Are you looking for a credit card to help you build credit? Or maybe you're a student looking for your first credit card. That's where Deserve credit cards come into the picture.
These new cards are designed to help you start and build credit, while also getting rewarded for your spending and responsible use.
They have some innovative features, such as not requiring a social security number for international students.
So, should you consider the Deserve card? See how they compare to our list of the best rewards credit cards.
- Offers credit cards for those who lack a credit history, credit score, or Social Security number
- Designed for new users or student credit cards
- Allows people to build their credit profile
What Is Deserve?
Deserve is a fintech and card-as-a-service (CaaS) company. They provide leading financial institutions with the ability to offer their customers branded credit cards (white-label). Deserve has built out a CaaS platform with tools, analysis, and education for its customers.
Deserve is not a bank and uses Celtic Bank, a Utah-chartered industrial bank and Member of the FDIC, to issue its credit cards. They are located in Menlo Park, CA. The CEO of Deserve is Kalpesh Kapadia.
Deserve started as a direct-to-consumer credit card company. It has since grown into a CaaS company and is funded by names such as Sallie Mae, Accel, Pelion Venture Partners, Aspect Ventures, Mission Holdings, Alumni Ventures Group, SparkLabs Ventures, Fenway Summer Ventures, and GDP Venture. It recently received $50 million in funding from Goldman Sachs.
What Do They Offer?
In addition to its B2B CaaS offerings, Deserve has three different credit cards available for consumers.
Deserve differentiates itself by allowing almost anyone to get a credit card. This includes people without a credit score, Social Security number, or those who are not citizens of the U.S. Deserve cards are unsecured, which means customers do not have to first deposit money with the card.
Deserve wants to help consumers develop better financial habits through its use of education, tips, and tools, some of which are delivered via its mobile app.
Because most of Deserve’s customers lack a credit history, many of its credit cards have high APRs. All cards have a $0 annual fee. They all include the following:
- Cell phone protection
- Collision damage waiver
- No international transaction fees
Balance transfers and cash advances are not available on any Deserve cards.
Let’s look at each of the three different credit card offerings in detail. You’ll notice that as you work your way down this list, the benefits decrease and the APRs increase.
Deserve PRO — Best Rate and Most Perks
- Big perk — one year of Priority Pass membership
- Cash-back — 3% on travel and entertainment, 2% on restaurants, and 1% on everything else
- Mastercard World benefits
Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students — Higher Rate and Fewer Perks
- Big perk — 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).
- Cash-back — 1% on all purchases
- Mastercard Platinum benefits
- No Social Security number required for international students to apply
Deserve CLASSIC — Highest Rate and No Perks
- Big perk: none
- Cash-back: none
Amazon Prime Student isn’t added automatically after you’re approved for a Deserve EDU card. You must register for Amazon Prime Student on Amazon’s website. Your Deserve card is used to pay for the service. Deserve will then reimburse you monthly or annually, depending on the billing plan that you choose. Note that your account must be in good standing to receive the reimbursement.
Priority Pass, offered with Deserve PRO, offers access to 1,300+ airport lounges. It is a $99/year value. To receive a Priority Pass membership with your Deserve PRO card, you need to make $1,000 in purchases within the first 90 days.
Cash-back rewards are issued in $25 increments.
Note that you are not able to request a credit limit increase on Deserve cards. However, Deserve does periodically analyze customer accounts and will increase credit limits depending on customer creditworthiness. Initial credit limits are determined from your application.
Deserve mobile apps seem to be fairly simple. They provide some insights into helping you build your credit, but not much else that isn’t already available on most any banking app.
Deserve mobile apps are available for the iPhone and Android. The iPhone app has a 2.9/5.0 rating out of 7 ratings, and the Android app has a 4.1 rating out of 167 ratings.
Are There Any Fees?
Yes, there are a couple of common fees to look out for:
- Late payment — up to $25
- Returned payment — up to $37
How Do I Open an Account?
You can visit their website to open an account.
Is My Money Safe?
Yes, Deserve cards are FDIC-insured. Its website and mobile apps use bank-grade encryption. Deserve is also a PCI DSS 3.2-compliant Level 1 merchant and is SOC 2 type 2-compliant.
Is It Worth It?
For those who lack a Social Security number or credit history, Deserve cards offer a chance to build your credit using an unsecured credit card.
Using your card conservatively and paying your balance each month can help to avoid high-interest fees.
While not everyone will be approved for a Deserve card, it’s certainly worth a try if you are trying to build your credit and don’t have too many options.
Deserve Card Review
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him on the About Page, or on his personal site RobertFarrington.com.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.