Deserve Classic Mastercard review |

Deserve® Classic Card review – November 2018

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An unsecured card that you may qualify for with no credit history.

30-second take

  • Get this card if you’re rebuilding your credit.
  • Pick something else if you don’t want to pay an annual fee or share your bank account information.
  • Customers new to credit are welcome to apply.
Product NameDeserve® Classic Card
Card TypeMastercard
Annual Fee$39
APR (Annual Percentage Rate) for Purchases24.99% variable
Cash Advance FeeNone
Interest Free PeriodUp to 23 days
Late Payment Fee$25
Returned Payment Fee$37
Additional Cardholder Fee$0
Minimum Age18 years of age

The basics

It can be difficult to get an unsecured credit card if you have no credit history or a credit score under 670. 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 this product with less-than-perfect credit. You’re also welcome to apply with no credit history at all.

Unlike other subprime cards, the Deserve® Classic Card doesn’t charge exorbitant membership fees. You’ll pay a $39 annual fee, but you may see that as a fair price to pay for the chance to build your credit. And, if you use your card responsibly, you may be able to upgrade to one of Deserve’s other credit cards.

When you apply for a Deserve card, you’ll need to connect your bank account. Deserve will look at your transaction history and weigh your ability to afford card payments.

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.

The perks

  • No deposit required.

    If you’re in a credit-building phase, you may be mostly limited to secured credit cards. These require you to put down a security deposit. Meanwhile, the Deserve® Classic Card can help you build credit, no deposit necessary. This can be very helpful since you won’t have to lock down $200 or $300 you’d otherwise deposit for a secured card.

  • No prior credit history required.

    Don’t be scared away if you have no credit history. 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 as you might need to provide a security deposit with another card. 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.

Secured vs. unsecured cards: What’s the difference?

You’ll also like …

  • No foreign transaction fees.

    An unexpected but welcome perk. You won’t pay a fee when you use your card abroad or at a foreign website.

  • No overlimit fees.

    You won’t be charged a fee if you go over your credit limit. That’s good news if you feel you’ve had trouble managing your available credit in the past.

  • Mastercard purchase and travel benefits.

    When you pay for your wireless bill with your card, your phone is covered against damage or theft up to $600.

    Eligible purchases you make with your card will receive price protection and extended warranties. You’ll also get access to travel assistance services when you’re traveling 50 miles or more from home.

    Contact roadside assistance whenever your car breaks down on the road. Also, when you pay for your car rental with your card, you’ll receive a complimentary collision damage waiver.

What to watch out for

  • Annual fee: $39.

    The card doesn’t require a security deposit, but the tradeoff is the $39 annual fee. This is standard among so-called subprime unsecured cards — cards that are available to customers with lower credit scores.

  • No balance transfers or cash advances.

    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.

  • High APR.

    The 24.99% 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.

How does credit card interest work?

Consider other cards if …

  • You want a secured credit card.

    The next best thing to an unsecured subprime card might be a secured card. Luckily, you can choose from many excellent options.

  • You don’t want to pay an annual fee.

    Unfortunately, you’ll rarely find a subprime card that doesn’t charge an annual fee. If you’re alright with paying the deposit for a secured credit card, you’ll find plenty of great products without annual fees.

  • You want a lower APR.

    Most subprime unsecured cards have high APRs — that’s because providers want higher returns for taking on customers they deem risky. However, there are many secured credit cards with low APRs.

  • You’re a college student.

    You may want to check out the many student credit cards on the market. Providers that offer these products are often willing to accept customers with no credit history, and you might not have to pay an annual fee.

    If you’d like a Deserve product, consider the Deserve® Edu Card. It’s a great student card with no annual fee, 1% cash back and a credit for your Amazon Prime Student subscription.

Wells Fargo Cash Back College℠ Card review

The Deserve® Classic Card vs. a secured credit card

Updated November 21st, 2018
Name Product Minimum Credit Limit Maximum Credit Limit Annual Fee
Designed to help build credit history with no deposit required and access to benefits.
Take control and build your credit with responsible use.

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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

  • Your full name and contact information.
  • Your residential status.
  • Your annual income, source of income and employment information.
  • Your Social Security number and mother’s maiden name.
  • Your 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 credit score of 580 to 669. If you have a good to excellent score of 670 or higher, consider applying for a more powerful card.

What’s a good credit score?

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.

How to apply for the Deserve® Classic Card

  1. Go to the Deserve website and click Apply for Classic.
  2. Complete the application with details like your name, address, annual income and Social Security number.
  3. You may be asked to connect your bank account. This lets Deserve read and analyze your financial records to determine an appropriate credit limit. The company can’t make changes to the linked bank account.
  4. Review and submit your application.

How long will it take to get my [CREDIT CARD NAME]?

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 you’re approved, you’ll likely receive your new card in the mail within 7 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 1-800-418-2362. Representatives are available Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m., Pacific Standard Time.

Bottom line

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, and it charges a $39 annual fee.

However, that may be the price of admission if you’re new to credit and don’t want to put down a deposit. Because Deserve has a non-traditional method for customer screening, it could be one of the few companies that approves you for an unsecured card. What’s more, this product could be your path to more lucrative cards.

Still not convinced this is the right card for you? Visit our comprehensive guide to credit cards and compare your options.

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Kevin Joey Chen

Kevin Chen is a world-travelin', copy-writin', Game of Thrones-watchin' credit cards writer for When he's not crunching the numbers on bonus points and comparing APRs, you can find him flying around the world in search of the perfect beer.

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2 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    EknockoneMay 10, 2018

    Why must you supply your username, password and answers to security questions for your bank when you apply? I answered the questions correctly, was able to move on to the rest of the application and later changed my password for security reasons. Received an email from my bank telling me I was locked out of my account because there were too many failed login attempts! Once I answered all the questions correctly, I figured I passed the test. But I certainly didn’t want to have ALL my banking information floating around in cyberspace for someone to have…

    • finder Customer Care
      JhezelynMay 11, 2018Staff

      Hello Eknockone,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Just to confirm though that we do not represent any lender, we do not offer loans ourselves and we do not represent any company we feature on our site. 

      With regards to your online banking login being asked when you apply for a loan, there are actually pay-day loan lenders that do that. Nevertheless, please know that they will not have access to your bank account and neither will the third-party service like finder that facilitates the sending of read-only copies of your bank statements. Lenders will also not store your login details and generally, this process is encrypted and secure through their site. 

      There’s an article on this page that explains why lenders do this.


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