Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students review

Lidia Davis  in  Student How we rate our cards  |  Advertiser Disclosure
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Best for students

Annual Fee:
Purchase Intro APR:
Regular APR:
18.74% Variable
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students: Details and benefits

If you’re a student with little to no credit, the Deserve® EDU Mastercard for students is an excellent tool to wield as a starter. In fact, Deserve makes the barrier to entry to credit building just about as low and manageable as it gets. Rather than homing in on your credit history alone, Deserve uses a proprietary algorithm to take other facets of your financial health into consideration, like your bank account. 

International students don’t have to provide a Social Security Number to apply, and there’s no deposit required. For a starter card, it also offers cash back rewards on all purchases. You’ll get 1% back on everything you spend, and these rewards won’t expire for the life of the card.


  • No annual fee
  • Mastercard Platinum benefits
  • Get reimbursed on your Amazon Prime Student membership (lifetime value of $59) for one year when you pay with your Deserve EDU Mastercard after spending $500 in the first 3 billing cycles
  • 1% cash back on all purchases
  • Cellphone protection up to $600
  • No deposit required
  • No foreign transaction fee


  • You won’t be able to make balance transfers or withdraw cash advances on this card
  • 18.74% variable APR
  • Late payment fee of up to $25

Is the Deserve EDU Mastercard worth it for you?

The Deserve EDU really shines in its openness to students with little or no credit, and it may be especially appealing to international students studying in the U.S. (who won’t have to enter an SSN to apply). Deserve takes a holistic approach to evaluating your financial health — not just your FICO Score or credit history

Depending on what your credit goals are, though, this card may or may not be right for you.

For starters, there are other student cards out there with better cash back rewards, like the Discover it® Student Cash Back (not currently available)* card, which offers 5% back in rotating categories (up to $1,500 a quarter) like gas stations, grocery stores, and more (activation required), then 1% thereafter. However, if you’re looking for a much simpler rewards structure, the Deserve EDU’s 1% on all purchases may be more appealing to you. (Plus, there’s no annual fee.)

Deserve EDU cardholders will also enjoy reimbursement on an Amazon Prime Student membership purchase ($59 value) for one year after spending $500 in the first 3 billing cycles. With an Amazon Student Prime membership, college students can stock up on textbooks, school supplies, apparel and groceries, all while taking advantage of free two-day shipping. 

The Deserve EDU isn’t ideal if you’re looking to finance a purchase or transfer some debt. Interest will begin accruing on this card after you fail to make a payment on time (purchase APR is variable 18.74%), whereas some starter cards offer an introductory 0% APR on purchases. The Deserve EDU also doesn’t offer balance transfers or cash advances. To compare, the Discover it Student Cash Back card offers a see terms APR on purchases for the first six months (see terms variable APR thereafter).

Get the most value from the Deserve EDU Mastercard

All Deserve cards come with Mastercard Platinum Benefits, which include protections like online PII (personally identifiable information) and identity theft monitoring, as well as lost and stolen card reporting/replacement.

The crux of this card lies in its low barrier to entry for students who don’t have the credit history needed to start building it.

How much are the Deserve EDU Mastercard rewards worth?

The Deserve EDU offers 1% cash back on all purchases. So if you spend $500 one month, that’s only $5 back in your pocket. Still, a good majority of starter cards don’t offer cash back rewards of any kind, so having some may be better than having none, depending on where you are on your credit journey.

If you’re a college student looking for a more lucrative cash rewards but still don’t have the credit for a more premium card, check out our best credit cards for students review.

How to redeem rewards

All cash back will be automatically redeemed in the form of statement credits in $25 increments. For reference, you’ll have to spend $2,500 in order to receive the automatic statement credit of $25 on the Deserve EDU Mastercard for Students. 

*The information about the Discover it Student Cash Back has been collected independently by The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.

This page includes information about Discover products that are not currently available on Bankrate and may be out of date.