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Kevin Joey Chen is a credit cards, banking and investments writer at finder.com. He's passionate about helping you get your finances in order and travel the world like a pro. He's taken an extended trip around Europe as a digital nomad, gaining firsthand experience with exchange rates, ideal (and not-so-ideal) credit and debit cards, foreign transactions and budgeting strategies. He earned his BA from UC Davis and has written across many niches at Finder, including cryptocurrency, personal loans, car insurance, real estate and money transfers.
It can be difficult to get an unsecured credit card if you have no credit history. At the same time, you might not want to put down a deposit for a secured credit card.
That’s where the Deserve® Classic Card can help. Because Deserve uses proprietary methods to gauge how responsibly you’ll use your card, you may qualify for it with no credit history. And unlike similar cards, the Deserve® Classic Card doesn’t charge exorbitant membership fees. In fact, its annual fee is $0. If you use your card responsibly, you may be able to upgrade to one of Deserve’s other credit cards.
When you apply for the Deserve® Classic Card, you’ll need to connect your bank account. Deserve will look at your transaction history and weigh your ability to afford card payments. This is what allows the bank to determine your eligibility for the card if you have little to no credit history.
When other banks say no, Deserve may welcome you
Deserve has a non-traditional process for customer screening. When considering your application, it looks at factors like your education, future employability and projected earnings — not just your credit score. This could help you get a credit card when other banks might deny you just because you’re new to credit.
If you have a credit score, you’ll have a better chance of approval with a fair to good score of 650 or higher.
No deposit required.
If you’re new to credit, you may be mostly limited to secured credit cards — which require you to put down a security deposit. The Deserve® Classic Card does not have this requirement. This can be helpful since you won’t have to lock down the $200 or $300 that you’d otherwise deposit for a secured card.
No prior credit history required.
Deserve welcomes customers who are new to credit, and it uses proprietary methods to assess how responsible of a cardholder you’ll be.
Up to $1,500 credit limit.
Any credit line over a few hundred dollars is a good deal for a credit-building product, especially since you might need to provide a security deposit with other cards. To get a $1,500 credit limit with a secured card, you’d need to put down a deposit of $1,500 or more.
Upgrade to the Deserve® PRO or Deserve® Edu Card with good credit behavior.
The Deserve® PRO and Deserve® Edu Card offer cash back, higher maximum credit limits and no annual fees. You may be able to upgrade to them with good credit behavior, such as paying your bills on time and staying within your credit limit.
This isn’t entirely a bad thing, as this card is mainly for building credit. Balance transfers can be tricky, especially when it comes to transfer fees and avoiding interest. Cash advances typically come with sky-high APRs, which can also put a damper on your ability to build credit.
The 24.74% variable purchase APR is a relatively high interest rate. The average credit card APR is around 16%. Consider paying off your balance each month to avoid accruing interest on your balance.
Compare unsecured cards that can help you build credit
What should I know before I apply?
To apply for the Deserve® Classic Card, you must be at least 18 years old.
Information you’ll need
Full name and contact information
Annual income, source of income and employment information
Social Security number and mother’s maiden name
Current bank account information if you’re a US citizen or permanent resident
What credit score do I need?
If you don’t have a credit history, you’re the target customer for this card and more than welcome to apply.
If you have a credit history, you’ll have a better chance of approval if you apply with at least a fair to good credit score of 650. If you have a good to excellent score of 670 or higher, consider applying for a more powerful card.
What do customers say about the Deserve® Classic Card?
Many customers say this card is helpful for building credit. However, other customers say they’ve run into logistical difficulties: poor customer service, bills erroneously reported as unpaid, difficulty getting replacement cards and more. Some also say they feel uncomfortable linking their bank accounts.
Deserve is accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). It currently has six complaints on its profile, all of which have been resolved or answered according to the BBB.
Complete the application with details like your name, address, annual income and Social Security number.
You may be asked to connect your bank account. This lets Deserve read and analyze your financial records to determine whether you’re eligible if you’re new to credit. If you are, it will help them determine an appropriate credit limit. The company can’t make changes to the linked bank account.
How long will it take to get my Deserve® Classic Card?
The Deserve website has automated conditional approval, so you’ll often get a decision within a minute. In some cases, more information may be needed and you’ll have to wait a few business days to a few weeks to receive a response.
If approved, you’ll likely receive your new card in the mail within seven to 10 business days.
I got the card. Now what?
Make your payments on time. Pay one-off card bills online at the Deserve website, or enroll in autopay to avoid missing payments.
Avoid interest. You can take advantage of the 23 day grace period to pay your balance. If you do, you won’t pay interest on your purchases.
Avoid fees. Late payments come with fees of up to $25, and returned payments have fees of up to $37.
Customer service. If you have questions, contact Deserve support at 800-418-2362. Representatives are available Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m., PST.
Pound for pound, the Deserve® Classic Card isn’t the most high-powered product. It doesn’t come with perks like rewards or a signup bonus. However, this product doesn’t require a deposit and could be your path to more lucrative cards.
This card is aimed at customers who are building credit — meaning this is likely their first credit card. Typically, this type of card doesn’t offer rewards because banks see very little reason to. Rewards and signup bonuses are typically designed to attract customers who already have well-established credit.
Though you might not qualify for rewards just yet, don’t be discouraged. As you consistently make your payments on time, you’ll steadily increase your credit score. Once your credit score is established, you’ll qualify for cards that offer rewards like cash back, points and miles.
A secured credit card requires you to put down a deposit that’s used as the credit limit on your card. The deposit acts as collateral in case you don’t pay off your credit card on time each month. If it needs to, your provider can use your deposit to cover your outstanding balances before closing your account.
With an unsecured credit card like the Deserve® Classic Card, you don’t have to put down a deposit.
Connecting your bank account gives Deserve read-only access. Deserve can’t make changes to your connected account, but it can see the information associated with it — such as your current balances and transaction history.
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