Deserve Credit Card Review

People with a thin credit file or no credit history, as well as those who lack a Social Security number, have limited options when it comes to applying for a credit card. Fortunately, they could turn to Deserve, a credit card issuer that offers credit cards to people who don’t have established credit histories.

Deserve, formerly called SelfScore, is a credit company that caters to US and international students and young professionals who are still starting their financial journey. Deserve works with Celtic Bank in providing credit cards to its clients.   

Deserve offers unsecured credit cards (no security deposit required) to eligible applicants. Even so, the credit cards they provide come with high APRs given that they cater to subprime borrowers (people with limited or no credit history, non-US citizens, no Social Security number). But unlike a regular bank-issued credit card, Deserve cards don’t offer cash advances and balance transfers.

What are the Benefits of Using a Deserve Card?

  • No credit score required
  • Social Security number not required for international students
  • Students with no credit history or thin credit file can apply
  • You don’t have to pay an annual fee
  • No international transaction fees on purchases abroad
  • It doesn’t require a security deposi

What are the Benefits of Using a Deserve Card?

  • No cash advances
  • No balance transfers
  • You can only use the card to make purchases
  • It comes with a high APR ranging from 18% to 25%

What are the Types of Credit Cards Offered by Deserve?

Deserve has three different credit card offerings. Each comes with its own set of pros and cons.

1. Deserve Pro Mastercard

Deserve Pro Mastercard offers people with limited or no credit history a chance to receive cashback rewards. Unlike conventional credit card issuers, Deserve looks beyond the applicant’s credit history when deciding whether to approve an application or not, such as sources of income and employment.

This type of credit card is ideal for employed individuals who are looking to establish their credit history. However, you need to pay your credit card balances in full every month if you wish to enjoy the cash backs. If not, the card’s high-interest rate will overshadow the rewards you earned. You can contact its customer service team at 800-418-2362 for inquiries and further support.

Pros Of Using Deserve Pro Mastercard

  • Caters to applicants with no credit history or thin credit profile
  • Reports account activities to credit bureaus, which can help build credit provided that timely payments are made
  • New cardholders who spend $1,000 within 90 days of activating the card will be eligible for Priority Pass Select Membership (offers access to 1,200 airport lounges across the world – $27 fee to use a lounge with free food and drinks)
  • Up to 3% cashback on entertainment
  • Up to 2% cashback when dining out at restaurants
  • 1% on other purchases
  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • No security deposit needed
  • Credit limit of up to $10,000
  • If you use Deserve Pro Mastercard to pay your phone bills, you will get a cell phone protection of up to $600 in case it gets damaged or stolen
  • No penalty on the first late payment
  • Get $30 statement credit when you refer an eligible applicant and up to $200 for every 10th referral

Cons Of Using Deserve Pro Mastercard

  • High APR of up to 22.99%
  • No balance transfers
  • No cash advances
  • Penalty for late payments may reach up to $25
  • Penalty for returned payments may reach up to $37

2. Deserve Edu Mastercard

Deserve Edu Mastercard is perfect for students with limited or no credit histories and for international students who are struggling to get approved for a U.S. credit card. Deserve will check your creditworthiness through your bank statements, other sources of income, and college information.

This student credit card can help you build your credit since Deserve reports account activities to the major credit bureaus. Once you achieve a good credit score, you can apply for a regular bank-issued credit card that offers more rewards and lower interest rates such as Petal® 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa® Credit Card and a Discover credit card.

Pros Of Using Deserve Pro Mastercard

  • Caters to students with limited or no credit history
  • Caters to international students who can’t get approved for US credit card
  • No Social Security number required
  • Help build credit since account activities are reported to credit bureaus
  • No security deposit required
  • No cosigner needed
  • 1% cashback on purchases
  • Up to $600 cell phone protection
  • No annual fees
  • No international transaction fees
  • Maximum credit limit of $5,000
  • Offers $30 bonus for every approved referral
  • Get one year of Amazon Prime Student membership after you spend $500 within the first 3 billing cycles on Deserve EDU Mastercard
  • Rental Car Collision Damage Waiver

Cons Of Using Deserve Pro Mastercard

  • High variable APR of 18.74%
  • No cash back bonus for new cardmembers
  • Low rewards
  • Penalty for late payments may reach up to $25
  • Penalty for returned payments may reach up to $37

3. Deserve Classic Card

Deserve Classic Card is a good option if you’re looking to build your credit or if you’re struggling to get approved for a typical bank-issued credit card. Deserve will consider more than just your credit history when evaluating your Deserve credit card application.

