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Report: #771373

Complaint Review: Higher One, Inc - New Haven Connecticut

  • Submitted: Wed, August 31, 2011
  • Updated: Mon, October 31, 2011
  • Reported By: Iwantjustice — Security Colorado U.S.A.
  • Higher One, Inc
    25 Science Park
    New Haven, Connecticut
    United States of America

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I went back to school to pursue my bachelor's degree and applied for a loan. I had applied before when I was in school ten years ago. I called my school when will I see my financial aid money given to me. I was told I should have received a card and got it activated. That's where the school going to distribute my financial aid money.  I went to see my award letter money while I was in my school financial aid website and notice a $15 bank fee. I wasn't aware when I received my award letter that a 1 percent was already taken out from my loan and for every disbursement.

I think this is a ridiculous fee and robbery for a bank charging a student this high fee. I went further to discover online that this bank have hidden fees that other students who had used it got nailed with it. In spite of hundreds of complaints, this company continues to rip-off students. I am adding my complaint hoping someone out there will take this case and throw down this "mighty thieve."

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 08/31/2011 08:37 AM and is a permanent record located here: 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. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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#1 Consumer Comment

High Fee Robbery, Free Money, Plus Identity Theft

AUTHOR: cherom - (USA)

I responded to this company's generic phone message about a college refund we're owed, telling them we have 6 college-age kids, at 4 universities. I gave my full name, but the HigherOne call-taker did Not want to talk to me - the Parent. I asked "Then, which of my kids?", so that I could put the right one on the phone. She wanted a social security number - for starters, which I would not give on the phone. I asked for the other info she needed, to identify which kid. I gave our home phone number, so she could dig deeper. Then I named the schools. Still not enough. "Do you need their names? last 4 digits of the social? home address?? What..." She wanted the Full Social Security Number. I told her I couldn't do that. She did not summon a supervisor. Instead (and Aha!), she quietly disconnected the call mid-sentence - the way call centers teach their trainees when stumped, trapped, or caught. This company's m.o. is obviously a scam and a veiled way to steal personal identity, from society's youngest consumers - College Kids - who generally aren't yet savvy enough to know How to Protect Their Identities (or Their Parents Identities). Shame on HigherOne - a "banking center" that needs to be reported for not following the law on guarding against Identity Theft. No Official Banking Institution asks for the full social security number over the phone. And certainly not from Teenagers - That is the HigherOne ploy... by design. By the way, my 2 kids (I lied) are part-time at community colleges, and didn't take out loans or financial aid, so there are no refunds to be had - just "Free Money" according to "Lauren" at HigherOne. Scam. Sham. Shame.

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#2 Consumer Comment

Stop Higher One Facebook Page

AUTHOR: TG101 - (United States of America)

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#3 Consumer Comment

Higher One = fraud

AUTHOR: genjisan - (United States of America)

Higher one is a ruthless, cut-throat organization that will hold on to your money as long as it can. If you want to avoid doing business with them, ignore every bit of correspondence they send you. Don't click on anything, talk to them, answer any calls, or mail them any info after receiving your access card. About 30 days following the awarding and dispersal of your funds, they will be forced to send you a check. It's hard to wait that long as a struggling student, as this money is intended to allow you to purchase books and supplies at the BEGINNING of the semester. However it is worth the wait, if you wish to avoid agreeing to their despicable and possibly illegal terms of service. They will try every trick in the book to convince you that you have no other options but to use their service, but the truth is - you do have another option. They will hold your money hostage for as long as they can, but by law they are required to send you a check. If you do make the mistake of clicking on one of their disbursement options, you will have to deal with them. So my advice is to just tough it out and wait for the check if you don't want to do business with them. It may create a hardship for you, not having the money at the start of the semester, but if we want to get their attention we must. Please try and dispute this. I would LOVE to post the arguments you have right next to the email responses I have been keeping.
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#4 Consumer Comment

I am not the one who is misinformed.

AUTHOR: Anonymous - (U.S.A.)

I think that you need to understand exactly what Higher One is. Higher One is a banking institution that many colleges use to deposit excess student aid into. Higher One issues every student a debit card, and provides them with an online bank account. The college will then issue any overages of student aid into the Higher One account.

