Review of the Deserve Pro Mastercard

Brendan Harkness

Brendan Harkness | Reviews

Jan 19, 2018 | Updated Aug 28, 2018

Credit Card Insider receives compensation from some credit card issuers as advertisers. Advertiser relationships do not affect card ratings or our Best Card Picks. Celtic Bank has not endorsed this content in any way.

Learn more about how we rate cards.

The Deserve Pro Mastercard provides a way for people with limited or fair credit to start earning some cash back.

That’s because Deserve will check more than just your typical credit and financial information, setting it apart from other card issuers. If you don’t meet the traditional lending requirements, this card provides a way to start improving your credit.

You’ll get up to 3% cash back on certain purchases. Plus some basic shopping and travel protections.

The Deserve Pro is a pretty good option for anyone with less-than-great credit who wants to earn some rewards. Although there are a few limitations with this card compared to others, there’s no annual fee. With it you can build your credit and get a bit of cash back at the same time.

Deserve Pro Mastercard
Apply Now

Deserve Pro Mastercard

For People with
Fair Credit

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Interest Rate: 18.49%–25.49% Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • More cash back on the things you enjoy the most: 3% on travel/entertainment, 2% on restaurants & 1% on all other purchases
  • No annual fee
  • Credit limit up to $10,000
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Use anywhere in the world where Mastercard is accepted
  • Includes Mastercard Platinum Benefits like Price Protection, Travel Assistance, ID Theft Protection, Car Collision Damage Waiver & Extended Warranty
  • Refer a Friend and get a $30 statement credit. Refer 10 friends and get a $200 bonus for a total of $500 in statement credits

Our Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

We give the Deserve Pro 4 out of 5 Stars in large part because of the unique approval system used by Deserve. This card does require some established credit history, but it will also check factors like your education and earnings potential. For people who can’t qualify for other cards, this could provide a way to keep building up more of a traditional credit history.

Unlike most cards for people with poor or fair credit, you’ll get some cash back rewards with this card: up to 3% back on certain purchases. They might not be the most valuable bonus categories, but they’re not bad.

It’s a Platinum Mastercard, so it also comes with some basic shopping and travel protections. Nothing too special, but they could help out if you get in a jam.

Overall, this card provides a good way for people with fair credit to improve it while earning rewards. And it’s accessible to a wider group of people than most cards, so it might be one of few options for many people.

Insider Advice: Using This Card as Part of Your Credit Card Strategy

  • Consider the Deserve Pro Mastercard if you’ve had trouble getting other cards, but still have some established credit history. It will consider more than just your credit history and current financial status when you apply. If you also have a decent education and job prospects, you’ll have a much better chance of being approved.
  • Use this card to earn cash back on your travel, entertainment, and restaurant purchases. Look into some other reward credit cards to earn rewards on other types of purchases.
  • You don’t need to worry about cashing in your rewards because they will be automatically redeemed whenever they reach a value of $25.
  • Tell your friends about the Deserve credit cards, because you’ll earn a $30 statement credit for every friend you refer who successfully applies for one. Plus a bonus $200 if you refer 10 friends in total.
  • If you haven’t yet established a credit history, check out the Deserve Classic Mastercard (Review). Or if you’re a student, even an international student, check out the Deserve Edu Mastercard (Review).

The Rewards


  • 3% cash back on Travel and Entertainment
  • 2% cash back at Restaurants (excludes bars)
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases

The 3% and 2% cash back bonus categories are only available for the first $500 you spend across all those categories every billing cycle. That means you’ll only earn those rewards on the first $500 you spend every month on any combination of travel, entertainment, and restaurant purchases. After that limit is reached, 1% cash back will be earned in those categories instead.

For example, if you spend $100 at restaurants and $400 on travel, you’ll only earn 1% cash back on the rest of your purchases that month.

The Travel and Entertainment category includes:

Hotels Airlines Car Rentals Tourism General Entertainment

You may also receive promotional offers of extra bonus categories to earn cash back in for a limited time. Look out for these offers if you’re a cardholder.


