Higher One's Motto is: "There is a way." Their website claims: "We are both thoughtful and creative in our approach to problem-solving."
That is, unless, you're looking for your refund. In October of this year, my school requested a card be issued to me by Higher One, in order for me to access my refund from Financial Aid. My card was requested on the 24th and mailed to me via "priority mail" on October 30th. The card was mailed from Connecticut.
When I hadn't received my card by the 5th of November, I knew something wasn't right. It does not take 5 days to get mail from CT to Maine. So, I called and inquired. Higher one stated that I should have received it, however they had a "deliver by date of November 13th" and I had to wait until then. I was immediately unimpressed with their customer service.
I called back on the 13th to, again, tell them I had not gotten my card and my refund was due to go into my account on the 19th. I was brushed off, again, being told that the "deliver by" date is just a "guestimate"...my guestimate is that I could have walked from Maine to Connecticut and back to physically picked UP my card by this point. I was told to wait until this Monday, November 19th, to request a replacement card.
I requested my replacement card this morning. My funds will be in my account this afternoon. My card will not arrive (if it even arrives since the first one never did) for 5 to 7 business days...in the meantime, I was told if my funds are deposited to a non-active account (which, again, mine isn't active because I never got my card), their system will automatically generate a check, but that'll take longer to get to me than the card.
So, even though I knew there was an issue 2 weeks ago, and I knew I'd need my refund by the end of the month, and I took all the necessary steps on my end to make sure I received my refund and had access to my refund ON TIME, I was brushed off on 4 separate occasions by Higher One. Now the odds are extremely high that I won't have my funds by the end of this month and, if I don't get my card, again, it could be far into December before I have access to my funds.
Higher One claims to be a banking institution. It is not. It's a FINANCIAL SERVICES institution, big difference. The funds they hold may be insured by the FDIC, but I've never, in all my years, had a bank that took a customer's money and didn't give them SOME way to access that money immediately. I cannot go online and request a check. According to Higher One, I HAVE to get my card FIRST and activate my account. Otherwise it'll be a three week wait. They can insist they sent the card for however long they want, all the while making interest on my funds...funds that are a FEDERAL student loan that I, personally, have to pay back, with interest, and I don't even have access to the funds to use? How is this even close to right?
Unimpressed doesn't even begin to cover my impression of this company. I was told: There's nothing we can do. I wasn't told ANYTHING they COULD do, just that they couldn't do anything. They couldn't flag the account to not generate a check, they couldn't expedite my card, even at my OWN expense, they literally told me that there was NOTHING they could do. That is not customer service. They had zero options for me to access my funds.
Now, I have the name of a supervisor, and their number, so when I DON'T get my card by next Monday, I can call her and start this process all over again. This is a totally unacceptable way to administer financial services to your base customers.
I will also be contacting my University, by letter, stating that if this is the company they choose to contract out with regarding MY money, then I'll just be transfering to a school next term that doesn't use this sham of an organization. And, if ever asked for my opinion of this organization by a peer, they'll get my full, honest, and unaltered opinion of their lack of Customer Service, options when an issue arrises, and inability to offer any form of acceptable solutions.