It looks like you're using an outdated browser.
For a better experience, we recommend switching to a more modern browser like Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge. Learn more.
Online Banking Login

News & Tips

Definitive Guide to Student Credit Cards

High school teenagers can start practicing financial responsibility and get a head start on building a positive credit history with their own credit card. While they typically wouldn’t qualify for a standard credit card because issuers require cardholders to be at least 18 or 21 years of age, Space Coast Credit Union (SCCU) offers one specifically for people aged 15-18: Visa® Student Credit Card

Here’s more information about how teenagers can get on the road to financial independence and understand the role of credit in their lives. We’ll also share details about how our student credit cards work and how they can benefit your family.

Financial Responsibility and Independence

From allowances to part-time jobs, teens usually learn to become more financially responsible and independent by earning their own income. As teens earn money, parents or guardians can demonstrate how to use it responsibly by being a good role model for them and teaching them some of the following methods:

  • Showing them the importance of saving money in an emergency savings account vs. depending on a credit card when unexpected expenses or opportunities arise.
  • Introducing them to a credit union like SCCU and how it’s different from a bank. For example, low or no fees and better rates.
  • Discussing their expenses and helping them to determine how much they should save out of each paycheck. 
  • Guiding them to make their own independent financial decisions by using resources, such as budgeting calculators, insights into creating a workable budget, a budgeting template, and more.
  • If charitable giving is important to your family, you could invite your teen to contribute towards causes that matter in ways that fit their income and budget—and encourage them to also earmark some funds towards their upcoming college wants and needs.

Before a teen gets a credit card, it’s a good idea to have a conversation with them about responsible usage. For example, they should understand their personal budget and use the credit card within their own means. This concept will be useful for them now and in the future as they seek to buy a car, get their own place to rent or a mortgage, and so forth.

Educating Teens About Credit Scores

With a student credit card, teens can start building a credit score. A good credit score can help them get a lower deposit on an apartment and better rates on future loans. At a high level, these three-digit scores are a snapshot into a credit history, which includes debts and balances, how timely payments are made, and more. 

Banks, credit unions, and so forth will report information on these topics to credit bureaus, such as Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, for use on a person’s credit report. Then, these credit bureaus use this information to calculate a person’s credit score. 

Different credit bureaus have different credit scores, with each of them having multiple scores that can be used for different purposes. Explaining how these scores are calculated can help your teen understand the importance of controlling their spending, paying credit card bills on time, and building their credit scores with care. 

Here’s an overview of the calculation that goes into FICO Scores, a commonly used credit score lenders use to make approval decisions:

  • Payment history (35%): This is the most important factor when building and maintaining quality credit scores. Conversely, missed or late payments can damage a score. 
  • Amount owed (30%): If your teen looks at the amount they owe on their student credit card and divides it by the credit limit, this creates an important percentage: the credit utilization score. Ideally, this will stay at less than 30%. When it is, this can help to build a good credit report and score.
  • Credit history length (15%): As a teen just starting to build their credit, they won’t yet have a lengthy credit history. But, it’s important for your teen to have this information because it illustrates why it can make sense to keep a credit card open even when it doesn’t have a balance.
  • Credit mix (10%): Having a revolving line of credit, such as a student credit card, and also an installment loan (a car or student loan) can help to boost credit scores. 
  • New credit (10%): Applying for multiple credit cards at once, as one example, can hurt a credit score—particularly when the person is still building their credit history. 

Learn more about credit scores here

Educating Teens about Student Credit Cards

Imagine your teen in the future as a young adult, getting their first credit card and quickly getting in over their head in debt because they did not have any prior knowledge of responsible usage. 

On the other hand, maybe as a young adult, they don’t meet the qualifications to get a credit card, which then causes a delay in building good credit, and in turn, they have to spend more money on apartment deposits, insurance, and loans. 

To solve this challenge, financial institutions like SCCU have created student credit cards. They have guardrails in place, such as using a savings account as collateral and requiring a legal guardian as a co-signer, so the Visa® Student credit card can be a helpful way for your teen to build credit and gain a sense of financial responsibility and independence. 

Instead of credit card usage and terminology feeling so foreign, they can learn about statements, credit limits, and balances in practice under your supervision. For example, you can drill the importance of not going over the credit limit and paying the entire balance on time rather than just a minimum payment to avoid accruing interest and building credit. 

Choosing the Best Credit Card 

With student credit cards—just like with any other type of credit card—it’s a good idea to check all the credit card’s features and fine print. Then, apply for one that’s best suited for your particular situation. 

Here are key credit card factors to consider (in alphabetical order!) along with how they work with SCCU’s Visa® Student Credit Card.

