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Deserve® Edu Mastercard for Students: A Great Option for Students

Deserve® Edu Mastercard for Students: A Great Option for Students

An excellent option, especially if you're a student with no credit file and no social security number.
Editor's Rating: 4.5/5.0

Editor's Rating


The Deserve Edu credit card is an excellent option for student who lacks a social security number (SSN). The card can help this group of people get a first credit card, and foot in the door of credit bureaus so they may begin building out their credit file. Deserve Edu is especially useful for international students, who are frequently struggle to get a regular U.S. credit card because they lack the necessary credentials in this country.

Review: Our Thoughts on the Deserve Edu Credit Card

The Deserve Edu card serves a very specific purpose. It's an excellent card for international students who lack social security numbers or credit histories. This consumer group is often turned down by other credit card issuers—most of whom require all applicants to possess a SSN.

Good for…Bad for…
Students (both domestic and international) without a SSN.Individuals who already have a U.S. credit score.
Students interested in building a credit history.

Once you're approved for the Deserve Edu, Deserve will begin reporting your financial account to the credit bureaus. If you continue to make your payments on time, keep your credit utilization low, and keep the account open, you will establish a positive credit history. However, you should tread carefully. If , on the other hand, you don't manage your credit card well and are late on your payments, that behavior will also be reported. And as someone completely new to credit, you should be be aware that these mistakes will carry greater weight now than if you made the same errors after, say, 20 years with an excellent credit history.

The Deserve Edu Credit Card goes one step further than helping students without SSNs build a credit history in the United States. Cardholders also get 1% cash back on all their purchases. If you demonstrate financially responsible behavior, you can eventually upgrade to the Deserve Pro Card which provides even better cash back rewards.

Bottom Line: The Deserve Edu card is a useful product that helps students without a social security number to receive a credit card, and to build and establish a credit history.

Deserve Edu Credit Card Benefits & Features

The primary benefit of the Deserve Edu Mastercard is to help students—both domestic and international—establish a credit history. The card doesn't require applicants to submit a social security number, nor do the applicants need to have an established credit file. Instead, Deserve uses alternative data to verify identity and assess creditworthiness. For example, it may use information from your bank accounts to see whether you keep your balance high, whether you often have overdrafts, etc.—all factors that will influence whether you're approved. Once you get either of these cards, your account and activity are reported to the credit bureaus, therefore helping you build and establish a credit profile.

Deserve® Edu Mastercard For Students
Annual Fee
No Annual Fee
Purchase APR
Credit Needed Poor
  • 1% unlimited cash back on All purchases
  • Deserve will pay for Amazon Prime Student, get free Video, Music, and Reading ($49.99 value)
  • Up to a $5,000 credit line
  • $0 annual fee
  • No security deposit or co-signer required
  • Builds credit history
  • 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

The card awards 1% cash back on all purchases. This does not apply to cash advances, balance transfers or any purchases that you return. If you make all your payments on time and are financially responsible, you can eventually graduate to the Deserve Pro Mastercard. This step-up card also has no annual fee, but provides substantially better cash back reward;. you'll get 3% back on travel and entertainment, 2% back at restaurants, and 1% back on all other purchases. The Deserve Pro card also comes with a larger credit limit. You can receive a limit of as much as to $10,000, which is double the maximum limit on the Deserve Edu credit card.

Currently, the Deserve Edu credit card comes with a special promotional offer. If you charge a Amazon Prime Student membership to the card, Deserve will reimburse you the fee for one year. That represents a $49 value, which is on par with the value of sign-up bonuses we see from top student credit cards.

Comparing All Three Deserve Credit Cards

There are three Deserve credit cards in total. The only one we haven't yet mentioned is the Deserve Classic—which is the worst of the bunch. The Classic has a $39 annual fee and no cash rewards to speak of. It also requires a SSN to apply, making it a poor choice for both international students and immigrants.

Deserve Classic MastercardDeserve Edu Credit CardDeserve Pro
Annual Fee$39$0$0
APR23.99% Variable19.74% variable16.99% to 23.99% Variable
Credit LimitUp to $1,500Up to $5,000Up to $10,000
Cash RewardsNone1% back on all purchases
  • 3% back on travel & entertainment
  • 2% back at restaurants
  • 1% back on all other purchases
Requires SSN?YesNoYes
Builds Credit History?YesYesYes

How Does the Deserve Edu Credit Card Compare to Other Options?

Before you apply for a credit card, it's worth taking time to evaluate your other options. We compared the Deserve Edu against other student credit card options.

Deserve Edu Credit Card vs Discover it® Student Cash Back

The Discover it® Student Cash Back is one of the best student credit cards. We recommend it over the Deserve Edu card for most people. The only caveat is that the Discover it® Student Cash Back, like most cards, requires a social security number. It's not a viable option for international students. If that's not an issue for you, then you should apply for the Discover card over the Deserve Edu. At its worst, it provides 1% cash back, thus matching the Deserve Edu. Besides that, the Discover it® Student Cash Back also awards up to 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter. Also, Discover doubles all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year.

Like the Deserve card, the Discover it® Student Cash Back reports your activity to the major credit bureaus. That will allow you to build up your credit history over time.


Deserve Edu Credit Card vs Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students

The Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students is a better option than the Deserve Edu card only if most of your budget goes towards dining out and entertainment purchases. In those two categories, the card awards a 2% rewards rate. For all other purchases you'll be awarded a 1% return. Unlike the Deserve Edu, the Citi credit card charges a 3% foreign transaction fee. That can be quite costly if you're an international student who wants to use your credit card at home, or are someone who frequently travels abroad.


Deserve Edu Credit Card vs BankAmericard Travel Rewards® for Students

If you live next to a Bank of America branch, you may be able to apply for the BankAmericard Travel Rewards® for Students. The card is better in every way than the Deserve Edu card. The only catch is that BofA requires all online credit card applicants to have a social security number. If you are a nonresident alien, however, they may still work with you. But, you need to visit a branch to find out. This option is less than ideal. With to get the Bank of America card, you'll get a 1.5% rewards rate on all purchases and no foreign transaction fees. Also, customers with a Bank of America checking or savings account get a 10% bonus on their rewards, boosting this card's rewards rate up to 1.65%


Comments and Questions

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How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).