Deserve Mastercards are issued by Celtic Bank, Member FDIC

If you’re an international student or trying to build your credit history, the Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students and Petal® 1 “No Annual Fee” Visa® Credit Card (issued by WebBank) are good options.

Here’s a look at how these two student credit cards match up, plus tips on how to determine which card is the best for your situation.

Main details

Deserve EDU Mastercard for Students Petal 1 “No Annual Fee” Visa
Welcome bonus Up to $59 of Amazon Prime Student subscription reimbursement after spending $500 in the first three months None
Rewards rate 1% cash back on all purchases None (though you can earn select cash back through the Petal Perks program)
Intro APR None None
Regular APR 22.49% variable 24.49% to 33.99% variable
Annual fee $0 $0

Deserve EDU Mastercard for Students vs. Petal 1 Visa highlights

Welcome bonus winner: Deserve EDU Mastercard

If you spend $500 within your first three months, you’ll get up to $59 toward Amazon Prime Student subscription reimbursement. This perk can certainly benefit students looking to take advantage of free two-day shipping and thousands of free movies and TV shows.

The Petal 1 Visa, on the other hand, doesn’t offer a welcome bonus.

Rewards rate winner: Deserve EDU Mastercard

The Petal 1 Visa doesn’t offer a standard rewards program, either, making the Deserve EDU Mastercard’s 1 percent cash back rewards on all purchases the winner.

With the Petal 1 Visa, you can only earn rewards through the Petal Perks program, which you’ll automatically be enrolled in as a cardholder; you can think of it as similar to programs like Chase Offers or BankAmeriDeals. Essentially, merchant offers will appear in your online account, and when you make a purchase with those merchants, you’ll earn anywhere from 2 to 10 percent cash back (rewarded the next billing cycle). Examples of merchants include Gap and Lowe’s.

Annual fee winner: Tied

Neither of these cards comes with an annual fee, making them both good options for students on a budget.

Foreign transaction fee winner: Tied

With both the Deserve EDU Mastercard and Petal 1 Visa, you won’t be charged foreign transaction fees for purchases made outside of the United States. This makes either card a fair choice for students looking to study abroad.

Which card earns the most?

It’s safe to say you stand a better chance of earning more with the Deserve EDU Mastercard since you’ll earn a flat rate of 1 percent cash back on everything you buy — whereas the Petal 1 Visa can’t guarantee specific rates or qualifying merchants for your purchases.

Regardless, let’s take a look at a short spending example to help you understand how much you can earn as a Deserve EDU credit card holder.

Spending example

Let’s say you spend $1,500 in a year on your Deserve EDU Mastercard for Students. That means you’ll earn $15 per year in statement credits. Of course, the more you spend, the more you’ll earn in cash back rewards.

While that’s not a whole lot of money whatsoever, the card offers other perks that can make it worthwhile, covered below.

Why should you get the Deserve EDU Mastercard for Students?

Here are a few additional Deserve EDU Mastercard for Students benefits to keep in mind when deciding whether or not to apply.

Additional benefits

  • Cellphone protection. You’ll receive cellphone protection of up to $600 per claim (and up to $1,000 per year across two claims) if your device is damaged or stolen. Note, in order to receive this coverage, you must pay your cellphone bill with the Deserve EDU Mastercard. For a card designed for those with limited or no credit history, this is an excellent perk.
  • Apply without a Social Security number. One unique perk of the Deserve EDU Mastercard is that you don’t need a Social Security number to apply and be approved, making it a great option for international students.
  • Mastercard Platinum benefits. As a cardholder, you’ll receive Mastercard Platinum benefits, including ID theft protection and zero liability protection.
  • Auto rental damage and collision damage waiver. If you ever need to rent a car (think: Spring Break), you can rest easy knowing you’re protected with the Deserve EDU Mastercard’s secondary coverage.

Redemption options

Your rewards are calculated at the end of each billing cycle and will be automatically redeemed as a statement credit in increments of $25. However, you will not be eligible to redeem your cash back rewards if your account is delinquent or over the limit.

Recommended credit score

There is no minimum required credit score, making this card a good option for anyone looking to build credit history as a student.

Why should you get the Petal 1 Visa?

Take into account the following perks to determine if the Petal 1 “No Annual Fee” Visa Credit Card is worth it for you.

Additional benefits

  • Higher credit limit. The Petal 1 Visa comes with a higher-than-average initial credit limit range for starter cards — between $300 and $5,000. This perk offers you the ability to keep your credit utilization ratio low as you spend.
  • Potential for credit limit increase. If you make on-time payments for six months, you can qualify for an automatic credit limit increase.
  • Traditional Visa card benefits. As a Visa credit card holder, you’ll get access to the network’s zero liability protection, meaning you’re covered from unauthorized purchases if your card is lost or stolen, as well as emergency card replacement, roadside dispatch,  emergency cash disbursement and more.

Redemption options

Through the Petal Perks program, you can redeem your rewards as a statement credit or request an ACH transfer or check if the redemption amount exceeds $20. You can access this information on the Perks page in your Petal account.

Recommended credit score

Petal doesn’t recommend a specific credit score — the lender will check your credit score, but it’s not the only factor used to determine eligibility. When you apply, Petal creates a Cash Score that’s based on factors like your banking history, income and bill payment history.

The bottom line

The Deserve EDU Mastercard for Students and Petal 1 “No Annual Fee” Visa are both good options for students trying to build credit. But before you choose a student credit card, make sure to fully research your options — including those on our list of the top student credit cards.