Age Limit

In general, SCCU requires credit card holders to be a minimum of 18 years old, but our student credit card is for ages 15-17. 

Annual Fee

This is the amount charged annually to maintain the credit card. You can think about the annual fee as a membership fee to benefit from the card’s usage. At SCCU, we don’t charge annual fees for our student credit cards or any other credit cards we offer.  


These are the people that apply for a credit card. With our Visa® Student credit card, both the student and a parent/guardian apply. The parent or guardian will serve as the co-signer, and typically, they will need to have a savings account deposit that will serve as collateral.

APR* (Annual Percentage Rate)

This stands for annual percentage rate, which is the amount of interest paid on balances not paid in full within your billing cycle. In other words, you don’t pay interest charges on your credit card if, each month, you pay off the balance in full, but you will on any outstanding balances. You can see the as low as rate for APR* for purchases, balance transfers, and cash advances here.

Balance Transfers

When you transfer balances from one account to another—perhaps to lower your interest rates and APR* or to consolidate debt—those are balance transfers. SCCU does not charge a balance transfer fee. 

Cash Advance

Cardholders who need cash can get it through a cash advance on their credit card. Although, many times, there are fees associated with cash advances and a higher APR*, SCCU does not charge a fee or a higher interest rate on cash advances versus purchases. 


In the financial context, collateral is an asset that a borrower uses to guarantee that an outstanding balance will be paid. In the case of our student credit cards, the parent or guardian who serves as co-signer may need to have a savings account at SCCU to serve as collateral. 

Credit Card Issuer

After you apply for a credit card and receive approval, the credit card issuer provides you with the account and will supply credit-related information to the credit bureaus. This plays a key role in the building of a person’s credit.

Foreign/International Transaction Fee

When the credit card is used in a foreign county, it’s typical for the issuer to charge a fee: usually 1-3%. At SCCU, we charge the lowest of these: 1% (subject to change). 

Late Payment Fee

Each month, at least the minimum required payment must be made on time. When this doesn’t happen, an additional fee can be charged for the lateness besides any impact the late payment will have on credit scores. At SCCU, late fees can go up to $27.00 (subject to change).

Minimum Payment

The minimum payment is the smallest amount that must be paid towards the balance to avoid late payments or other penalties and remain in good standing. 

Payment Processor

Companies such as Visa®, Mastercard®, and Discover® are payment processors that connect the card issuer (such as SCCU) and the merchant where purchases are made. Each time that you use the credit card, the processor reviews the request, places the charges made on your credit card account, and pays the merchant. 

Variable Interest Rate and APR*

When a credit card has a variable interest rate and APR*, the rate can change throughout the year according to your agreement and upon the credit card issuer providing you with notice. SCCU’s card comes with low variable rates. 

Overall, it’s a good idea for teens to read the fine print before agreeing to any type of loan or credit card. This is a lesson that can serve them well throughout their life. Besides giving them a fuller understanding of the terms and conditions they’re agreeing to, it will help them choose products that best fit their needs and goals. 

Features of SCCU’s Visa® Student Credit Card

SCCU Visa® Student Credit Cards feature a variety of fraud prevention and payment benefits. 

  • Free 2Way Text Fraud Alerts
  • Contactless payments
  • Free Card Controls to manage card usage
  • ID Navigator Powered by NortonLifeLock46
  • Roadside assistance
  • Visa® Account Updater (auto update your card information with participating merchants)
  • Visa® Zero Liability Protection14
  • Digital wallet payment options

Teens can apply for a Visa® Student Credit Card here online with a parent or guardian to take the first step toward financial independence today!

Credit Cards for Low Credit Borrowers

SCCU’s Visa® Student credit cards are for teens ages 15-17, but what about college students and anyone else looking to build their credit? We also offer Visa® Secured credit cards for adults with a low credit score, including college students, who are trying to establish or improve their credit. 

A secured credit card uses another account, such as a savings account, as collateral against purchases made on the card. And not to worry, to merchants, this card will look and operate like a typical credit card. Then, after a year of good payment history, you can apply for SCCU’s Visa® Low Rate credit card.

Benefits of Choosing a Credit Union

When you and your family choose a credit union for your financial products and services, you benefit in a crucial way: financial wellness, the very heart of credit unions. They make decisions to benefit their members because, as a not-for-profit cooperative, what’s best for individual members is also right for the credit union as a whole.

The interest rates and fees at credit unions are typically lower than those at banks—and savings products tend to have higher interest rates. The ultimate goal of these products is to allow members to have better financial health and save more money. 

