Full Review of Deserve Edu Mastercard for Students
No credit score required
No security deposit or co-signer require
Fairly low rewards
- No Credit Score Required: The Deserve Edu Mastercard for students is designed for college students who have a short or nonexistent credit history (as most young people do). It is especially useful for international students, who would likely have a hard time getting American credit cards because they don’t have a Social Security number. Deserve Edu waives that requirement for foreign students (though they will need to have a U.S. bank account). As for students born in the U.S.A, Deserve makes it easier to get approval by not putting much weight on credit score and profile.
- No Security Deposit or Co-signer Required: Typically, if you have a limited credit history, or no credit at all, your only option is a secured credit card, which requires you to put down a security deposit which acts as your credit limit. Or you're required to have a co-signer, who’s on the hook for the bills if you can’t pay.
- High APR: Because it doesn't scrutinize applicants' credit histories, the Deserve Edu Mastercard hedges its rise with a higher-than-average APR on purchases. According to the Federal Reserve, the average credit card interest rate for all types of credit card accounts that are assessed interest was 16.88%, as of Q4 2019. By contrast, the Deserve Edu Mastercard has a variable APR of 19.74%. That's probably still a bit steep, even by student credit card standards, which most recently averaged 19.80% at the end of Q4 2019, but bear in mind that was prior to the latest series of significant interest rate cuts by the Federal Reserve - so that average is most likely well below that of Deserve Edu now. You can avoid paying interest fees by paying off your balance in full each month. But if you think you'll carry a balance on your card and if you have decent credit, you’d be better off signing up for a student credit card with a lower APR.
- Fairly Low Rewards: While the Deserve Edu Mastercard does have a rewards program, it’s fairly bare bones, and there is no bonus for new cardmembers. You’ll earn just 1% on cash back on your purchases. That’s not bad for a student credit card, but there are other credit cards available that offer better rewards if you have good enough credit. For example, you'll earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 spent each quarter with the Discover it Chrome for students card. And, you'll earn 1% cash back on every other purchase.
This Card is Best For
Seeks to maximize cash back earnings across spending categories
Resists or refuses an annual fee on principle or due to cost
Currently enrolled in an accredited four year college or university
The Deserve Edu Mastercard for students is oriented towards college students, obviously. More specifically, it’s best for college students who don’t have an established credit history, or for international students who have trouble qualifying for a card in the United States.
Rewards Earning Details
With this credit card, you’ll earn 1% cash back on every purchase you make. At the end of your billing period, your cash back is calculated by multiplying the total amount you spent—minus returns, account fees, and interest charges—by 1%.
To put that in perspective, consider that the National Association of College Stores reported that college students spent an average of $942 on required course materials, technology, and school supplies during the 2018–2019 academic year. If you used your Deserve Edu Mastercard to pay for that full amount, you’d earn $9.42 in cash back rewards.
Rewards Redemption Details
The Deserve Edu Mastercard for students makes redeeming your rewards easy. Any cash back you earn will be automatically redeemed for statement credits once you have accrued at least $25 in rewards.
However, it can take a while to earn enough rewards to qualify for the $25 redemption minimum. That can be a significant drawback, as other student credit cards like the Discover it Student Cash Back card allow you to redeem your rewards once you’ve earned as little as one cent.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
To get the most value from your card, use the Deserve Edu Mastercard early and often. Use it to pay for all of your essential expenses—educational or general living—and discretionary expenses too. You’ll earn 1% cash back on every purchase, big or small. If you spent $5,000 in a year just on routine expenses, you’d earn $50 in statement credits.
While 1% isn’t the largest percentage in the credit card world, it adds up. Plus, this card offers some savings in other particular areas too.
Deserve Edu Mastercard for Students' Outstanding Benefits
The Deserve Edu Mastercard for students offers some unusually valuable perks for a student credit card:
- Amazon Prime Student membership: Use your card when you register for an Amazon Prime Student subscription and you'll receive a statement credit up to $59 for your first year.
- Cell phone coverage: Pay your cell phone bill with your Deserve Edu Mastercard for students and you’ll get up to $600 in insurance coverage against damage or theft.
- $100 Feather subscription discount: Sign up for a subscription to Feather—a furniture rental service—with your Deserve card, and you'll get $100 off your first month.
- Lemonade credit: Pay for three consecutive months of Lemonade homeowners/renters' insurance with your Deserve card and you'll get a $10 statement credit.
- Secondary car rental damage and theft insurance
- Extended warranty protection
- Price protection
- Roadside assistance
Deserve is a relatively new company, and hasn't yet been ranked against national card issuers like Discover, American Express, or Capital One.
Unlike most major issuers, Deserve doesn't offer 24-hour customer service. Their call center—available by calling 1-800-418-2362—is only accessible Monday to Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. PT, and Saturday 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. PT.
That could be a problem if you have an issue with your account, such as if your card is stolen, after the call center's hours.
Like other credit cards, the Deserve Edu Mastercard for students offers zero liability protection. That means you aren't liable for unauthorized transactions made to your account.
You’ll also have access to Mastercard ID Theft Protection, which will monitor your account for suspicious activity, alert you if there are unusual transactions, and help you recover if your identity is stolen.
The Deserve Edu Mastercard for students is a solid option for college students with little to no credit history; for international students, who often have trouble qualifying for U.S. cards, it may be the only option. It offers a rewards program, has no annual fee, and doesn't require a security deposit. With added benefits like cell phone protection, it's surprisingly robust for a student card—in some ways.
In other ways, it's a bit anemic. You'll pay for the low eligibility standards with an APR that’s on the high side. The card also doesn’t offer an introductory APR on purchases, and it doesn’t allow balance transfers or cash advances.
While Deserve Edu Mastercard for students can be a useful starter card, as your credit history builds and your credit score improves, you're likely better off applying for another card from a major issuer that offers more rewards. Young people with more established credit histories can likely qualify for more advantageous student credit cards right off the bat.