Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students review

Bankrate Staff  in  Student How we rate our cards  | 

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Recommended Credit Score

No Credit History

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

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Best for students

Annual Fee:
$0
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
18.74% Variable
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Bankrate Rating

 

Best for students with no credit history

  • Rewards rate: 1 percent cash back on all purchases
  • Welcome offer: An Amazon Prime Student subscription reimbursement after spending $500 in the first three months of card membership
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Purchase intro APR: N/A
  • Balance transfer intro APR: N/A
  • Regular APR: 18.74 percent variable

The Deserve EDU Mastercard for Students makes it easy for students to start building credit. Applicants don’t need a credit history, and international students don’t need a Social Security number, both of which can be serious barriers for people seeking their first credit card.

While very little information is needed to approve an application for a Deserve EDU Mastercard for Students, applicants are required to at least have a checking account.

We’ll look at how the card equips students to build their credit and learn the ropes of responsible credit use, all while offering 1 percent cash back and other student-centric perks.

Deserve EDU Mastercard for Students current welcome bonus

Students who make purchases totaling $500 within the first three statement cycles of card membership qualify to have their Amazon Prime Student subscription reimbursed (a $59 value).

It doesn’t matter whether you choose the monthly or the annual plan—Deserve will foot the bill by crediting the cost back to your statement.

Cash Back

Students spend a significant amount on school supplies, textbooks and gear each year — costly categories that typically don’t earn rewards — and the Deserve EDU Mastercard earns cash back on these expenses plus more.

Earning cash back

While some card cards might have different bonus categories — which can be a lot for a new credit card user to track — this card allows students to earn 1 percent cash back on all purchases.

As with most lenders, there are some transactions that aren’t eligible for earning cash back, such as purchasing casino gaming chips.

Redeeming cash back

At the end of the billing cycle, your cash back is calculated at a rate of 1 percent of every qualifying purchase. This amount is then credited back to your statement in increments of $25, meaning it might take a few months to see a return if your everyday spending is low.

How much are rewards worth?

Like other cash back credit cards, your Deserve EDU cash back is calculated at 1 percent of your spending, meaning for every dollar you spend, you’ll get 1 cent back.

Deserve EDU Mastercard for Students: Benefits

By providing cash back to students, the Deserve EDU card is already miles ahead of other credit cards designed for applicants with no credit history. But the card also brings a few other benefits to the table that will reward cardholders.

No Social Security number required

If you’re a foreign student studying in the U.S. and have a checking account, you might qualify for this card, as a Social Security number isn’t required. Just be sure to have your passport number handy when you’re completing the online application.

Cellphone protection

If you charge your cellphone bill to the Deserve EDU Mastercard, you’ll be covered up to $600 if your phone is stolen or damaged.

You can also use your Deserve card to sign up and pay for any Mint Mobile wireless plan and you’ll get a $45 statement credit from the date of application through Nov. 11, 2021.

Auto rental damage and collision damage waiver

This is a game-changer for students who initiate and pay for a rental car with their Deserve EDU Mastercard. Coverage applies in the event of physical damage or theft.

Statement credits and discounts

In addition to the $45 statement credit when you pay for a Mint Mobile wireless plan with your Deserve EDU Mastercard through Nov. 11, 2021, you can also get a $10 statement credit after paying for three consecutive months of insurance through Lemonade.

If you need fresh furniture in New York City, Los Angeles or the Bay Area, you can sign up for Feather, a rental furniture subscription service, and can save $100 on your first month with your Deserve EDU Mastercard.

Mastercard Platinum benefits

Cardholders have access to additional Mastercard benefits with this card, such as ID theft protection and the Mastercard Airport Concierge (15 percent off meet-and-greet services to assist you at airports during your travels).

Rates and fees

Like many entry-level unsecured credit cards, the APR is a bit high at 18.74 percent variable, so try to avoid carrying a balance. Fortunately, there are no annual fees, over-the-credit limit fees or foreign transaction fees on this card, but there are a number of other fees to be aware of.

The late payment is up to $25, while the returned payment is up to $37. Balance transfers and cash advances are not available.

How the Deserve EDU Mastercard for Students compares to other student cards

Student credit cards often have a few things in common, such as a fairly high APR to counter the risk the financial institution carries and benefits tailored to students.

Two of the cards that compete with the Deserve EDU Mastercard for Students are the Discover it® Student Cash Back and the Journey Student Rewards from Capital One cards. The Discover It Student Cash Back card rewards good grades, and the Journey Student Rewards card’s cash back rate has a slight edge over the Deserve EDU’s rewards.

Card Rewards rate Annual fee Welcome offer Other details
Discover it® Student Cash Back
  • 5% cash back on rotating quarterly bonus category purchases (on up to $1,500 in combined purchases, then 1%; quarterly enrollment required)
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
$0 Discover matches all cash back earned by the end of your first 12 months.
  • 0% intro purchase APR for six months, plus six-month 10.99% intro balance transfer APR (12.99 percent to 21.99 percent variable APR after)
  • $20 Good Grades reward statement credit for 3.0 GPA and higher (for up to five consecutive years)
Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all purchases— boosted to 1.25% for the month if the card is paid on time
$0 Up to $60 select streaming service subscription credit ($5 per month for 12 months when the card is paid on time)
  • Access to the app-based Eno Capital One assistant
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver coverage, travel accident insurance and extended warranty coverage
Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students
  • Unlimited 1.5X points on all purchases
$0 25,000 points after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first 90 days.
  • 0% intro purchase APR for 12 billing cycles (14.99% to 22.99% variable after)

Best cards to pair with the Deserve EDU Mastercard for Students

Students who want to squeeze in as much travel as they can during their college years will find the Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students a great companion to their Deserve EDU Mastercard.

In addition to a great travel rewards rate of 1.5 percent, there’s also the sign-on bonus of 25,000 points for cardholders who make at least $1,000 in purchases within the first 90 days after signing up for the card.

Bankrate’s Take—Is the Deserve EDU Mastercard for Students worth it?

This card is an easy way for students to start building credit with no annual fee while taking advantage of a few student-friendly perks, but it’s not an especially exciting first credit card.

Its cash-back earning rate is a little low, and there isn’t an opportunity for balance transfers either.

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • High credit score and Social Security number aren’t required
  • Access to good student perks

Cons

  • No balance transfers
  • No cash advances
  • Relatively high APR
  • Comparably low cash-back earning rate

All information about the Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students has been collected independently by Bankrate and has not been reviewed or approved by the issuer.