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Deserve Credit Cards

3 min read
Brendan Harkness By Brendan Harkness Sep 24, 2019 | Updated Sep 03, 2020

Deserve (formerly known as SelfScore) is a newer credit card issuer focused on providing credit cards to people with fair credit and people who don’t already have significant positive credit history established on their credit reports.

There’s currently only one Deserve card, a Mastercard for students issued by Celtic Bank: the Deserve Edu Mastercard (Review). It has no annual fee or foreign transaction fee, and is accessible for international students who don’t yet have a Social Security number.

Who Is the Deserve Card For?

The Deserve Edu card is designed for students with limited or no credit history, both in the U.S. and abroad.

You can qualify for the Deserve Edu without any established credit, because Deserve will check more than the typical creditworthiness factors when you apply (more on that in the next section).

This card is rare in that it doesn’t require an SSN to apply, meaning international students are free to apply (with some requirements). If you do get an SSN later on, you should provide it to Deserve so your card activity can help you build credit.

Unlike secured cards, which are often the best options for people with limited or no credit history, the Deserve Edu doesn’t require a security deposit to be approved and establish a credit limit.

Read more The 5 Best Credit Cards for International Students: Rewards, Low Fees, & More

How Do You Apply for a Deserve Credit Card?

Whereas issuers usually determine an applicant’s creditworthiness by relying on scoring models such as FICO, this isn’t as effective when assessing those with little to no credit history. If you do have a credit history, Deserve will pull it with a hard inquiry, but this won’t be the only information it uses when deciding whether or not to approve you for a card.

In addition to the traditional criteria, Deserve will also consider other personal information in its underwriting process, to determine an applicant’s potential to successfully use the card responsibly and pay off balances. This information includes:

  • Education
  • Current financial wellness
  • Future employability
  • Monthly income, housing expenses, and available assets

If you’re an international student and do not have a Social Security number, you must provide a passport, student visa, I-20 form, and proof of a U.S. bank account.

Take note that Deserve will need to connect to your bank account to verify your balance. If you have privacy or security concerns this might worry you, but it seems logical because Deserve bases its decision on more than just an applicant’s credit history.

Deserve Edu Mastercard

The Deserve Edu card is designed for college students, including international students. It provides 1% cash back for every purchase and an Amazon Prime intro bonus.

Deserve Edu Mastercard

Our rating
Min. credit levelLimited Credit History
Annual Fee$0
Regular APR18.74% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

  • Receive one year of Amazon Prime Student on Deserve after spending $500 in the first three billing cycles with your EDU card (Lifetime Value of $59).
  • Earn 1% Cash Back on all purchases with your Deserve EDU Mastercard. Once approved, you’ll automatically start earning cash back on all purchases.
  • Feel secure with cell phone protection up to $600.
  • No deposit required. No annual fees.
  • No international transaction fees on purchases abroad so you can travel with confidence.
  • No Social Security Number required for international students to apply.
  • Refer A Friend Program: Refer anyone to Deserve using your personal referral code. Upon approval, card activation and use, you’ll receive $30 and so will your referral. Referral bonuses are unlimited!
  • Manage and track your spending, set automatic payments and securely freeze your card all through one easy to use app.
  • See if you prequalify with no impact to your credit score in minutes.
  • Deserve Mastercards are issued by Celtic Bank, Member FDIC.
  • Enjoy Mastercard Platinum Benefits intended to make your life easier like Mastercard ID Theft Prevention(TM) and Master Rental(R).

Deserve Credit Card Features

Cardholders may receive the following perks with their new Deserve Mastercard credit card:

  • Amazon Prime Student: One year of Amazon Prime Student for spending $500 in the first 3 billing cycles
  • $100 Feather subscription discount: Get $100 off your furniture rental subscription when you sign up using your Deserve card.
  • $45 statement credit for Mint Mobile
  • $10 statement credit for a Lemonade insurance subscription
  • Mastercard Platinum benefits: Cell Phone Insurance, Price Protection, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Roadside Assistance, and more

Is the Deserve Card Legit?

Yes! Deserve is a legitimate credit card issuer, and the Deserve Edu Mastercard is a solid credit card.

It might sound too good to be true, since it’s available to international students and there’s no credit check required to apply (if you haven’t already established credit), but that’s why the issuer evaluates other aspects of your financial situation before deciding whether you’re approved. You’d be denied if the issuer wasn’t reasonably sure you could manage the card responsibly.

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