Deserve Pro Review: A Rewarding Way to Build Credit

It's possible to qualify for this $0-annual-fee cash-back card with no credit if you meet certain criteria, but you'll have to get an invitation first.
Melissa Lambarena Author Avatar
May 18, 2022
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This page includes information about the American Express® Green Card, the Deserve® Pro Mastercard and the Petal® 2 "Cash Back, No Fees" Visa® Credit Card, currently unavailable on NerdWallet. The information about the American Express® Green Card, the Deserve® Pro Mastercard and the Petal® 2 "Cash Back, No Fees" Visa® Credit Card has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been provided or reviewed by the card issuer.


NerdWallet rating
The bottom line:

If you're willing to jump through a few hoops to apply, this card is a top-notch option for those who are new to credit — including newcomers to the U.S. — and can meet certain income and employment requirements. Its rewards on travel, entertainment and dining are more generous than what most starter cards offer.

  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • No sign-up bonus
  • No intro APR period on Purchases and Balance Transfers
Deserve® Pro Mastercard Image
Deserve® Pro Mastercard
Annual Fee


Regular APR

16.24%-23.24% Variable APR

Intro APR


Rec. credit score

Deserve® Pro Mastercard
Deserve® Pro Mastercard Image

Annual Fee


Regular APR

16.24%-23.24% Variable APR

  • Annual fee


  • Rewards rate


  • Bonus offer


  • Intro APR


  • Ongoing APR

    APR: 16.24%-23.24% Variable APR

  • Foreign transaction fee


More details from Deserve
  • Available to L1, O1, and H1B visa holders.
  • Priority Pass™ Select Membership (valued at $99), after you make $1,000 of purchases with your new Deserve Pro Mastercard within the first 90 days after activation.
  • 3% cash back on travel & entertainment.
  • 2% cash back on restaurants.
  • 1% unlimited cash back on all purchases.
  • Credit limits up to $10,000.
  • $0 annual fee & no foreign transaction fees.
  • No security deposit or co-signer required.
  • Helps students and professionals build a credit history and gain financial independence.
  • Use anywhere in the world where Mastercard is accepted.
  • Includes Mastercard Platinum Benefits like Travel Assistance Services, Extended Warranty, and ID Theft Protection.
  • Complimentary cellphone insurance up to $600.

Compare to Other Cards

28.24% Variable APR
Rates & Fees
10.99% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 6 months
25.64% Variable APR
35.99% Variable
Rates & Fees
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Detailed review: Deserve® Pro Mastercard

» This card is not accepting applications

The Deserve® Pro Mastercard is not currently accepting applications. Below is our review from when the Deserve® Pro Mastercard was available.

• • •

The Deserve® Pro Mastercard offers cash-back rewards for an annual fee of $0 — and in some cases, you won't need a credit history to qualify. Professionals who meet certain income and employment verification requirements and have a Social Security number could get approved with little or no credit due to Deserve's unconventional underwriting model. That's good news for many who are new to credit, including foreign citizens in the U.S. on L-1, O-1 or H-1B visas and immigrants with green cards. And if you already have established credit and still want this card, it's also possible to qualify with good or excellent credit.

🤓Nerdy Tip

If you're a student, you might be interested in a different credit card from this startup company: the Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students. Visit our review of that credit card for more information.

Deserve® Pro Mastercard: Basics and benefits

Card type: Cash back.


  • 3% cash back on travel and entertainment and 2% cash back at restaurants (on up to $500 in combined spending on 3% and 2% categories per billing cycle).

  • 1% cash back on all other purchases.

  • Rewards redeem automatically as a statement credit when your earnings hit $25.

Annual fee: $0.

APR: The ongoing APR is 16.24%-23.24% Variable APR.

Foreign transaction fees: None.

Other benefits:

  • No security deposit required. The Deserve® Pro Mastercard is a regular "unsecured" card.

  • Cell phone protection for up to $600 if your cell phone is stolen or damaged as long as you use the card to pay your cell phone bill.

  • Referral bonuses. You get $30 in statement credit whenever you refer someone who qualifies for the card; that person earns $30 for joining. There’s no limit to the number of people you can refer. You also earn $200 for every 10th referral.

Like many other issuers, Deserve doesn’t accept co-signers, so you must meet requirements on your own to qualify for this card. Deserve reports your payment activity to the three major U.S. credit bureaus: TransUnion, Equifax and Experian.