This card doesn’t come with a cashback feature but it’s a good option if you’re looking to build or improve your credit history. Just make sure to pay your balance in full every month to prevent interest rates from accruing. Once you’ve established your credit history and you’ve reached a good credit score (670 for FICO and 601 VantageScore), you can apply for other credit cards offering better interest rates, payment terms, and rewards, such as Chase Freedom Unlimited and Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card.

Pros Of Using Deserve Pro Mastercard

  • Good for building or improving credit
  • Credit limit of up to $1,500
  • No security deposit needed
  • No co-signer required
  • No annual fee
  • No international transaction fee
  • Can be used in any store where Mastercard is accepted
  • Up to $600 cell phone insurance
  • Mastercard Platinum Benefits such as Car Rental Collision Damage Waiver and ID Theft Protection
  • Offers $30 bonus for every approved referral
  • Offers $200 bonus for every 10 approved referrals

Cons Of Using Deserve Pro Mastercard

  • High Purchase APR of 24.99%
  • Low credit limit ($1,500 Maximum)
  • No cashback/rewards

Information Needed for a Deserve Credit Card

Traditional credit card issuers need to assess the applicant’s creditworthiness by checking their credit score. Deserve will conduct a hard inquiry on the applicant’s credit history, if available. But if the applicant has little to no credit history at all, Deserve will look into other factors to help them decide.

Deserve will consider the following information:

  • Personal Information (name, date of birth, citizenship, address, phone number, Social Security number)
  • Financial Information (monthly income, employment status, available assets)
  • Bank Account Information (Deserve will verify information with bank)

International students who don’t have a Social Security number are required to provide a copy of the following:

  • Passport
  • Student visa
  • 1-20 form
  • Proof of U.S. bank account (Deserve will verify the account with the bank)

Non-US citizens may apply for a Deserve credit card provided that they are an H-1B or L1 visa holder.

If you need to submit scanned copies of documents or PDF files, Deserve will provide you with a secure link (via email), where you can upload the additional documents.

What are the Fees Associated with Deserve Cards?

Deserve cards don’t charge annual fees or international transaction fees. You may pay up to $25 for late payments and up to $37 for returned payments. The APR ranges from 18% to 25%.

How Do You Apply for a Deserve Credit Card?

  1. Go to Deserve’s application page.
  2. Fill out the application form.
  3. Link your bank account.
  4. Submit your application.

Deserve will review your application, which typically takes 3 days. If approved, you can expect to receive your card in the mail within 10 to 15 business days.

Can Deserve Credit Cards Help Me Build Credit?

Yes. Deserve reports your account’s activity to all major credit bureaus. As long as you use your credit card responsibly and you make payments on time, you will eventually build a good credit history. When that happens, you can apply for a regular bank-issued credit card, with low-interest rates, rewards, and other perks.

Is Your Money Safe in Deserve Cards?

Yes, it is. Deserve’s website and mobile app are safe to use given that they both come with bank-grade encryption. The cards it offers are FDIC-insured, which means they’re federally protected against theft and bank failure.

Conclusion

Deserve credit cards (Deserve Pro, Deserve Edu, and Deserve Classic) are great options for people who have limited or no credit histories or those who are non-US citizens. However, you need to be ready to provide more information to prove that you can repay your credit. Some of its features include no annual fees and no international transaction fees. Likewise, it’s quite important to consider that these types of cards come with steep interest rates. You need to use these cards responsibly and pay your dues in full every month to avoid interest rates from accruing. Once you’ve established your credit history and you already have a good credit score, you should consider applying for a different credit card that offers lower interest rates and more rewards.