fund distribution opportunities to banks and to bank customers. For example, underwriting criteria can be based upon the prepaid card (or other types of banking cards) transaction history and direct deposit history and is often a requirement for consumer qualification for a line of credit.
The present invention may take several forms, including a computer program product stored on a tangible computer memory media that is readable by a computer, for advancing credit proceeds to a prepaid card account, the computer program product comprising a set of instructions that, when executed by the computer, cause the computer to perform various operations. The operations include forming a computerized estimate of a tax refund available from a tax return of the customer, information that would eventually be used on a future tax return or based on data from other sources (for example a credit bureau); determining in the computer a portion of the computerized estimate of the tax refund available as the line of credit; and adjusting in the computer the line of credit based on the determined funding proceeds expected to be available as a refund to ultimately repay the line of credit.
The present invention may also take the form of, a computer implemented method of adjusting a line of credit available to customer having a demand deposit account or prepaid card. According to the computer-implemented method, a computerized estimate of a tax refund is formed based upon information from a tax return, information that would eventually be used on a future tax return or from other sources (for example a credit bureau); a portion of the computerized estimate of the tax refund available as proceeds for funding the line of credit is determined in the computer; and the line of credit based on the determined funding proceeds available for the line of credit is adjusted.
The present invention may also take the form of issuing the consumer a new prepaid card, demand deposit account or credit card with a line of credit attached. The size of the line of credit is set based on underwriting criteria, which include the expected tax refund of the consumer. Such credit can then be accessed by the customer in increments (e.g., $20 draws) so only amounts that the customer needs to use are accessed, contrasted with a loan where all proceeds are loaned immediately to the borrower. By the system assessing a fee based on the amount drawn, the borrower only pays for what is used rather than the entire amount of credit offered or made available by the lender. In such fashion, the consumer is able to save money by not being forced to pay unnecessary fees by borrowing more than is needed.
The present invention may also take the form of a computer system for adjusting a line of credit available to customer having a demand deposit account. According to the computer-implemented method, a computerized estimate of a tax refund available from a tax return of the customer is formed in the computer system; a portion of the computerized estimate of the tax refund available as proceeds for funding the line of credit is determined in the computer system and the line of credit based on the determined funding proceeds available for the line of credit is adjusted in the computer.
So that the manner in which the features and benefits of the invention, as well as others which will become apparent, may be understood in more detail, a more particular description of the invention briefly summarized above may be had by reference to the embodiments thereof which are illustrated in the appended drawings, which form a part of this specification. It is also to be noted, however, that the drawings illustrate only various embodiments of the invention and are therefore not to be considered limiting of the invention's scope as it may include other effective embodiments as well.
The present invention will now be described more fully hereinafter with reference to the accompanying drawings, which illustrate embodiments of the invention. This invention may, however, be embodied in many different forms and should not be construed as limited to the illustrated embodiments set forth herein; rather, these embodiments are provided so that this disclosure will be thorough and complete, and will fully convey the scope of the invention to those skilled in the art. Like numbers refer to like elements throughout.
According to the present invention, tax refund proceeds are applied or otherwise made available to demand deposit accounts, prepaid cards and associated lines of credit of a customer based on tax refund amounts expected to be available. A computerized estimate of the tax refund available from a tax return of the customer is formed. A portion of the computerized estimate of the tax refund which can be available as underwriting criteria for the line of credit is then determined. The line of credit is then adjusted, based on the refund expected to be available, in the stored data reflecting the line of credit. One or more of several adjustments may then be made: the line of credit may be increased; the borrowing costs modified; or the terms of payment adjusted. The invention may be implemented as a computerized process, a computer system or a computer program product.
More specifically, tax refund proceeds for a customer or consumer are entered and stored in machine-readable media on a card or other data storage mechanism. The proceeds are thus made available in the form of demand deposit accounts, prepaid cards and associated lines of credit to a customer based on tax refund amounts expected to be available. A computerized estimate of the tax refund available from a tax return of the customer is formed and appropriate records made by a tax return preparer or service provider. A portion of the computerized estimate of the tax refund which can be available as underwriting criteria for the line of credit is then determined in a computer of a credit facility provider, such as a bank, savings institution or the like. The line of credit data stored in a card or other storage medium is then adjusted based on the refund expected to be available, or some other foil,” of adjustment made in the customer's records.
