Campuses across the nation have been adopting the Higher One card for their students. While these cards may be providing cost savings to college institutions, students are finding huge problems. One of the biggest complaints: students are finding they may be laden with fees. For instance, the inactivity fee is $19 a month, to use a non-network ATM is $2.50 and to use the card as a PIN debit transaction, it’s $0.50 a pop.

Just what is the Higher One card?

According to a recent article in The Oregonian::

“This official student photo ID is branded with the MasterCard logo. It can double as a debit card. Students can have their financial-aid refunds — the money leftover after the school deducts its tuition and fees — automatically deposited into a bank account linked to the card. They can then tap the money at an ATM or wherever a merchant takes MasterCard.

The company behind these cards, Higher One Inc., has integrated them across hundreds of college campuses”

Meanwhile, here are some numbers to show who is benefiting from these fees:

“These fees obviously sustain Higher One. Last year, it took in $66 million on merchant swipe fees, ATM fees, overdraft fees and student “convenience fees,” the company says. It did so well last year, the company handed out $1 million in bonuses to employees. In June, it raised $38 million in a public stock offering on Wall Street.”

If you have a HigherOne card, consider yourself warned—watch out for the fees you might be paying to use your money. Consider other alternatives to use your money, such as a traditional debit card from a bank or credit union.

For additional advice for college students, click here and here.