Credit unions in Florida, like ones around the country, usually serve people who work in certain professions or live in designated geographies. You can become a member of SCCU as long as you live or work in any of our service counties and deposit $5 in a Share Savings account. 

Deposits are insured through the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). The NCUA provides protections in ways that are similar to FDIC’s coverage at traditional banks.  

SCCU Watches Out for Your Family’s Interests

Teenagers should be able to have a student credit card from a financial institution that has their best interests at heart. As a credit union, we’re committed to looking out for our members’ interests and delivering this promise at SCCU: Honest People. Trusted Products. Time Valued. We also offer Student Checking accounts and Youth Savings accounts. Feel free to get in touch with us today with any questions.  

Apply for an SCCU Visa® Student Credit Card today!

Definitive Guide to Student Credit Cards
May 28, 2024 By Space Coast Credit Union
High school students can practice financial responsibility through a student credit card!
How to Open a CD in Florida with Space Coast Credit Union
April 26, 2024 By Space Coast Credit Union
See all the steps to open a CD in Florida with Space Coast Credit Union.
Does Paying Off Loans Early Hurt Your Credit?
April 5, 2024 By Space Coast Credit Union
Are you worried about what will happen to your credit score if you pay a loan off early? Learn more here.
Why Visa Signature is the Best Points Credit Card (With No Annual Fee!)
February 23, 2024 By Space Coast Credit Union
Looking to get a credit card? Here are numerous reasons why Visa Signature is the best points-based credit card (with no annual fee!).
How Do Credit Card Balance Transfers Help Slash Debt?
January 22, 2024 By Space Coast Credit Union
Learn more about what a balance transfer is and how it can help you cut down on debt and save more money.
Secured Credit Cards vs. Secured Loans
December 15, 2023 By Space Coast Credit Union
Secured lending refers to loans requiring collateral for loan approval. Types of collateral loans include secured credit cards & loans secured by bank accounts.
10 Easy Ways to Save Money in College
August 31, 2023 By Space Coast Credit Union
Here are 10 ways to save money while in college, allowing you to spend less time staring at an empty bank account and more time living the fun college life.
Alternative Ways to Save for Retirement Beyond 401(k)s
August 18, 2023 By Space Coast Credit Union
Perhaps your employer doesn’t offer a 401(k) or you’re self-employed. See some of the best alternative ways to save for retirement.
How Many Credit Cards Should I Have?
July 27, 2023 By Members' Watchdog
You might receive offers in the mail or at stores to apply for a credit card. But you might be concerned that having too many credit cards may negatively impact your credit.
How to Choose the Best Student Checking Account for Teens
June 2, 2023 By Members' Watchdog
We break down how to find the best student checking account for teens in just five steps. See them here!
Money Market Accounts: Everything You Need to Know
March 10, 2023 By Members' Watchdog
Money market accounts offer a plethora of savings benefits. Explore them all here.
How CD Laddering Works and Benefits of this Savings Strategy
February 13, 2023 By Space Coast Credit Union
Laddering CDs involves opening multiple CDs with staggered maturities. Let’s break down CD ladders so you can divide and conquer! 
Debit Card vs. Credit Card: Which One is Better?
February 3, 2023 By Space Coast Credit Union
We’ll go over the advantages and disadvantages of debit cards vs. credit cards. Plus, we’ll answer when’s the best time to use each card.
How to Make a Budget
December 28, 2022 By Space Coast Credit Union
In this article, we’ll break down how to make a budget for beginners and how to stick to a budget once you’ve created one.
Certificates of Deposit (CDs): What You Need to Know
December 19, 2022 By Space Coast Credit Union
Certificates of deposit (CDs) are a special type of savings account with a guaranteed rate of return over a certain timeframe so you can give your savings a raise even while you sleep!
10 Tips to Improve Your Financial Wellness
December 9, 2022 By Space Coast Credit Union
We’re sharing our top financial tips, with words of wisdom from SCCU Team Members, to help you improve your overall financial wellness.
Building Credit with a Secured Credit Card
November 25, 2022 By Space Coast Credit Union
When you’re seeking a Visa card and all its conveniences—but facing a roadblock with a lack of credit history—a secured credit card can help.
Benefits of a Visa Signature® Credit Card at SCCU
October 19, 2022 By Space Coast Credit Union
Visa Signature offers a rewards program, travel perks, low variable rates, security features, and more. We’ll give you the 360-degree view of why this card is worth having in your pocket.
The Ultimate Guide on High-Yield Savings Accounts & Saving Money
October 4, 2022 By Space Coast Credit Union
By regularly depositing your hard-earned money into a high-yield savings account, you could be on a faster path to achieving your dreams.