According to the present invention, a credit provider 26 such as a bank or other institution having a computer or data processor with the capability of advancing credit by adjusting the data contents of the computer reflecting available funding to a customer, whether an individual or other entity. The credit advanced is in the form of a credit facility, such as a line of credit, loan, credit card or overdraft protection. The computer at the credit provider 26 interacts with the computers at the tax authority 24 and/or at the tax return preparation service 20 via suitable links and interfaces through the electronic communications network 24, as will be set forth. The credit provider 26 may be a bank or other lending institution, or it may be an underwriter operating in conjunction with a lending institution. The computer of credit provider 26 operates in a processing sequence which permits a customer or consumer to have access to funds or proceeds available through a demand deposit account or prepaid card processor or authority 28. The card processor 28 may take the form of an automated teller machine (ATM) or other telecommunications device or mechanism in electronic communication over the electronic communications network 22 with the computer of the credit system provider 26. The card processor 28 allows the consumer or customer to adjust the data contents of a credit card account 30. The credit card account 30 may take the form of a debit card, check card, bank card or other machine-readable medium or storage device which has appropriate data storage and memory functionality and capability reflecting the status of funds or proceeds to the customer, or consumer have authorized to use and access that particular card account 30 and make purchases or payments electronically.
The credit provider 26 provides access to the electronic records reflecting a credit facility which is formed according to the present invention based on a determination of expected tax refund proceeds to be eventually available to the consumer or customer based on appropriate adjustments made in the status of the customer card account after tax return processing by the tax authority 24. All, some or individual increments of such determined portions of expected tax return proceeds are applied or otherwise made available to demand deposit accounts, prepaid cards and associated lines of credit of the customer, as will be set forth.
The tax refund amounts expected may be calculated or determined in several ways according to the present invention. For example, the expected proceeds may be based on amounts indicated as a result of tax returns, typically income tax returns, prepared for the customer by the tax return preparer 20. The amounts may be those indicated available from tax-related information other than an actual tax return. For example, the tax-related information may be available as a result of calculations based on a tax payer's actual income or wage records, pay stubs or the like. Alternatively, as will be set forth, the amounts may be based on tax-related information may be available from a previous year's tax return, which might also be adjusted for verifiable changes in income or deductions status.
Referring now to
If it is indicated by the tax preparer 20 and tax authority 24 that a tax refund is in fact due to the customer as a result of step 52, and that the consumer is one who also has an existing credit facility as indicated during step 50, a determination is then made as indicated at step 54. During step 54, a determination is made of the amount of tax refund calculated to be owed the taxpayer consumer. The refund amount calculation may be performed using conventional computerized tax calculation methods, either by working with a tax preparation service, tax software provider, or comparable service as indicated at 24, or by direct filing by a consumer who otherwise demonstrates qualification for tax refund.
Thereafter, a portion of the computerized estimate of the expected tax refund is made available to the consumer as additional and/or modified terms on the line of credit is determined during step 56. The decision and amount are based on a set of underwriting criteria selected by the credit provider 26, typically also including a confirmation or other indication or verifiable expectation that the consumer is in fact to receive a tax refund. The expected tax refund information can be supplemented by other information, such as more traditional underwriting information available from a credit bureau or the like. Supplemental information of this or other types enables a lender to make a more comprehensive underwriting assessment. From the amount determined available during step 54, an amount of borrowing capacity is allocated in the computer during step 56 to be made available to the consumer's credit facility and the data contents stored and accessible in storage media of customer card account 30. Next, during step 58 the consumer's credit facility and the data contents stored and accessible in storage media of the customer card account are adjusted based on the expected refund proceeds that will be available to repay the line of credit as determined during step 56.
According to the present invention, the verifiable indication or expectation of tax refund is applied during step 58 as underwriting criteria to adjust a credit facility of the consumer, whether an existing loan, line of credit, overdraft line, credit card or the like stored and accessible in storage media of a customer card account. Supplemental information of the type described above may be used at this time. Adjustment of the credit facility may take several forms according to the present invention. The credit adjustment may be as credit attached to one or more of several consumer accounts, much as a demand deposit, prepaid card, direct deposition account, credit card, or the like. Other examples of adjustments include improving the terms of the credit, increasing the amount of credit available, reducing the fees associated with the credit, extending repayment terms to make repayment upon receipt of the tax refund rather than wages, or other known, conventional forms of credit adjustment.
The present invention also includes extending credit to a consumer on an ongoing basis based on the expectation of tax refunds. The existence of an expected refund in the spring (January through April) can allow an underwriter to extend credit to such consumer any time throughout the year, providing for repayment when a tax refund is received, possibly also including other repayment options. Such repayment can free up additional credit again, allowing the lender to provide year round access to such credit.
The present invention also includes computerized extension of credit in appropriate situations when a consumer has yet to timely file a tax return, but is able to provide satisfactory records to indicate a refund is likely. Such evidence could include, for example, records of past refunds, pay stub information, pay records withholding tax records and the like.
