Deserve Edu Mastercard Review: Best Card for International Students

Deserve is a venture-backed financial tech company that uses machine learning and alternative data to help the next generation of credit owners gain financial independence through fair credit products. Ask Sebby partnered with Deserve to bring you this review.

The Deserve Edu Mastercard is a great option for international students since it does not require an SSN. Their goal is to help you build your credit history, and no deposit or co-signer is required. 

The highlights of the Deserve Edu Mastercard are that it doesn't have an annual fee, it has competitive perks, earns 1% cash back, and you don't need an SSN to qualify. 

Deserve Edu Mastercard

  • No SSN required if you are an international student

  • Annual fee: $0

  • Credit limit of up to $5,000

  • No foreign transaction fees

  • Earn 1% back on all purchases

  • Mastercard perks (phone insurance, CDW, etc)

  • Deserve perks (Amazon Prime Student, T-Mobile, etc)

Underwriting Process

Deserve doesn't require an SSN to get the Edu Mastercard, and they have a unique underwriting process that uses data science to determine if you are eligible for the card. 

If you are an international student, Deserve will ask for the following:

  • Copy of your student visa

  • Passport ID

  • School document (I-20 or DS 2019)

  • Proof of a US bank account balance

Deserve Perks

The Deserve Edu Mastercard offers it's own unique suite of perks when you open a card. 

  • Amazon Prime Student Subscription - get reimbursed up to a lifetime total of $59 when you use your Deserve Edu card to pay for your Amazon Prime Student subscription

  • $100 off T-Mobile - get $100 off a new smartphone or tablet when you use your Edu card to pay for the device

  • Cell Phone Insurance - Pay your monthly phone bill with the Deserve Edu card and get coverage for up to $600 when your cell phone is stolen or damaged

  • Lemonade Insurance Rebate - Use your Deserve Edu card to pay three consecutive months of Lemonade Insurance and get a $10 statement credit

  • Feather Furniture Rental - Use your Deserve Edu card and promo code DESERVE100 to get $100 off your first month's rental

Mastercard Perks

The Deserve Edu is a Mastercard, so it comes with useful benefits when you travel.

  • Car Rental Collision Damage Waiver (CDW)

  • Travel Assistance Services - lost luggage, medical assistance, and legal referrals when you're traveling 50+ miles from home

  • Extended Warranty - doubles the original manufacturer warranty up to 12 months on eligible items

  • Roadside Assistance

  • Price Protection - items are covered for 60 days from the date of purchase

  • ID Theft

Long-Term Considerations

The Deserve Edu Mastercard has a promotion path to the Deserve Pro upon earlier of:

  1. Graduation (from school)

  2. A good credit score or credit profile

Deserve Pro

  • $0 annual fee

  • Earns 3% on travel and entertainment

  • 2% on dining

  • 1% on all other purchases

Alternatives to the Deserve Edu Mastercard

If you are an international student without an SSN, the other options are Bank of America and Citi Bank.

Bank of America

Bank of America offers the BankAmiercard Secured credit card, and they usually want to see a high bank account balance ($10,000+) before they approve you. 

The card charges an annual fee of $39 and requires a security deposit of at least $300.

Bank of America also has limited product change options unless you have a high amount of capital with them.

Citi Bank

The Citi ThankYou Preferred Card for College Students is available, but the main issue is that by getting this card, you will not be eligible for another Citi ThankYou card bonus for another 24 months due to their signup bonus rules.

Bottom Line

The goals of your first credit card should be:

  1. Help you establish your credit profile

  2. No annual fee (ideally)

  3. No deposit (ideally)

  4. A card you can keep forever (this is why points 2-3 matter)

Pick a card that works for your situation, and preferably, one that you can keep long-term so it will be the foundation for your credit history.



Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, vendors or companies, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. 

UGC disclosure: These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.