During tax season, many people need help preparing their taxes. Some of these tax preparation services also offer ways to receive your refund faster via RALs and RACs. RALs, or Refund Anticipation Loans, are short-term, high-risk, high-cost loans, usually 1-2 weeks in duration. These loans are secured by your tax refund and include costly fees and high interest rates, which reduce the overall amount of your refund unnecessarily. An option that many are unaware of, however, is that of low-interest loans. Credit unions and other community organizations often offer short-term loans at competitive rates. These small, low-interest loans lend themselves toward a manageable repayment schedule, which can usually be adjusted to fit your ability.