Deserve credit cards: How they work and how to apply

This fintech company evaluates applicants based on factors other than just FICO scores.

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When you apply for a Deserve card, the company uses its own algorithm to gauge your potential as a customer. Deserve will consider factors such as your:

  • Education
  • Current financial health
  • Projected earnings
  • Future employability

Many banks, on the other hand, simply look at traditional factors like your FICO score and current income.

Compare Deserve’s credit cards

Name Product Filter values Rewards Purchase APR Annual fee
3% back on travel and entertainment and 2% on dining up to $500 combined each billing cycle, then 1% after that and on all other purchases
17.74% to 24.74% variable
Earn 3% cash back on travel and entertainment and 2% at restaurants on the first $1,000 spent on purchases each billing cycle (then 1%). Earn 1% on all other purchases.
24.74% variable
Designed to help build credit history with no deposit required. Apply if you're new to credit or have a fair to good score over 650.
1% cash back on all purchases
20.49% variable
Designed for college students to build credit history and earn rewards.

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Compare Deserve credit cards

Deserve currently offers three credit cards, all aimed at different segments of the population. The three options include a credit-builder card, a student card and a card with strong rewards.

Deserve® Classic Card

Deserve® Classic Card
Apply now
The Deserve® Classic Card is for those with limited or no credit. It’s uncommon among subprime unsecured cards because it has no annual fee. If you want to build credit but don’t want to put down a deposit for a secured card, this could be a fit.
The perks
  • Annual fee: None.
    Most subprime unsecured cards have annual fees.
  • You can apply with no credit history.
    If you need to start building credit, the Deserve® Classic Card is an excellent choice.
  • Unsecured card.
    Often, those with no credit apply for secured cards, which require upfront security deposits. The Deserve® Classic Card is an uncommon unsecured card — it’s open to consumers with no credit, but it doesn’t require a deposit.
  • Credit limit up to $1,500.
    Depending on your financial profile, you may receive up to a $1,500 credit limit. That’s relatively high for a subprime card.

Deserve® Edu Card

Deserve® Edu Card
Apply now
The Deserve® Edu Card doesn’t offer the highest rewards among student products, but it comes with decent cash back.
The perks
  • Annual fee: None.
  • Rewards: 1% cash back on all purchases.
    This is a decent rewards rate for a student card.
  • Amazon Prime Student subscription credit.
    If you pay for your Amazon Prime Student subscription with your Deserve® Edu Card, Deserve will issue credits to reimburse you up to a lifetime total of $59.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
    The Deserve® Edu Card is an excellent choice if you’re planning on studying abroad or traveling during breaks.

Deserve® PRO

If you have good to excellent credit, Deserve created this product for you. The card’s biggest strength is its solid rewards on travel and entertainment. You’ll also earn cash back on restaurant and delivery-app spending.

The perks
  • Annual fee: None.
  • Rewards: Up to 3% cash back.
    Earn 3% cash back on travel and entertainment. Earn 2% cash back on restaurant and delivery-app spending. And earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Deserve rewards program

If you get the Deserve® Edu Card or Deserve® PRO, you can earn cash back.

  • The Deserve® Edu Card offers 1% cash back on all purchases.
  • The Deserve® PRO offers 3% cash back on travel and entertainment, 2% cash back at eligible restaurants and 1% cash back on all other purchases.

How can you redeem cash back?

Deserve will redeem cash back automatically for you and apply it to your balance as statement credit in $25 increments.

Typical features and benefits of a Deserve card

  • No annual fee.
    None of Deserve’s cards have annual fees.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
    Use your Deserve card when you shop at foreign websites or travel abroad.
  • No deposit required.
    Secured cards are one of the most effective ways to build credit. However, they require security deposits. The Deserve® Edu Card and Deserve® Classic Card are available to consumers who are new to credit, and neither requires a deposit.
  • Cash back.
    The Deserve® Edu Card and Deserve® PRO offer cash back, which is redeemed automatically as statement credit.
  • No balance transfers or cash advances.
    None of Deserve’s cards offer balance transfers or cash advances, which may feel limiting. However, you could see this as a positive. Many consumers get in trouble with these transactions, so it may be helpful to not have access to them at all.
  • Purchase APR of 18% to 25% variable.
    With a weaker financial profile, you’re more likely to qualify for an APR near the higher end of that range.
  • Mastercard Platinum benefits.
    Enjoy Mastercard perks like price protection, extended warranties, car collision damage waivers, ID Theft Protection and access to Travel Assistance Services.

How to apply for a Deserve card

You must be at least 18 years old to apply for a Deserve card. Also, consider whether you’re comfortable giving Deserve read-only access to your bank account.

What credit score do I need to apply for a Deserve card?

If you have limited or fair credit — below 670 — consider applying for the Deserve® Edu Card or Deserve® Classic Card. You’ll have a better chance of qualifying for the Deserve® PRO with a good to excellent credit score of 670 or higher.

Do I have to be a US citizen to apply for a Deserve card?

You may apply for a Deserve card even if you’re not a US citizen. If you’re an H-1B or L1 visa holder, you’re eligible for a card if you can provide sufficient employment and income information.

You can also apply for the Deserve® Edu Card as an international student. You’ll need the following information:

  • Proof of a US bank account
  • Student visa
  • Passport
  • I-20 form

Information you’ll need for a Deserve application

  • Personal information.
    Full name, email address, date of birth and citizenship status.
  • Contact information.
    Permanent address and primary phone number.
  • Financial information.
    Social Security number, monthly housing expenses, monthly income, available assets, employment status, occupation and employer name.
  • Bank account information.
    Deserve will look through your bank transactions during its approval process.

How to apply for a Deserve card

  • Visit the application page of the card you want to apply for
  • Complete the application form with your personal, contact and financial information
  • Connect your bank account
  • Review your information and submit your application

Landing page to apply for Deserve credit cards

How long will it take to get my Deserve credit card?

It takes up to three business days for your Deserve application to be reviewed. If you’re approved, expect your card in the mail within 10 to 15 business days.

How does Deserve keep my credit card information secure?

Deserve guards your data through physical security measures — as well as electronic measures, such as data encryption and firewalls.

Deserve may share your information with third parties for these purposes:

  • To help its service providers perform necessary functions
  • To process payments for your Deserve card
  • To enable data collection or social media services
  • To allow Deserve to transfer or sell some of its assets

According to Deserve, it doesn’t rent or sell your personal information to third parties.

You can access your personal information by logging on to your online Deserve account or by emailing

Bottom line

Deserve offers credit cards to consumers who otherwise might not be able to qualify. It offers impressive products that appeal to different customer segments.

If you’re not sure a Deserve card is right for you, compare secured cards and look into other rewards cards.

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