Your cash back will be automatically redeemed every billing period, as statement credits in increments of $25.

Redemptions are not available if your account is delinquent, over the credit limit, or closed. If you have cash back but your account is ineligible to redeem, the cash back will be reconsidered next billing period.

Cash back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open.

The Benefits

This card comes with some basic shopping and travel protections. It’s important to note a few things it does not come with, however:

  • You can’t load this card into mobile wallets
  • You can’t add authorized users to your account

Late Payment Waiver

Your first late payment will be waived as a courtesy.

Refer Friends for Statement Credits

Refer a friend to get a Deserve credit card and you will receive a $30 statement credit for every approval. If you refer 10 friends you’ll get a $200 bonus, for a total of $500 in statement credits.

Lemonade Insurance Rebate

Get a $10 statement credit after making three consecutive payments for Lemonade Renters and Home Insurance. This credit is only available once.

Feather Furniture Rental Rebate

Get a $100 discount on your first month’s rental from Feather. To get the credit, pay with your Deserve card and use promo code “DESERVE100”.

Extended Warranty

Doubles the manufacturer’s warranty for eligible purchases, up to a maximum of 12 additional months.

Price Protection

If you find an item you bought with the card being advertised for a lesser price within 60 days of the purchase, you can be reimbursed for the price difference.

Cell Phone Insurance

Charge your monthly cell phone bill to your Deserve card to get up to $600 in coverage against damage and theft.

Travel Assistance Services

Provides emergency and non-emergency assistance when you’re traveling more than 50 miles from home. Cardholder is responsible for any third-party costs. Call 1-800-Mastercard for help, including pre-trip information like what documents and immunizations you might need.

Roadside Assistance

If you have a problem on the road, call 1-800-Mastercard to get help like towing and fuel delivery. Cardholder is responsible for any third-party costs, but you may save money with pre-negotiated fees.

Car Rental Collision Damage Waiver

Provides coverage against theft and collision, as long as the car rental company’s own insurance is declined.

Fraud Protection

You are not held responsible for unauthorized transactions on your card.

ID Theft Protection

Provides access to identity theft resolution services if your identity is compromised.

The Costs & Fees

Regular Purchase APR Balance Transfer APR Cash Advance APR Maximum Credit Limit
18.49%–25.49% Variable $10,000
Annual Fee Foreign Transaction Fee Balance Transfer Fee Cash Advance Fee
$0  0%
Penalty APR Late Fee Returned Payment Fee
Up to $25 Up to $37

There’s no annual fee with this card. Although there’s no 0% intro offer on interest rates, you can completely avoid interest on purchases by paying your balance off in full each billing period.

You won’t be able to use this card for balance transfers or cash advances. We recommend avoiding cash advances in general, but if you want to transfer a balance see our choices for the best balance transfer credit cards.

You won’t be charged extra for foreign transactions with this card, so you can use it outside the U.S. without being charged extra. There may be better choices for you, however. Look into some travel credit cards to find better options for spending while traveling abroad.

Customer Support

Phone Support

Customer Support 1-800-316-7258

Deserve is a fairly new company but it seems to have solid customer support. We called for some information, and spoke to a friendly representative who answered all of our questions quickly.

We learned that when you apply for the Deserve Pro, you can select an option to also apply for the Deserve Classic Mastercard. If you do, you’ll automatically be considered for the Deserve Classic if you don’t qualify for the Deserve Pro.

The Deserve Classic has no rewards, and comes with an annual fee. But you can use it to improve your credit. And we were told that eventually, cardholders of the Deserve Classic and Deserve Edu may be able to upgrade to the Deserve Pro.

The Deserve cards didn’t originally come with EMV chip technology, meaning you’ll only be able to use them in payment terminals that accept a magnetic stripe or online. But we were informed that Deserve plans to include EMV technology in its cards eventually. So if you get one of these cards now you can get a new chip-enabled version in the future.

