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FAQs about the new UM Debit Card refund system

The University of Montana is focused on offering a faster delivery of student refunds to students. The new method for receiving these student refunds is the UM Debit Card Debit MasterCard®.

The UM Debit Card is your key to faster student refunds and increased choice for receiving your Financial Aid or school student refunds, including:

  • ACH (direct deposit, 2-3 business days).
  • paper check (spring 2011 enrollees only, 5-7 business days).
  • Easy Refunds method through Higher One (same-day service).

Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the UM Debit Card and the new student refund process.

How are student refunds from UM delivered to students?

Student refunds are delivered via the option selected when activating the UM Debit Card. Activate your refund preference and make your student refund selection online by visiting Once your refund preference is selected, funds are sent from UM to Higher One, which then disburses the student refunds according to your selection. (Please note: In order to receive a student refund, you must select your refund preference as soon as your card arrives in the mail.)

How do I get my UM Debit Card?

UM students will receive a UM Debit Card from Higher One in the mail at their primary address on file with UM. Be on the lookout for a bright green envelope.

I don't think I will ever get a student refund. Why should I select a refund preference?

Although you might not currently expect a student refund from UM, you may receive one in the future. It may be necessary to drop a class, a class may be canceled or you may simply receive a scholarship or assistance you were not anticipating. You may also have overpaid a charge or have had a previously paid charge reversed. Selecting your preferred method to receive student refunds from UM ensures you'll receive your student refunds in a timely manner.

What if I already selected a refund preference?

Even if you're already receiving a student refund from UM, you are required to activate your refund preference as soon as you receive your card. It only takes a minute to activate your refund preference with UM and Higher One to avoid any delays in getting your student refund.

What are my options for receiving Financial Aid or other student refunds?

  • ACH transfer to other bank (student refunds available 2-3 business days).
  • Paper check (student refunds available 5 -7 business days).
  • Easy Refund to the OneAccount (student refunds available the same day UM releases them).

What are the advantages of having my student refunds electronically deposited?

  • Depositing your student refund electronically is the quickest way to gain access to your student refund money.
  • When you setup your electronic method you will only be required to do it once for the electronic method you select.
  • You will not have to check your mail, or worry about mail getting lost.
  • You will not have to go to a bank to cash a check each semester.
  • You will not have to wait for funds to become available as a bank verifies the check.

How will I know when my financiala or other student refund has been deposited or sent?

Higher One will send an email to the address you entered during activation when your student refund has been deposited or sent. Additionally, you can view the details online at

How can I have my student refund deposited to another bank account?

You may have your student refund deposited to the bank of your choice. In order to have your student refund deposited to your bank, activate your refund preference as soon as you receive the card by visiting During the activation process, select ACH transfer to other bank for your refund preference and simply complete, print and send the required third party form to the designated address. The form will be available online during the activation process.

Why is the MasterCard Brand Mark on my new UM Debit Card?

If you choose to use the UM Debit Card as an actual debit card remember, the UM Debit Card is NOT A CREDIT CARD. However you can use it for purchases at all participating merchants that accept Debit MasterCard, get cash at ATMs, pay bills and more. The UM Debit Card can be used to make purchases wherever Debit MasterCard is accepted. It is important to note that the UM Debit Card is NOT A CREDIT CARD, but rather a DEBIT CARD backed by the purchasing power of the MasterCard network.

Is the University making interest off of my refund?

No. The 2-3 days it takes for direct deposit is because of the multiple wire transfers. UM has to transfer funds to Higher One and then once Higher One is done processing the refund files, it has to transfer the funds to your bank.

How is the University benefiting from the UM Debit Card and ACH depositing?

The changes are to reduce the cost of mailing paper checks, to reduce the cost of postage, and to eliminate paper waste and to provide better choices for students to receive their refunds faster.

How do I use my UM Debit Card as a debit card for free?

In order to avoid transaction fees, students are encouraged to use the swipe and sign method when making transactions. Always select credit (even though it is not a credit card) to avoid the pin-based charge. More information on avoiding fees is located at

What happens if I do not make a refund selection?

If you do not make a selection you will face a serious delay in receiving your money. Your refund will be sent to you by Higher One after 21 days.

What happens if I lose my card or need to replace it?

If your card needs to be replaced, please stop by Business Services in Griz Central or call Business Services at 406-243-2223.

Why do I need to give personal information to Higher One?

Higher One needs some personal information to activate and verify your account. This is a precaution to ensure you are who you say you are, and to verify the information matches to the information you had previously provided to UM.

What if I have additional questions?

Answers to additional questions along with an activation demo can be found by visiting, or stopping by Griz Central, or to call Student Account Services at 406-243-2223 to learn more. Additionally, Higher One offers easy answers to your questions with Easy Help, our self-service database containing answers to frequently asked questions.

How do I activate my UM Debit Card and select my refund preference?
As soon as you receive your UM Debit Card, you will need to activate the card by visiting Log into OneAccount by entering the 16-digit number on your UM Debit Card and complete the following step-by-step instructions.

1.   Authenticate card

2.   Create log in information

3.   Click "Show me all choices" at the bottom of the page

4.   Select refund choice ("Easy Refund" or "ACH Transfer" or "Paper Check")

5.   Information Verification

6.   One Account Confirmation

7.   Choose PIN

8.   Terms and Conditions

9.   Set up account features

10.  Email notification preference

11.  Summary and e-mail confirmation