Studying abroad is an excellent way for foreign students to learn about another culture.
However, it also comes with some hurdles – such as trying to apply for a credit card in a country where you have no credit history.
The Deserve® Edu Mastercard for Students (formerly the SelfScore credit card) seeks to remove that obstacle by designing an option specifically for international students.
In this review, we’ll determine if this is the best choice for you vs. other available cards.
Why Choose the Deserve Mastercard (formerly known as SelfScore credit card)
One major obstacle faced by foreign students in the U.S. who want to apply for a credit card is their lack of a social security number, which is required information on almost all applications.
The SelfScore credit card was created to help them, as well as domestic students who lack a social security card.
SelfScore rebranded as Deserve in 2017, but their mission remains the same – help students without social security numbers get approved for a credit card and begin building their credit history.
All you need to be considered are:
- Proof of a U.S. bank checking or savings account balance.
- A passport ID.
- A student visa.
- An I-20 form.
To determine creditworthiness, Deserve looks at other data to verify an applicant’s identity and credit history.
For example, they might examine your bank account to see what balance you typically maintain in the account, if you frequently overdraw the account, etc.
Applicants also aren’t required to have a co-signer to apply, since the goal is for them to be financially independent.
If approved, a cardholder’s activity will be reported to credit bureaus in the U.S., which will help them begin to establish a credit history in this country.
Deserve Edu Mastercard: By the Numbers
There is no annual fee and borrowers can be approved for up to a $5,000 limit.
However, the APR is a bit steep, at 20.24% variable.
There are some perks though, including unlimited 1% cash back on all purchases.
Cardholders who use the card to sign up for an Amazon Prime Student subscription are eligible to get reimbursed up to a life-time total of $59 for their membership.
Students who later obtain an H1B or L1 visa and work in the U.S. may want to consider applying for the Deserve Pro Mastercard, which offers 3% cash back on travel and entertainment purchases, 2% cash back at restaurants and 1% for all other purchases.
It also comes with a higher credit limit ($10,000) and a lower APR of 17.24% to 24.24% variable APR.
How the Deserve Edu Stacks Up vs. Other Cards
There are other options on the market that offer better rewards, such as Discover it® Student Cash Back and BankAmericard Travel Rewards® for Students.
However, since both require a social security number to apply, they won’t work for international students.
While the rewards could be better, and the APR could be lower, in 2019 the Deserve Edu Mastercard is still a solid choice for international students.