• Report: #1008919
Complaint Review:

Higher One, Inc.

  • Submitted: Mon, February 04, 2013
  • Updated: Mon, February 11, 2013

  • Reported By: A. — Orlando Florida United States of America
Higher One, Inc.
115 Munson Street New Haven, Connecticut United States of America

Higher One, Inc. Higher One Higher One ripping this college student a new one New Haven, Connecticut

*UPDATE Employee: Hoping to clarify

*Consumer Comment: They can do that

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I have received 3 emails from Higher One claiming that they need to verify my identity. Keep in mind, my refund was dispersed three days ago. Why is it that in the middle of the night (approximately 9:10pm) I get an email from their customer service claiming that something urgent needs my attention.

I logged into my account as the email instructed and was greeted with a screen that a hold would be placed on my account within 20 days unless I provided them with necessary proof of my identity. The acceptable forms of proof are the usual: passport, signed social, government issued identification card etc. The first day I thought nothing of it, and sent a picture of my signed social security card. I promptly got an email that it had been received and I thought everything would be fine. However, I open my email today and I have yet another email from Higher One claiming that the image I sent was "unverifiable" and that they now need "copies of your Official Birth Certificate and current Proof of Address or a copy of your valid unexpired Government-issued photo ID." I spoke with a former student at Valencia and he too was alarmed that I needed to provide all these documents being that he never had to do any of that.

When I log into my account, I can do NOTHING without providing these documents. I can't check my balance, I can't see if there is possibly any fraud going on with my account. It's absolutely ridiculous. In my opinion, this "hold" is already in effect. With disregard to the "17 days they've given me.

I then sent a reply back to the email I received wondering why no one had contacted me via phone if there was a problem verifying who I actually was, and why would they need to conduct this "investigation" AFTER I've already received my financial aid refund (of course I received a failure to send notice shortly afterwards). It seems very fishy to me and all the red flags are up in my play book. I do not like this company and I am very upset that students are forced to have their refunds disbursed this way. I will soon be filing to have my refund deposited into my credit union which I trust.

When I first heard about the debit card refund, I was a little taken aback, as I have two debit cards already and thought a third would be cumbersome. But I then thought everything would be fine, because I could keep my finances separate and use a different card for financial obligations. But after reading the terms and conditions extensively I soon realized that I didn't feel good about this company at all. Why should someone charge me a fee for money I already borrowed? In order to avoid a monthly fee I have to have a direct deposit exceeding "x" amount of dollars each month. It's ridiculous. I feel students should have a choice which way they'd like to receive their refund. This whole Higher One business is a bad idea. Even the Huffington Post wrote an article about how this debit card is something students could very well do without.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 02/04/2013 10:00 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/higher-one-inc/new-haven-connecticut-06511/higher-one-inc-higher-one-higher-one-ripping-this-college-student-a-new-one-new-haven-c-1008919. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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Updates & Rebuttals

#1 UPDATE Employee

Hoping to clarify

AUTHOR: Higher One - (United States of America)

Hi there, my name is Lauren.  I work on Higher Ones behalf in order to raise awareness about the program and the card, and Im hoping I can help you out a bit.

First and foremost, students do have a choice when it comes to receiving their financial aid refund money.  There are online and electronic options beyond a paper check refund.  Higher One provides an easy online setup (using the card as a tool for selection) for choosing an electronic transfer of funds directly to the students domestic bank account or students can choose to open up a checking account through Higher One, as it sounds like you have.  Additionally, getting a financial aid refund is free no matter what option you choose, per requirements set by the Department of Education.

Regarding the attempt to verify your identity:  Higher One takes measures to ensure the privacy and security of our consumers through means such as identify verification.  A very small percentage of the time this needs to be done manually (i.e. uploading and/or faxing the image of your ID).  Unfortunately the quality of the image is not always guaranteed, and this is why in a case such as yours several attempts may have been required.  Any holding of the funds is only in effort to
ensure your safety and protect your identity.   

If you have additional questions, Customer Care can be reached in any of the ways below:

--Call the number on the back of your card
Monday-Friday 8 a.m. - 11 p.m. ET. After entering your card number and date of birth you'll be read your balance information. After this, press "0" to speak with an Agent.

--Tweet @AskHigherOne Monday-Friday between 9 a.m. - 8 p.m. ET.

--Use EasyHelp's Ask a Question feature by clicking on any EasyHelp logo when logged into your account. Simply fill out the information in the "Ask a Question" tab and someone will follow
up with you through email.
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#2 Consumer Comment

They can do that

AUTHOR: Afrodita20 - (United States of America)

They can do that. What it means, is that during their audit process, they noticed your information did not match their records. They could not verify your identity using approved software for id lookup, so you have to manually do that. I urge you to provide that documentation, otherwise you will have problems.
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