The present invention may also be made available in situations where there are multiple adjustments to the same existing account or line of credit at different points in time. For example, there may be initial adjustments made to the existing line of credit based on expected tax refund as determined by tax-related information that has yet to be filed. Subsequently, there may be further adjusting of the existing line of credit based on an expected tax refund once the actual tax return is prepared, the tax refund calculated and the tax return filed with the tax authority.
As an illustrative example of the present invention, consider a consumer who has an existing line of credit that allows the borrowing of up to $500 in increments of $20, (with an authorized fee of $2.50 for each increment borrowed) that is to be repaid on the next demand deposit. In this example of the present invention, the consumer visits (or contacts via phone or web) an authorized tax preparation service, such as indicated at 20 (
As a result, the existing line of credit is extended to allow the customer to borrow up to an additional $1,000, and pay an appropriate fee (for example $1.50 for each $20 borrowed). The consumer can then have the additional borrowed amount repaid only once a tax refund is received. The consumer is provided additional credit on an existing credit product, while providing modified terms. Such additional credit can be accessible via the same methods as the existing credit, so if the customer was accessing credit via an overdraft line on a checking account, the additional credit is made available to be accessed through the same checking account.
As another example, consider a consumer who has an existing line of credit that allows the borrowing of up to $500 in increments of $20, again for an example authorized fee of $2.50 per $20 borrowed, that is to be repaid on the next demand deposit. After the consumer has a tax return prepared and filed, it can be determined that a calculated tax refund on the return sent to the Internal Revenue Service or IRS is $3,000. There are conventional financial methods, known as Refund Anticipation Loans, which may be available to some consumers. However these involve taking out a new loan on new terms, which are typically expensive. As an alternative, the present invention enables the consumer to have access to an additional $3,000 of credit available through that consumer's existing credit facility. That amount may be borrowed in small, say $20 increments at an appropriate fee, for example of $1 for each $20 borrowed. Further, any borrowed amount is to be repaid upon receipt of tax refund from the IRS. In this way, the consumer enjoys an expansion of an existing credit facility, while only borrowing what is needed from the credit line and only paying for the amount actually borrowed.
As another alternative, a consumer who is not yet a customer, but demonstrates that a tax refund is likely, may be provided with a line of credit that is accessible through a demand deposit account, prepaid card or credit card. The line of credit can include terms that allow the customer to access credit and not repay such credit until a tax refund is received. The present invention makes the credit available in increments the consumer can choose, rather than as a loan. In such fashion, the consumer borrows only as much as is required and only pays fees on the amounts borrowed.
As has been discussed, the present invention also provides for additional credit which can be granted as either a modification to an existing credit line (such as having fees reduced, having line amount temporarily increased, or both); or as a supplement to an existing credit line; or as adjustment of fees due or repayment terms.
The computer system 60 also includes a processor 64 for responding to commands from an operator or generated internally within the processor and otherwise operating and controlling operation of the computer. The computer system 60 additionally includes a memory 66 conventional operating software and instructions for general purpose operation of the computer system 60 by the processor 64. According to the present invention, the memory 66 has stored therein a computer program product, stored on a tangible computer memory media, operable on the processor 64. The computer system 60 also includes, as is conventional, a display 68.
The computer program product 70, as illustrated in
The computer program product illustrated in
As indicated in
The tax preparation provider 20 and credit facility 26 are described and illustrated in
It should be understood that various types of computer readable media are available and adapted for storage of the computer program product 70 according to the present invention. Such forms of computer readable media include but are not limited to tangible storage media, such as nonvolatile, hard-coded type media such as read only memories (ROMs), CD-ROMs, and DVD-ROMs, or erasable, electrically programmable read only memories (EEPROMs), recordable type media such as floppy disks, hard disk drives, CD-R/RWs, DVD-RAMs, DVD-R/RWs, DVD+R/RWs, flash drives, memory sticks, and other newer types of memories; as well as transmission type media such as digital and analog communication links. For example, such media can include operating instructions, as well as instructions related to the system and the method steps described above and can operate on a computer. It should also be understood that such media can be at other locations instead of or in addition to the locations described above to store program products, e.g., including software, thereon.
Many modifications and other embodiments of the invention will come to the mind of one skilled in the art having the benefit of the teachings presented in the foregoing descriptions and the associated drawings. Therefore, it is to be understood that the invention is not to be limited to the illustrated embodiments disclosed, and that modifications and other embodiments are intended to be included within the scope of the appended claims.
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|Cooperative Classification||G06Q40/025, G06Q40/02, G06Q40/123|
|European Classification||G06Q40/02, G06Q40/103, G06Q40/025|
|Dec 19, 2011||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: METABANK, SOUTH DAKOTA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:GALIT, SCOTT H.;SORBE, TRENT;SIGNING DATES FROM 20090423TO 20090504;REEL/FRAME:027409/0246