Here is the problem. Student loan money is considered a protected form of federal benefits (go to When the college forces students to take a higher one account rather than having a check mailed to them, then the school is forcing students to pay fees on a protected source of federal income. This is illegal. When the bank (Higher One) charges students fee's on their account, they are doing so on a protected source of income.

At no point did I say I was a law major. I was hinting out to anyone that was a law major. If you have never been hit with a NSF fee then holey moley you are one of the .000001% that have gotten away scott free.
If you don't understand the circumstances surrounding my overdraft situation, then you are in no position to be critical to me.  Your statement was just as stupid as someone saying they had aids; you accuse them of being a bad person that got aids for being a icky person, then they tell you that they got it from having a blood transfusion. Please understand that there is usually a heck of a story behind many issues.

You need to remember that NSF fee's are a multi-billion dollar industry to the banks. This is not about poor account management, but about profit.
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#5 Consumer Comment

You've been misinformed

AUTHOR: Robert - (U.S.A.)

Certain items are protected  from creditor seizure by the FTC. These items are: child support, TANF payments, social security, disability, student education funds, and Earned Income Credits.

For regular consumer debt(such as Credit Cards, Personal Loans) there are "protected" funds that can not be touched so you would be correct.   These include SSI or other government benefits, Unemployment, and Federal Student Aid. 

However, if the debt is for things such as back Child Support, Taxes, or Delinquent Student Loans.  Then these funds are no longer "protected", and can be attached.  In your case if this is a Student Loan account and you are delinquent(overdrawn) they may have additional actions they can take.

Now, I have no idea how you got to $1,200 in Overdraft fees.  Either you are incorrect or have zero knowledge on how to manage a bank account.  Perhaps instead of going for a law degree you should go into accounting.
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#6 Consumer Comment

Walking the Line

AUTHOR: Anonymous - (U.S.A.)

    I urge everyone to be careful when it comes to Higher One. I was charged over 1200.00 in overdraft fees from this "bank" and my entire refund was seized by them. They also dipped into my eic the following February to take the remaining balance.
     Higher One is really walking the line here. Certain items are protected  from creditor seizure by the FTC. These items are: child support, TANF payments, social security, disability, student education funds, and Earned Income Credits. This means that when Higher One acts to collect a NSF fee on your account they in turn are acting as a "bill collector", once that line is crossed then they are breaking federal law by taking any of your refund money to pay them a past due balance.
     Several banks have been sued recently over this very same matter, and twice that I know of the banks lost and were forced to return all funds and pay restitution. It is only a matter of time before Higher One angers the wrong person (perhaps an up and coming law major) and gets hauled into court over this terrible business practice.
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#7 UPDATE Employee

Higher One Refund Disbursement Services are Always at No Cost to Students

AUTHOR: Lauren, Higher One CRC - (United States of America)

Hello, my name is Lauren and I work with Higher One. In my role, I work with students at each of the campuses Higher One serves in order to increase awareness of our service, educate students about their refund options and obtain feedback to bring to the Higher One team.  I'm sorry to hear you've experienced difficulties in receiving your refund through your school!

We would like to offer additional assistance and clarification on this matter.  This is concerning to us because per Department of Education regulations for disbursing Title IV funds, students must never incur a cost to receive financial aid refund money.  Higher One compies with all federal regulations.

First, and most importantly, Higher One DOES NOT charge students for receiving their refund, nor do we take 1% of the total refund being disbursed. Students always have two, free electronic methods for refund disbursement: (1)Direct Deposit into an existing bank account in the student's name, or (2)to open a fully functioning, FDIC Insured checking account, called the OneAccount, with Higher One. Regardless of which option is chosen, there is never a percentage taken off of the refund, nor is there a fee for receiving the refund from the school.

Higher One also does not have any hidden fees. All of our fee schedules, with information on how to avoid these fees, are listed on the front page of the banking website. You can also find them here: You'll notice there is no "$15 Bank Fee" listed on the fee schedule.

We strive for stellar service and serve over 3.7 million students across the country. In doing so, we have attained an A+ rating with the BBB. We encourage you to contact Customer Care at the number listed on the back of your card anytime Monday-Friday 8am-11pm EDT, or use Easy Help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can even "Ask a Question" in Easy Help using your confirmed email address on file with Higher One.

I hope this information has been helpful and encourage you to contact Higher One at the resources above for any additional information.
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