SelfScore Achieve MasterCard Review (Discontinued) (2017.10 Update: SelfScore is now Deserve)

SelfScore Achieve MasterCard Review

2017.10 Update: SelfScore is now rebranded to Deserve. This card will be automatically converted to Deserve Edu after some time, and you can enjoy the first year Amazon Prime reimbursement as well if you are a current SelfScore card holder. See the official FAQ for more details.

Application Link

  • This card no longer accepts new applications. Please move to their new product Deserve Edu.

Benefits

  1. This is a credit card that is specially designed for students, you can apply for it even without an SSN and without any credit history! (See official FAQ) For those students who cannot obtain an SSN in a short time, this card is a great choice as the first credit card.
  2. This card is very friendly to foreigners: F1, M1, J1 visa holders are eligible to apply. If you are not a green card holder nor US citizen, then you need to provide the following information to SelfScore:
    • University and major.
    • An electronic copy of your passport and US Visa.
    • An electronic copy of your Form I-20 / Form DS-2019.
    • Bank account information or the latest US bank statements (For newcomers: when you have a bank account in the US, you will receive a bank statement every month.)
  3. There will be no hard pull (HP) on your credit report if you are not a green card holder nor US citizen! SelfScore uses a different standard to determine whether to approve the application, so they don’t do a hard pull… (Green card holders or US citizens will still get a hard pull.)
  4. You can indeed build your credit history with this card. They will report the new account to two of the 3 credit bureaus after about 3 months of use: Experian (EX) and TransUnion (TU). For most people, the most important credit report is from EX, so as long as you have a credit history in EX you are fine. A lot of people mistakenly think that you cannot build credit history without SSN, but this is completely wrong. Credit bureaus can use your name, date of birth and address as identifiers, so you can actually build your credit history even without an SSN. After you obtain your SSN, the previous credit history will be tracked and appended. Your credit history does not start from the day you obtain your SSN; instead, it starts from the day you first borrow money (such as applying for a credit card).
  5. Earn 1% cashback on all purchases!
  6. No foreign transaction fee.
  7. No annual fee.
  8. 0% intro APR for 180 days.
  9. As a credit card for beginners, the credit limit can be as high as $5,000.
  10. Although SelfScore is not a bank, it has partnered with Celtic Bank in issuing this credit card, so there should be no concerns about the credit card.

Disadvantages

  1. There is no sign-up bonus for this card now.
  2. They used to approve applicants holding a dependent visa (like F2), but they don’t do it any more.
  3. After you submit the application, they will decide whether you are qualified for the SelfScore Achieve MasterCard. If not, you will have the option to be considered for the SelfScore Classic MasterCard which is designed for students who are new to credit. (If you are not qualified for the Classic MasterCard, your application will be rejected).

Recommended Application Time

  1. We recommend to apply for this card if you don’t have SSN and when you don’t have any credit history.

Summary

This card is an upgrade of the SelfScore Classic MasterCard. This fully-featured credit card offers 1% cashback, no foreign transaction fee, $0 annual fee, 0% intro APR for 6 months and a higher credit limit. In general, this is a great improvement. If you are a current SelfScore Classic MasterCard cardholder and you are qualified, your card will be upgraded automatically.

SelfScore is a credit card company focusing on students, and is very friendly to foreigners. I think this card is fantastic for those international undergraduate and graduate students without SSN (of course, you can also apply for this card if you have a SSN). For those who have SSN, you can apply for Discover it as your first credit card; however, the international undergrads and master’s students will not obtain an SSN in a short time, so the way to get a credit card is complicated.

Here are the major options of the first credit card for those who do not have SSN and do not have any credit history:

  • Go to a BoA branch and apply for BoA Cash Rewards or BoA Travel Rewards. You need to have sufficient amount of money depositing in BoA, we usually think >$10,000 is OK. Data points are conflicting, some people can success but some people can not.
  • Find a friend and ask him/her to add you as an authorized user, and after you build credit history with it, you can continue to apply for other credit cards you can get without SSN (mainly AmEx). Note that not all banks let you add an authorized user without providing his/her SSN. The drawback is that you need to own a debt of gratitude.
  • The two SelfScore credit cards: SelfScore Achieve MasterCard and SelfScore Classic MasterCard. The SelfScore cards are the only credit cards specially designed for internationals students, and has an easy online application process.
  • Go to a Citi branch and apply for Citi ThankYou Preferred for College Students. We DO NOT recommend to apply for this card, because it will affect the sign-up bonuses of other Citi ThankYou Points (TYP) cards!
  • Secured credit cards from major banks. These secured credit cards require security deposit, and they usually have annual fee. So basically secured credit card is the last choice, if you can get one of those in the above choices, you shouldn’t apply for a secured credit card.

You can compare these options by yourself and find the best suit for you! Let’s start the journey of credit cards!

Application Link

  • This card no longer accepts new applications. Please move to their new product Deserve Edu.

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