Update: Deserve cards now come with EMV technology. Contact customer support to request an EMV-version of your card, if you didn’t receive one automatically.

Our call with Deserve’s customer support team went very well, without being a hassle. We expect that you’ll have the same kind of experience if you need to call them too.

Web Support

The Deserve website is pretty simple to navigate. It only offer three different cards, so it’s pretty easy to quickly get an overview of them.

Deserve also provides some credit education resources to help you learn about credit. The site has lessons on credit scores and credit reports, how to use credit cards, and how to work and budget while in school.

The Bottom Line

There are several Deserve Mastercards, and the Deserve Pro is the most rewarding. With 3% and 2% bonus categories, it gives people with limited credit a way to earn some cash back on their purchases.

With limited credit comes limited options. But since Deserve will check more than the usual factors for applicants, more people will end up being approved for this card. And although it may not have the most useful reward categories, it’s a pretty good offer for people without a strong credit history.

If you have no established credit history and can’t qualify for the Deserve Pro, consider the Deserve Classic Mastercard instead. Or if you’re a student, check out the Deserve Edu Mastercard (Review).

And check out some other alternatives to the Deserve Pro below, which offer cash back in different bonus categories.

How to Apply for the Deserve Pro Mastercard

All of the Deserve credit cards are designed to help people with limited or no credit. When you apply it will take more than just your credit history and financial situation into account. When deciding whether to approve you or not, it will also consider your:

  • education
  • future employability
  • earnings potential

This is unusual among credit card issuers, who usually just look at your credit and current finances.

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.

Click the Apply Now button below, and you’ll be taken to Deserve’s website to apply. You’ll have an option to apply for the Deserve Classic at the same time. That way, if you don’t qualify for the Deserve Pro you’ll automatically be considered for the Deserve Classic. It doesn’t require a credit history and is easier to get, but has an annual fee.

Deserve Pro Mastercard
Apply Now

Deserve Pro Mastercard

For People with
Fair Credit

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Interest Rate: 18.49%–25.49% Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • More cash back on the things you enjoy the most: 3% on travel/entertainment, 2% on restaurants & 1% on all other purchases
  • No annual fee
  • Credit limit up to $10,000
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Use anywhere in the world where Mastercard is accepted
  • Includes Mastercard Platinum Benefits like Price Protection, Travel Assistance, ID Theft Protection, Car Collision Damage Waiver & Extended Warranty
  • Refer a Friend and get a $30 statement credit. Refer 10 friends and get a $200 bonus for a total of $500 in statement credits

Alternatives to the Deserve Pro Mastercard

Deserve Classic Mastercard

The Deserve Classic Mastercard shares many of the same features with the Deserve Pro. But there are a few important differences.

The Deserve Classic:

  • doesn’t require a credit history
  • offers no rewards for purchases
  • has an annual fee of $39
  • has a maximum credit limit of $1,500

So this card won’t provide any cash back. You’ll also have to pay an annual fee, and your credit limit will be smaller.

The trade-off is that this card doesn’t require a credit history to qualify for. That makes it good for people who are just starting to get into credit, and haven’t established a credit history yet. The point of this card is to build credit, not earn rewards.

The other benefits are the same for both cards. These include the Roadside Assistance, Price Protection, Extended Warranty, and others.

If you can’t qualify for the Deserve Pro, you may want to consider the Deserve Classic. Use it to build up your credit and eventually you can upgrade to the Deserve Pro or other reward cards.

There’s also a Deserve card designed for students, the Deserve Edu Mastercard (Review). This card offers 1% cash back and is good for international students, because it doesn’t require an SSN to apply for.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (Review) is one of the more popular travel rewards credit cards. It’s designed for people who like to travel, and offers:

  • 2x points per dollar on travel and dining purchases
  • 1x point per dollar on all other purchases
  • Signup bonus: 50,000 points for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months after account opening

For this card the “dining” category does include bars, unlike the Deserve Pro. But you won’t get a bonus category for “entertainment” with the Sapphire Preferred.

