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Deserve Credit Cards

3 min read
By Brendan Harkness Sep 24, 2019 | Updated Aug 11, 2021
At a glance

Deserve offers credit cards for people with less-established credit, like students. During the application process, Deserve will consider more factors than typical credit card issuers, including education, future employability, and current financial wellness. The additional information could lead to your approval, despite not having much credit history.

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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.

Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

Deserve Edu Mastercard
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

  • Min. credit levelLimited Credit History
  • Annual Fee$0
  • Purchase APR18.74% Variable

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

Take note that balance transfers and cash advances are not allowed with Deserve cards. See great cards for balance transfers if you’re dealing with high-interest debt.

What Bank Does the Deserve Credit Card Use?

Deserve credit cards are issued by Celtic Bank, Member FDIC.

Is the Deserve Card Legit?

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

Written by

Brendan Harkness

Brendan has been writing about personal finance for over eight years, and is now taking on the challenge of bringing high-quality credit education to the masses. He makes sure that Credit Card Insider is covering the most important credit topics transparently and precisely, and that we have up-to-date reviews of credit cards so you can find cards that are right for you.

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