Benefits and perks

Potential to qualify with no credit history

If you can satisfy certain income and employment verification requirements and have a Social Security number, you can potentially qualify for this card with no credit history. Deserve’s underwriting process measures credit potential by relying on applicants’ financial documents and a proprietary algorithm. The startup company evaluates income, employment and U.S. bank account balances to determine your ability to pay. Deserve also considers your contact information, including your physical address, email address and phone number. It weighs how that information has changed over the years to determine whether you'll remain easy to reach. You don't have to be a U.S. citizen to qualify; the card is available to those with L-1, O-1 or H-1B visas or green cards.

No annual fee

The annual fee is $0, making it easy to get plenty of value from this card even if you're not a big spender.

Broad international acceptance

This card travels well internationally. It doesn't charge foreign transaction fees, so you won't have to pay an extra 3% on every international purchase. And unlike American Express and Discover networks, the Mastercard network is widely available and more likely to be accepted by merchants abroad.

Valuable bonus categories

This card is more generous with rewards than other credit cards for limited credit. Earning any rewards when you have a short credit history is a rare and welcome opportunity, especially if the card offers more than 1% back on your purchases. The 3% category for travel and entertainment applies to travel-related purchases, which include airfare, hotels, Airbnb, Uber and LiveNation, an events promoter that sells tickets to venues online. The 2% cash-back category for restaurants includes restaurant delivery services like DoorDash and UberEats.

Low-cost airport lounge access

Even rarer on an entry-level credit card are certain side benefits like the ones that this card offers. You get discounts on some services and other perks like a complimentary one-year membership to Priority Pass after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days after activating the card. The pass allows you to access over 1,300 airport lounges worldwide for a $32 charge per visit.

Drawbacks and considerations

Benefits are just okay

Getting into airport lounges for $32 a visit for a year is nice, but it's not a particularly lucrative perk. If you already have a good credit history in a different country, in some cases you might be able to qualify for a card with far richer benefits through American Express. Through a partnership with Nova Credit, a credit-reporting startup, AmEx allows immigrants and expats in the U.S. to use certain international credit reports to qualify for AmEx credit cards without a U.S. credit history. AmEx's feature, which uses Nova Credit's technology, is integrated into the online application and can access credit reports from five foreign credit bureaus, one in each of these countries: Australia, Canada, India, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Kenya and Nigeria. This feature is available on all AmEx consumer cards, so if you're eligible, you'll have plenty of rewarding options to choose from.

Consider the American Express® Green Card, for example. Its rewards and benefits are similar to those on the Deserve® Pro Mastercard, but much more generous. The card doesn't have spending caps, earning 3 points per dollar spent on eligible travel and transit purchases, 3 points per dollar spent on restaurants worldwide and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases. It also offers up to $100 per year in statement credit for LoungeBuddy single-visit airport lounge pass purchases, among other benefits. The annual fee is $150, but you can easily offset this cost with the card's perks and rewards. Terms apply (see rates and fees).

Other cards offer simpler rewards

The Petal® 2 "Cash Back, No Fees" Visa® Credit Card (issued by WebBank) can also use its own underwriting model to evaluate creditworthiness by considering factors such as income, debt, expenses and savings, and it offers a straightforward cash-back rate of up to 1.5% on all purchases. You can qualify with fair credit. If you don't want to worry about bonus categories or spending cards, this card's simple flat-rate rewards could make it a stronger choice than the Deserve® Pro Mastercard. The Petal® 2 "Cash Back, No Fees" Visa® Credit Card also promises “no fees whatsover,” meaning it has a $0 annual fee, no late fees, no foreign transaction fees or any other fees.

Alternate Pick: 2% back on everything
Unlimited rewards for those with excellent credit

If you have already established credit, you can do better than the capped rewards on the Deserve® Pro Mastercard. The Citi Double Cash® Card gives you 1% cash back on every dollar you spend and 1% on every dollar you pay off.

How to decide if it's right for you

If you’re employed and looking to establish credit, the Deserve® Pro Mastercard offers a chance to build credit and earn relatively rich rewards in the process, all with no annual fee or security deposit required. It's a solid option.

But remember that a rewards credit card is ideal only if you pay your bill in full every month. Otherwise, the cost of interest on ongoing balances will eclipse any rewards earned.

All information about the American Express® Green Card has been collected independently by NerdWallet. The American Express® Green Card is no longer available through NerdWallet.


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