Deserve® EDU Mastercard Review


Rating as of Feb. 13, 2020 based on a review of services September 30, 2021.

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  • Fair/
  • Good/
  • Excellent/
  • New to Credit
Poor 500-599
Fair 600-699
Good 700-749
Excellent 750-850
Our Bottom Line:

The Deserve® EDU Mastercard is a great option to helps students build their credit history and gain financial independence. Cardholders will be eligible for credit limits up to $5000 all while earning 1% unlimited cash back on all purchases and getting complimentary cellphone insurance up to $600. Plus there’s no security deposit required, no co-signer required, and no annual fee.

Intro APR Purchases N/A
Intro Term Purchases N/A
Intro APR Balance Transfers N/A
Intro Term Balance Transfers N/A
Regular APR 20.24% Variable
Annual Fee $0
  • 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™ and Master Rental®.
Editor's Note - You can trust the integrity of our balanced, independent financial advice. We may, however, receive compensation from the issuers of some products mentioned in this article. Opinions are the author's alone. This content has not been provided by, reviewed, approved or endorsed by any advertiser, unless otherwise noted below.

The Deserve® EDU Mastercard card helps you rebuild your credit or build it for the first time. It’s not a secured card, meaning there’s no deposit, and Deserve uses your credit history and other data to determine your potential – making it a more well-rounded approval process.

Designed primarily for students, the Deserve® EDU Mastercard gives you cash back, Amazon Prime access, and allows international students without a Social Security Number to be approved.

Let’s have a more in-depth look at the Deserve® EDU Mastercard card below.

Key facts

  • Free Amazon Prime Student membership for one year.
  • Cash back on all purchases.
  • Cellphone protection.
  • Collision damage waiver.
  • Mastercard Platinum benefits.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • No annual fee.
  • No Social Security Number required for international students to apply.

In-depth analysis

So you have a basic overview of the Deserve® EDU Mastercard, but now let’s go a little further into what it offers so you can decide if the card is right for you or not. 

Rewards

First of all, I have to say that a card that’s geared toward students, and those building or rebuilding their credit THAT STILL OFFERS REWARDS, is an excellent card to consider. Most secured cards or credit-building cards focus purely on giving you access to credit so you can rebuild, not so you can earn rewards.

That said, the Deserve® EDU Mastercard gives you a flat 1% cash back on all of your purchases. While it’s not the highest cash back rate you’ll find, it works for a card that you’re using to build up your credit profile.

Plus, you don’t have to worry about rotating categories or higher tiers for specific types of purchases – it’s a flat 1% all the time, regardless of what you buy and where. There’s also no limit on the cash back you can earn.

Bonuses

While the Deserve® EDU Mastercard card doesn’t give what you’d consider a typical sign-up bonus, it has a lot of different benefits that you won’t find on many other cards. I’ll share more about these benefits below.

APR

The Deserve® EDU Mastercard has a 20.24% Variable APR.

One thing to note about this card is that you can’t do a balance transfer or cash advance, so there is no corresponding APR for those options.

Annual fee

The Deserve® EDU Mastercard does not have an annual fee, which is a huge bonus if you ask me. Many cards designed to help you build credit (like a secured card) are either going to require a deposit or have an annual fee. Sometimes both.

The fact that this card doesn’t have a fee (in addition to the other benefits it has) makes it a very good card to keep in your wallet for all purchases.

Fees (other than annual fees)

Here are some of the other fees to be mindful of with the Deserve® EDU Mastercard:

  • Late payment fee – up to $25.
  • Returned payment fee – $37.

Also, you might get hit with a fee for requesting a new card be sent via express mail, having statements re-printed and sent to you, or making an expedited payment. And remember, you can’t do a balance transfer or cash advance, so there’s no fee.

Other unique benefits

Lemonade Insurance

Deserve EDU Credit Card Review - LemonadeLemonade Insurance provides renter’s insurance for cheap – and it’s really easy to sign up.

When you use your Deserve® EDU Mastercard to pay for three straight months of Lemonade, you’ll get a free $10 credit to your account, which is pretty sweet.

Check out our Lemonade Insurance review to learn more about it.

Amazon Prime Student

Most of us at this point probably have Amazon Prime. But even if you do, you can take advantage of a free year of Amazon Prime Student with the Deserve® EDU Mastercard. Amazon Prime Student costs $59 normally, so if you pay for your membership using your card, they’ll reimburse you the cost.

As you well know by now, Amazon Prime Student has a plethora of benefits, including free two-day shipping, access to free music, and free streaming movies and shows. 

Cellphone protection

Assuming you have a smartphone, you can get complimentary insurance protection on it when you pay your bill using your Deserve EDU credit card. Deserve, through Mastercard, will provide you coverage if your phone is damaged or stolen.

