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Deserve Edu Mastercard for Students Review

overall rating

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For international students or students with limited credit histories, the Deserve Edu Mastercard for students is a solid option. It has no annual fee and doesn't require a security deposit, and you’ll earn 1% cash back on every purchase you make.

Deserve® Edu Mastercard for Students

Overall Rating
Deserve® Edu Mastercard for Students
On Celtic Bank's Secured Site.
Current Offer

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).

Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Fair - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 19.74% - 29.74% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 1% cash back on all purchases.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
how this card stacks up
When compared among all student cards in our database:
Low Interest
Security/Customer Experience
Low Fees
worst best

The Deserve Edu Mastercard Credit Card for Students is no longer available.

The Deserve Edu Mastercard for Students is not one of our top-rated student credit cards. You can review our list of the best student credit cards for what we think are better options.

Full Review of Deserve Edu Mastercard for Students

  • No security deposit or co-signer require

  • Refer a Friend program

  • High APR

  • Fairly low rewards

Pros Explained

  • 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 that 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.
  • Refer a Friend program: Refer anyone to Deserve using your personal referral code and receive $30 upon their card activation.

Cons Explained

  • 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 19.07%, as of November 2022. By contrast, the Deserve Edu Mastercard has a variable APR of 19.74% to 29.74% as of February 2023. That's probably still a bit steep, even by student credit card standards. 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 traditional cash back bonus for new card members. 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.

Who This Card Is Best For

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 $456 on required course materials, technology, and school supplies during the 2020–2021 academic year. If you used your Deserve Edu Mastercard to pay for that full amount, you’d earn $4.56 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:

  • 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. 
  • Amazon Prime Student subscription credit: Sign up for an Amazon Prime Student subscription and get reimbursed up to a life-time total of $59.

Standard Benefits

  • Secondary car rental damage and theft insurance
  • Extended warranty protection
  • Price protection

Cardholder Experience

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, 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 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.

Security Features

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.

Final Verdict

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.

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Deserve® Edu Mastercard for Students
overall rating
Deserve® Edu Mastercard for Students
Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Fair - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 19.74% - 29.74% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 1% cash back on all purchases.
Investopedia Credit Card Rating Methodology
Investopedia is committed to delivering the best credit card recommendations in the industry. We’ll tell you when a card is good, we’ll tell you when a card is bad, and we’ll only call a card the best if we would recommend it to our friends or family members.
Overall Star Rating Explained
To rate credit cards we objectively assess, score and weight nearly 100 individual card features which roll up into five major feature sets: fees, interest, rewards, benefits and security/customer service. Here’s how we weighted those feature sets for the overall star rating of a card:
We have applied our proprietary rating methodology to every generally-accepted credit card in the U.S. domestic market to allow consumers to make fully informed choices. It’s important to note that for our overall score that we make a number of assumptions about how you would be using your credit card:
  1. While we make no assumption as to whether balances are carried on a given card we do assign varying weights to all credit cards’ introductory APR (if present) in addition to the regular, long term purchase and balance transfer interest rates.
  2. We utilize BLS (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) income and average category spending data to calculate annual earnings rates for rewards cards that offer cash back, points or miles rewards at a set rate on all spending or in consideration of bonus rewards for certain spending categories, like gasoline, groceries, restaurants or travel.
  3. We determine the maximum points value of rewards cards by dividing the points, cash back or miles required to exchange for the retail price of the most valuable redemption option (for example, in the case of a card that offers a domestic roundtrip airline ticket as a redemption option vs. another redemption option of lesser value that requires the same amount of points or miles to acquire, we would base the rewards value on the airline ticket).
  • Cards that are selected best overall in their respective categories generally feature most if not all of the following attributes:
  • Low or Reasonable Fees Credit card fees come in many forms but the primary ones involve those for annual card membership and balance transfer. There are a myriad of reward and non-reward card options that charge no annual fee but for the many that do assess an annual fee the cost is often justified by their lucrative ongoing rewards and initial signup bonuses. Balance transfer fees are occasionally waived during introductory periods with certain cards, a factor which is heavily and positively weighted in our scoring model for cards offering this benefit. When charged, balance transfer fees range between 3% - 5%, which we grade accordingly. Other standard fees can generally be avoided, such as those for paying late or taking cash advances but we rate those relative to other cards in the market for reference, though with less weight assigned
  • Competitive Interest Many cards offer 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for varying lengths and then revert to a permanent or regular APR (based on a variable rate tied to the prime rate) that applies to any balances not paid in full. We rate both introductory APR percentage and length (in months) along with the midpoint of the variable regular APR interest rate range.
  • Valuable Rewards Credit card reward programs can be based on cash back, points or travel rewards (which can be generic or travel partner-specific, as with airline and hotel co-brand card programs). For cards that offer rewards we determine the value per dollar spent along with average redemption values and assign more favorable ratings to cards that offer superior consumer value. We also assign value to sign-up bonus offers and their initial spending requirements, when present.
  • Excellent Benefits Credit card benefits cover a range of offerings like concierge service, TSA Pre-check, auto rental coverage, travel accident insurance, lost luggage assistance and free credit scores. We rate cards on the number and level of over a dozen standard and upscale benefits and provide extra weighting emphasis for those travel-related perks that apply to premium travel cards when present.
  • Solid Security/Customer Service Security and customer service features like lost or stolen card replacement, being able to lock one’s card from an issuer app and 24 hour customer support are becoming more standard across the card market and we provide a significant amount of weighting to features in this area.
  • You can also read the full version of our methodology for a more in-depth look at how we assess cards and award them the best in various categories.