- Rewards: 1% cash back on all eligible purchases
- Benefits: Free year of Amazon Prime Student with qualifying spend (at least $500 in purchases in the first 3 billing cycles); cellphone protection up to $600 per claim; extended warranties up to 12 months on eligible products with manufacturers’ warranties; complimentary car rental collision and loss waiver when you decline the rental company’s offer of insurance; travel assistance services (including lost luggage, legal, and medical services) for cardholders traveling more than 50 miles from home
- Intro APR: None
- Regular APR: 22.99% variable
- Fees: No foreign transaction fee
- Annual Fee: $0
- Credit Needed: Fair
Deserve EDU has no annual or foreign transaction fee, making it ideal for frugal cardholders who routinely travel outside the United States – including U.S. students studying at foreign universities and international students earning degrees in the United States. All Deserve cards, including EDU, come with a surprisingly strong lineup of value-added perks backed by Mastercard. And Deserve EDU has potentially valuable benefits of its own, including:
- Cellphone protection (less deductible and coverage limits)
- A free year of Amazon Prime Student ($69 value)
If you’re a university student looking for a U.S.-based credit card with international perks and credit-building power, it’s worth it to learn more about Deserve Edu. Here’s what you need to know.
These are the Deserve EDU Card’s most important features.
While Deserve EDU’s application process is familiar enough for consumers who’ve applied for credit cards before, it has a few twists worth noting:
- No Need for an SSN. International applicants don’t need to provide valid Social Security numbers when applying for this card. If you’re in the United States on a student visa and plan to return home once you’ve completed your studies, you don’t need to jump through any hoops to get this card.
- No Prior Credit History Required. You can apply for this card even if your credit history is a blank slate. For applicants without FICO scores, Deserve’s underwriting protocols incorporate factors like educational background, overall financial health, and projected income, and Deserve uses bank account verification – a process familiar to anyone with a Venmo or PayPal account – to confirm applicants’ financial representations. That’s good news for international students with no U.S. paper trail and younger Americans who’ve never had a credit card or personal loan before.
- All Documentation Can Be Submitted Via Image. Deserve accepts application documentation – such as passports, student visas, and I-20 forms for international students – via smartphone image capture. So, if you have no electronic files of the documentation necessary to process your application, you can still apply using your mobile phone by attaching digital photos of paper documents to your application.
All eligible purchases earn 1% cash back, with no caps or restrictions on earning potential. Deserve occasionally runs promotions that promise cash back at rates higher than 1%.
Cash back is automatically redeemed as a statement credit in $25 increments. Once earned, cash back does not expire as long as your account remains open and in good standing.
Maximum Credit Limit
Deserve Edu’s maximum credit limit is $5,000. Your actual credit limit will vary based on your financial history, personal creditworthiness (if you have a credit history), and your demonstrated ability to repay charges. Deserve may raise or lower your credit limit at any time, at its sole discretion, based on your payment patterns and credit usage.
Deserve EDU does not have an introductory APR promotion. From the day you open your account, the purchase APR is 22.99% variable. This rate is subject to change based on prevailing interest rates.
Deserve EDU does not allow balance transfers or cash advances.
Deserve EDU has no annual or foreign transaction fee. The late payment fee ranges up to $25. The returned payment fee ranges up to $37. Although Deserve EDU does not charge an over-limit fee, Deserve may decline transactions that would exceed your credit limit. Such transactions may hurt your credit score, as well.
Free Year of Amazon Prime Student
Deserve EDU cardholders in good standing qualify for a complimentary Amazon Prime Student membership for up to one year after spending $500 in the first 3 billing cycles.
To earn this benefit, open an Amazon Prime Student account, pay the monthly or annual fee with your Deserve EDU credit card, and make at least $500 in eligible purchases with your card in the first 3 billing cycles. Once you’re enrolled, Deserve reimburses your membership fees – $69 one time for an annual membership, following the six-month free period.
The lifetime reimbursement opportunity is capped at $59. See Deserve’s terms and conditions for other important caveats and restrictions.
Mastercard Platinum Benefits
Deserve EDU has some additional value-added benefits backed by Mastercard as part of its Platinum benefits package:
- Extended Warranty. This complimentary extended warranty coverage doubles qualifying manufacturers’ warranties on covered purchases. The maximum coverage extension is 12 months.