While it’s smart to read the full terms and conditions, the basics are simple. You can file a claim for up to $600 each time, and up to a total of $1,000 per year. Your deductible will be $50.

There are a few things the coverage won’t protect, like if you lose your phone, but otherwise it’s fairly comprehensive.

Master Rental® (collision damage waiver)

Oftentimes as a student, you’ll need to travel. If you’re of age to rent a car, you’ll get collision damage waiver coverage at no additional charge. This means that you’re covered if the car you rent is damaged or stolen, assuming you pay for the car using your Deserve® EDU Matercard and decline the coverage offered by the rental company.

Here are the complete terms and conditions for Master Rental® so you can know what’s covered and what isn’t.

Mastercard Platinum benefits

The Deserve® EDU Mastercard gets you all the benefits of Mastercard Platinum. This includes:

  • Mastercard ID Theft Protection – get free identity monitoring, lost wallet assistance, and other identity-related perks.
  • Mastercard Global Service – receive 24×7 support anywhere across the globe when you need help with things such as getting cash out for an emergency, having a credit card sent to you in an emergency, and other urgent situations you might be in.
  • Mastercard Airport Concierge – this perk gets you a discount on airport meet and greet services. This allows you to get someone to help you with your bags, walk you through the airport, and make sure you’re going as efficiently as possible. I just did this with a trip to Orlando and it was an amazing time-saver.

How much you can earn with the Deserve® EDU Mastercard

So how much does 1% cash back actually get you? It’s fairly easy to think about the math, but I want to look at both a budget spender and a premium spender, so you can see how much you can actually earn by the end of the year.

For the sake of example, let’s consider a budget spender someone who spends $1,000 per month on their Deserve® EDU Mastercard, and a premium spender someone who spends $2,000 per month on their card.

Budget spender

 Spending per monthEarnings after one year
Travel$100$12
Restaurants$300$36
Groceries$300$36
Entertainment$150$18
Other purchases$150$18
Cash rewards earnings$1,000$120
Annual fee$0$0
Total earnings:$120

Premium spender

 Spending per monthEarnings after one year
Travel$200$24
Restaurants$400$48
Groceries$500$60
Entertainment$250$30
Other purchases$650$78
Cash rewards earnings$2,000$240
Annual fee$0$0
Total earnings:$240

Pros & cons

Pros

  • Works for international students — If you’re an international student coming to the United States and you need a credit card for purchases (which, odds are you will), you can get this card without having a Social Security Number.
  • Free Amazon Prime — Amazon Prime is just awesome, and you can get it free for a year when you pay for it using your Deserve EDU card. This means you can have your ramen noodles sent to your dorm super fast.
  • No annual fee — There’s no annual fee for having the card, which means you can keep it in your wallet and use it as little or as much as you’d like and you won’t have to worry about paying for it.

Cons

  • Weak rewards program — Don’t get me wrong, 1% cash back on a credit-builder type card is great. But compared to the Deserve PRO card, I would have liked to see a higher percentage on another category or two.
  • High APR — Don’t plan on carrying a balance with this card because it'll cost you a pretty penny in interest. Make sure you only charge what you can pay off by the end of the month.

Deserve® EDU Mastercard compared

It’s hard to compare the Deserve® EDU Mastercard card to other cards since it’s very different. It’s designed to be for people who are new to credit or those rebuilding their credit. So the closest type of card I could recommend would be a secured card.

But, secured cards are still a lot different. They focus mostly on your credit score (whereas Deserve focuses on other factors), and you’re required to put down a deposit to get a credit line (which is often very small) and potentially pay an annual fee.

Should you get the Deserve® EDU Mastercard?

As I started to say above, the Deserve® EDU Mastercard is definitely for students. To sign up for an Amazon Prime Student account you have to have a student email address, anyway. So if you’re not a student, this card doesn’t make a ton of sense.

If you’re an international student, I can’t think of another card I would recommend off the top of my head for you. The fact that you don’t need a Social Security Number to get approved is amazing. That process can be arduous, and sometimes you’re just studying in the US for a year anyway.

Summary

I really like what Deserve is doing by offering credit cards to those who are trying to build credit without putting them through the hassle of deposits, annual fees, and strict credit score requirements.

The Deserve® EDU Mastercard is a great card for students who are still building credit, as well as those coming from out of the country looking to get a card for either a short-term trip or long-term study.

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About the author

Chris Muller picture
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Chris has an MBA with a focus in advanced investments and has been writing about all things personal finance since 2015. He’s also built and run a digital marketing agency, focusing on content marketing, copywriting, and SEO, since 2016. You can connect with Chris on Twitter.