Your points will be worth 1 cent each when redeeming for statement credits. But if you redeem them for travel expenses through Chase Ultimate Rewards you’ll get a 25% bonus. That means each point will be worth 1.25 cents, which is a pretty good deal. For travel and dining purchases, that comes out to be 2.5% cash back. The signup bonus of 50,000 points would be worth $625 when redeemed in that way.

You can also transfer your points to a variety of frequent traveler programs at a rate of 1:1. This is the best way to redeem your points when you can, because you’ll be able to find deals that can provide the equivalent of up to 6% cash back, and maybe more. The exact values you get will vary depending on the date, merchant, and other circumstances.

The set of frequent traveler programs includes both airlines and hotels, and features brands like:

British Airways Executive Club

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards®

IHG Rewards Club

Marriott Rewards®

So this is a great card for travelers to earn points on those travel and dining purchases. You’ll have some better cash back opportunities if you redeem your points either through Chase Ultimate Rewards or transfer them to an airline or hotel partner. This will let you earn more than you can with the Deserve Pro, but you’ll also need to pay a fee.

The Sapphire Preferred has an annual fee of $95, which is waived the first year. There’s also an upgraded version of this card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card (Review). It has a steep annual fee of $450, and is meant for people who travel every year and spend plenty of money when they do.

It comes with perks like:

  • 3x points per dollar for travel and dining
  • Signup bonus: 50,000 points for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
  • 50% point bonus when redeeming for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • $300 annual travel credit
  • $100 application fee credit for Global Entry
  • Access to over 1,000 Priority Pass™ Select airport lounges

This card has the potential to be very rewarding, but it’s not designed for the average card user. These rewards and benefits will only pay off if you travel relatively often.

Citi ThankYou Preferred Card

The Citi ThankYou Preferred Card (Review) has a reward structure that is pretty much just like the Deserve Pro:

  • 2x points per dollar on entertainment and dining out
  • 1x point per dollar on all other purchases

The “dining out” category here includes bars, and seems to be a bit more broad than what you’ll get with the Deserve Pro. The “entertainment” category may cover more types of purchases too.

These rewards are very similar, but you won’t get a bonus category for travel-related purchases like you would with the Deserve Pro. So you won’t earn extra rewards on travel purchases with the Citi card, but your restaurant and entertainment categories will likely cover more purchases.

You can redeem your points for statement credits, which will provide a value of 1 cent per point. That means you’d be getting 2% cash back on those entertainment and dining purchases. Or you can transfer your points to a number of different loyalty programs, where you may get more value for them.

These are mostly airline miles programs, but it also includes the Sears Shop Your Way® program. Some of the airline program partners include JetBlue TrueBlue, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. The usual transfer rate is 1:1, but this may vary.

The ThankYou Preferred card also comes with a 15-month 0% introductory APR for purchases and balance transfers. This can be useful if you want to pay off some purchases over time, or transfer a balance away from a card with a high interest rate. The Deserve card doesn’t have an intro rate like this.

You’ll get access to some decent benefits, including the Citi Price Rewind service. This will search the internet to find cheaper prices for items you buy, and will provide reimbursement for any price differences found. There’s also the Private Pass® perk, where you can find special ticket offers and prices for live events. This benefit pairs nicely with the 2x point category for entertainment.

The ThankYou Preferred card has no annual fee. But there’s an upgraded version of this card too, the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card (Review).

It has an annual fee of $95, waived for the first year. For that price you’ll get:

  • 3x points per dollar on travel, including gas stations
  • 2x points per dollar on dining out and entertainment

So you’ll have some expanded reward opportunities at the cost of an annual fee. There is no 0% intro APR period with this card, however. Other than that, the terms and benefits are pretty much the same as the ThankYou Preferred.