- Complimentary Rental Car Coverage. When you pay for a rental card in full with your Deserve card and decline the rental company’s offer of insurance, this benefit provides protection against damage and theft up to the policy limit.
- Price Protection. When you find a lower advertised price within 60 days of making a covered purchase, this benefit reimburses the difference between that advertised price and your original payment.
- Cellphone Protection. This insurance plan provides up to $600 in coverage for stolen or damaged cellphones, subject to a $25 deductible. Certain claims may require a police report.
- Travel Assistance Services. When you travel more than 50 miles from home, you’re entitled to lost luggage assistance, medical referrals, and legal referrals, even abroad.
Learn more about these and other Mastercard perks at Mastercard’s benefits portal.
Deserve EDU is designed for students with limited or impaired credit. As noted, applicants don’t have to show any prior credit history, and past credit issues, such as delinquencies, won’t necessarily disqualify your application. This makes Deserve EDU a reasonable first credit card choice for applicants who have been denied for other student credit cards.
These are among the Deserve EDU Card’s top advantages.
- No Annual Fee. This card has no annual fee. That’s great news for frugal cardholders who don’t want a recurring charge to offset their cash back earnings.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees. If you plan to travel abroad in college, or if you’re an international student planning to return home frequently during your time at an American university, you’ll love Deserve EDU’s strict no-foreign-transaction-fee policy.
- Decent Rewards for Its Tier. This card earns 1% cash back across the board, with no caps or restrictions on how much you can earn. While that’s not a great earning rate for a premium cash back credit card, it’s quite good for an entry-level option.
- No Prior Credit History Required. With emphasis on non-credit underwriting factors, Deserve EDU is designed for first-time credit card users. In fact, applicants need not show any prior credit history; even if Deserve EDU is the first credit product you’ve ever applied for, you may still qualify.
- Doesn’t Require a Security Deposit. Despite its obvious appeal to applicants with impaired credit, Deserve EDU is not a secured credit card. There’s no need to make a security deposit when you open your account – great news if you need all the funds you can get to pay for educational expenses.
- Mobile-Friendly Application Process. Deserve allows applicants to submit required documents, such as passports and student visas, via smartphone image capture. In other words, you don’t need to scan and save these documents to process your application – you just need a mobile device with a working camera.
- Solid Value-Added Benefits. Deserve EDU’s Mastercard-backed benefits include up to $600 in cellphone protection, up to 12 months’ extended warranty protection, travel assistance services for cardholders traveling more than 50 miles from home, complimentary rental car coverage when you pay in full with your card, and price protection for 60 days from the date of covered purchase. The $69 Amazon Prime Student subsidy for cardholders who meet the initial spend requirements certainly helps too.
These are among the Deserve EDU Card’s most notable disadvantages.
- No Introductory APR Promotion. Deserve EDU has no introductory APR promotion, rendering it unsuitable for big-ticket purchases soon after account opening. From the day you open your account, you’ll pay regular APR on any purchases not paid off by your statement due date.
- No Balance Transfers or Cash Advances Allowed. Deserve EDU doesn’t allow balance transfers or cash advances. If you’re struggling to pay down high-interest credit card debt accumulated elsewhere, look to a competitor card with a long 0% APR balance transfer promotion.
- $25 Cash Back Redemption Threshold. Deserve automatically issues a statement credit when your accumulated cash back balance hits $25. At 1% cash back across the board, this requires at least $2,500 in eligible spending. That’s not a problem for bigger spenders, but many students are apt to make only a few credit card purchases per billing cycle.
I’ve reviewed a lot of student credit cards, and I can safely say that Deserve EDU is among the best of the bunch. Its unlimited cash back earning potential, foreign transaction fee waivers, and lax underwriting standards are all great news for student cardholders, particularly those with limited or nonexistent credit histories. Although Deserve’s proprietary underwriting protocols may disadvantage student applicants deemed to have lower future earning potential, those with sound financial fundamentals should feel comfortable applying.
Deserve EDU is a great choice for U.S. and international students with limited or nonexistent credit histories and a penchant for value-added perks. Unlike many credit cards with comparable underwriting standards, it’s not secured, meaning there’s no security deposit required. The unlimited cash back earning potential and foreign transaction fee waiver don’t hurt, either.