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Get Your Tax Refund Earlier This Year With This Tip

Use online payment services like Venmo, Cash App or PayPal to receive your tax refund a few days sooner.

As with "early paychecks," online payment services often process direct deposits faster than banks.
Sarah Tew/CNET

This story is part of Taxes 2023, CNET's coverage of the best tax software, tax tips and everything else you need to file your return and track your refund.

Want to receive your tax refund earlier this year? The fastest way to get your tax refund is by filing electronically with direct deposit. It's a simple way to access your IRS money a few days sooner than usual. 

If you need your tax refund ASAP, you can get it two days quicker -- and you don't even need a bank account. Cash transfer apps such as Venmo, Cash App or PayPal can help you process your tax refund, and they can provide your money earlier than traditional banking services.

Here's how to set up direct deposit with Venmo, Cash App or Paypal to get your refund sooner. For more, learn how to file taxes for free, the biggest tax changes this season and seven ways to avoid an IRS audit. And if you received a state tax rebate last year, the IRS said you may want to wait to file.

How to get your tax refund quicker

Unlike most banks, cash transfer apps like Venmo can make your deposits available to you as soon as they're received. That means you can get your refund back up to two days sooner because you wouldn't have to wait on your bank to process the deposit, which could take up to a week.

How to get your refund through Venmo

Setting up a Venmo account takes less than 5 minutes. Here's how to do it.

1. Download the Venmo app on your mobile phone and create an account or sign in.

2. Select the profile icon at the bottom right side of the screen.

3. Scroll down and tap Direct Deposit.

4. Select "Show account number" to access your Venmo account details.

5. When you file your tax return, enter your Venmo routing and account number. Once your taxes have been processed by the IRS, your refund will be sent to your Venmo account.

Mobile payment app like Venmo and Cash App

Your refund could arrive up to two days earlier via a money transfer app.

James Martin/CNET

How to get your refund through Cash App

If you'd like to set up direct deposit with Cash App, here's how to do it.

1. Download the Cash App app on your mobile phone and create an account or sign in.

2. Tap the Banking tab on the bottom left side of your screen. It's the one shaped like a building.

3. Scroll down and select Direct Deposit. It'll note that you can get your money two days faster.

4. Next, you'll need to create a free Cash Card. Tap Get Free Cash Card and follow the onscreen prompts.

5. Once you're finished, you can go back to the Direct Deposit tab and copy your routing and account numbers. Use those when you file your taxes.

Get your tax refund through PayPal

Just like Venmo (owned by PayPal) and Cash App, you can get your money back two days sooner with PayPal. Here's how.

1. Download PayPal on your mobile device and sign in or create an account.

2. Scroll through the top menu options and select Set up Direct Deposit.

3. Tap Get Started. You'll need to read through the terms and conditions, then select Continue.

4. Confirm your information with PayPal and select Submit.

5. Next, you'll need to upload a photo ID or your Social Security or ITIN document.

6. Once you have that completed, you'll be able to access your routing and account information in your PayPal wallet.

For more information, here's how to track your tax refund. Also, these 10 tax changes could impact the size of your tax return.