Uber Visa Card

The Uber Visa Card is quite rewarding. For no annual fee, it provides:

  • 4% cash back on dining, including bars and UberEATS
  • 3% cash back on hotels and airfare, including vacation home rentals
  • 2% cash back for online purchases, including Uber and video/music streaming services
  • 1% cash back for all other purchases
  • Signup bonus: $100 for spending $500 on purchases in the first 90 days

So you’ll be able to earn cash back on dining and travel, just like the Deserve Pro. But you’ll get twice as much back for dining, and the category is also more inclusive. The Deserve’s category is actually “restaurants” and doesn’t include bars, for example.

There is no bonus category for entertainment with the Uber card, but you will get 2% back for online purchases. And many of those can potentially be entertainment-related, so it’s a bit similar.

The $100 signup bonus is a nice feature, something the Deserve Pro lacks. In addition, if you spend at least $5,000 per year, the Uber card provides a $50 annual statement credit for online subscriptions of various kinds. These include Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Prime, and more.

The extra benefits are pretty good. Besides the regular shopping and travel protections, it also comes with $600 in cell phone protection. If you pay your phone bill with the card you’ll get supplemental coverage for the damage, theft, or involuntary and accidental parting of your phone.

The Uber Visa has no foreign transaction fees and it also comes with EMV chip technology. It actually has both Chip-and-Signature and Chip-and-PIN capability, unlike most chip cards. That makes it a great option for traveling outside the country because it will be accepted pretty much everywhere and you won’t be charged extra.

The Uber card can be very rewarding, but it will be harder to get than the Deserve Pro. If you’re just beginning to establish a credit history you’re more likely to be approved for the Deserve card. But in time, as you improve your credit, you’ll eventually be able to qualify for more rewarding cards like the Uber Visa.

Citi Double Cash Card

The Citi Double Cash Card (Review) is very simple and easy to use.

Unlike the other cards on our list, it offers the same reward no matter where you shop:

  • 2% cash back on every purchase you make
    • 1% back at the time of purchase
    • 1% back when you pay those purchases off
  • Signup bonus: $100 cash bonus for spending $500 in the first 3 months after account opening

So you won’t need to think about any bonus categories with this card. Whatever you buy, you’ll get 2% cash back as long as you pay your bills on time.

This card also has an 18-month introductory 0% APR balance transfer offer. This is a pretty long offer compared to most cards, giving you quite a while to pay off a balance at no interest.

The other benefits are a bit better than what you’ll get with the Deserve Pro. These include the Price Rewind tool, which will provide reimbursement if something you buy ends up being sold for a lesser price. And there’s the Private Pass service, providing presale tickets and VIP packages to sports, concerts, dining experiences, and more.

This is a pretty straightforward card. While most cards only offer 1% back for those random, non-bonus-category purchases, the Double Cash provides 2% for everything. That makes it a good card to use in combination with others.

You could use the Double Cash and the Deserve Pro together, for instance. Just use the Deserve Pro whenever you’ll earn 3% or 2% back, and use the Double Cash for every other purchase. That will ensure you always get the highest reward possible, and it will split up your spending between the two cards.

Looking for other credit cards to earn rewards for more kinds of purchases? See our picks for the Best Reward Credit Cards.

How do you like your Deserve Pro Mastercard? Did you have an easy time being approved compared to other cards? Leave your own review of the Deserve Pro, we’d love to hear from you!

Was this helpful?

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by bank advertisers. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by bank advertisers. It is not the bank advertisers' responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

The Insider

Kat Tretina
Review of the American Express® Gold Card
Kat Tretina | Oct 19, 2018

With a $250 annual fee, some people might avoid the American Express Gold Card. But reconsider: it delivers exceptional value for travelers and foodies.

Read More
Susan Shain
What Are the World’s Most Exclusive Luxury Credit Cards? Here Are 8
Susan Shain | Oct 15, 2018

Want to see how the other half lives? Here are the world's most exclusive credit cards — one even has diamonds on it! We also share 3 you can apply for.

Read More
Kat Tretina
Review of the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students
Kat Tretina | Oct 11, 2018

The Citi ThankYou Preferred Card for College Students is made for limited credit and offers 2X points on dining and entertainment, plus other benefits.

Read More