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Is the Deserve EDU Mastercard for Students worth it?

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Deserve Mastercards are issued by Celtic Bank, Member FDIC

The Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students is one of the best student credit cards on the market — but it’s not for everybody. It’s a credit-building card, which means that students with no credit history, including international students, are encouraged to apply. And if your application is approved, you can use your Deserve EDU Mastercard to begin establishing good credit.

Is the Deserve EDU Mastercard for Students worth it? There are a lot of pros and cons associated with student credit cards, and the Deserve EDU Mastercard has both. Here’s a guide to help you decide whether this card is right for you, or if you’d be better off applying for a different starter credit card.

As a reminder: Details of the Deserve EDU Mastercard for Students

  • Rewards rate: 1 percent cash back on all purchases
  • Welcome offer: Up to $59 of Amazon Prime Student subscription reimbursement after spending $500 in the first three months of card membership
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Regular APR: 20.99 percent variable

When is the Deserve EDU Mastercard for Students worth it?

If you’re a student with no credit history or an international student who needs a credit card that doesn’t require a Social Security number, the Deserve EDU Mastercard for Students could be an excellent choice.

This card is designed to help college students build credit — especially students who might not be able to access some of the other student credit cards on the market. Cardholders have the opportunity to earn 1 percent cash back on every purchase, giving students another incentive to apply. With no annual fee and a welcome bonus worth up to $59 in reimbursements toward an Amazon Prime Student subscription, the financial benefits of the Deserve EDU Mastercard for Students quickly add up.

Yes, some of the other student credit cards on the market offer higher rewards and better perks. But if your credit history isn’t strong enough to apply for a top student credit card like the Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card, for example, you can use the Deserve EDU Mastercard to establish good credit and become eligible for a better card in the future.

When is the Deserve EDU Mastercard for Students not worth it?

If you’re a college student who has already established a positive credit history (maybe by becoming an authorized user on a parent’s credit card, for example) the Deserve EDU Mastercard for Students might not be your best option.

With a good credit score already on your record, you might want to look for a student credit card that offers better perks (or even see if you’re eligible for a standard rewards credit card). Consider using Bankrate’s CardMatch tool to see prequalified credit card offers (which won’t affect your credit score), and then decide which card might be the best fit.

Should you get the Deserve EDU Mastercard for Students?

If you’re a college student and you want to build credit fast, the Deserve EDU Mastercard for Students is ready to help. Every payment you make on your Deserve EDU Mastercard is reported to the three major credit bureaus — and once Equifax, Experian and TransUnion add that information to your credit report, credit scoring agencies like FICO and VantageScore can start adjusting your credit score.

However, if you’re not sure you’re ready to manage a credit card balance, make on-time payments and avoid purchases that you can’t pay off in full, you might want to reconsider applying for a student credit card. The Deserve EDU Mastercard for Students can help you build your credit, but only if you use your credit card responsibly. If you miss payments, run up debt or max out your credit card, you could end up worse off than you started.

The bottom line

If you’re a college student with a limited credit history, the Deserve EDU Mastercard for Students could be a good choice. International students who need a credit card that doesn’t require a Social Security number may also want to consider this option.

While other top student credit cards may offer better rewards, the Deserve EDU Mastercard for Students still offers that all-important entry to credit — which makes it a worthwhile option for anyone who wants to start building a positive credit history.

Written by
Nicole Dieker
Personal Finance Contributor
Nicole Dieker has been a full-time freelance writer since 2012—and a personal finance enthusiast since 2004, when she graduated from college and, looking for financial guidance, found a battered copy of Your Money or Your Life at the public library. In addition to writing for Bankrate, her work has appeared on CreditCards.com, Vox, Lifehacker, Popular Science, The Penny Hoarder, The Simple Dollar and NBC News. Dieker spent five years as writer and editor for The Billfold, a personal finance blog where people had honest conversations about money. Dieker also teaches writing, freelancing and publishing classes and works one-on-one with authors as a developmental editor and copyeditor.
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Part of  Introduction to the Deserve EDU Mastercard for Students