Florida Credit Unions: Why Choose Space Coast Credit Union (SCCU)?
September 23, 2022 By Space Coast Credit Union
We offer a full financial suite of products and services. Let’s dive into all of them!
How to Consolidate Debt
September 16, 2022 By Space Coast Credit Union
Perhaps unexpected expenses are piling up, and you’re scrambling to figure out how to pay them all. We’ll cover how to consolidate debt in this article, which could be a light at the end of the tunnel for you. 
Why Visa Platinum is the Best Cash Back Credit Card
September 9, 2022 By Space Coast Credit Union
Who doesn’t love earning money while spending money? Space Coast Credit Union’s (SCCU)’s Visa® Platinum—the star of the best cash back credit cards—gives you the power to do just that.
How a Good Credit Score Can Impact Purchasing Power
August 26, 2022 By Space Coast Credit Union
You’re probably well aware of what a credit score is, but what exactly determines your overall credit, and how does it benefit you?
Money Market vs. CD: Which is Better?
August 19, 2022 By Space Coast Credit Union
Both CDs and money market accounts offer low-risk ways to earn more interest on your savings. Find out which one's for you here.
Comparing the Differences: Visa Platinum vs. Visa Signature
July 21, 2022 By Space Coast Credit Union
With everything from rates to perks, you may find yourself on the fence as you're making your decision between Visa® Platinum or Visa Signature®. This article provides a comparison between the two to help you decide.
Hurricane Preparation Checklist
July 13, 2022 By Space Coast Credit Union
It's always a good idea to prepare for a hurricane before it's even on the radar. Here's a checklist to help you get started.
What is the Difference Between an IRA and a 401(k)?
June 29, 2022 By Space Coast Credit Union
Not sure if it's better to get an IRA or a 401(k)? Learn more about their differences here and how they can help you save for retirement.
How to Switch to a Free Checking Account in 5 Steps
June 22, 2022 By Space Coast Credit Union
From depositing checks to paying bills, your checking account should work FOR you and not against you with unnecessary extra monthly fees. See why it's worth switching to a Free Checking account at SCCU.
Unleash the Hidden Benefits of Digital Wallet
February 23, 2022 By Space Coast Credit Union
You’re walking along the beach and begin to feel thirsty. Your heart sinks once you realize your wallet is over a mile away. But then you realize that you have your phone with you, which means you can still access all of your cards through your digital wallet app! Learn more about all of its benefits here.
Which Credit Card Benefits are Better: Cash Back or Points?
February 15, 2022 By Space Coast Credit Union
Credit cards offer several benefits from covering emergencies to earning rewards. But with so many card options available (and vying for your attention) with cash back or points, it can be overwhelming to choose a rewards program that’s best for you. In this article, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of each type to help you score rewards in no time! 
A Beginner’s Guide to Free Checking (What It Is & Why You Need It)
January 28, 2022 By Space Coast Credit Union
Checking accounts are like a Grand Central Station for your money—flowing in and out with deposits and withdrawals. Many banks and credit unions offer free checking accounts, but what exactly is a free checking account and why should you get one?
The Beginner's Guide to a Good Credit Score (& How to Get One)
January 7, 2022 By Space Coast Credit Union
When you want to borrow money—perhaps for a mortgage or a car loan—or to get approved for a credit card, lenders typically require a decent credit score. But, what is a good credit score, and how can you make sure you have one?
Visa® Platinum Benefits: A Guide to Receiving Credit Card Rewards
December 21, 2021 By Space Coast Credit Union
Today, strategically selecting whether or not to use a credit card and which one to use can be part of savvy financial management. We're taking a look at why the Visa® Platinum credit card at SCCU may be the one for you.
10 Creative Ways to Save Money
December 10, 2021 By Space Coast Credit Union
Saving money can be challenging. But after the holiday season, it’s often a top New Year’s resolution. From joining special savings accounts to making some daily item switches, we’ve rounded up 10 ways that could save you thousands of dollars a year! 
Holiday Shopping with Credit Cards Do’s and Don’ts
November 12, 2021 By Space Coast Credit Union
Here are our top do’s and don’ts to keep in mind while holiday shopping with credit cards. 
What are Secured Credit Cards?
September 28, 2021 By Space Coast Credit Union
Maybe you’ve run into the following paradox: How do I get a credit card with less-than-perfect credit (or no credit) if I need a credit card to build my credit? You’re in luck because secured credit cards break this cycle!
7 Savvy Skills Teens Gain from a Student Checking Account
September 21, 2021 By Carmen Tapanes
While teens can watch hundreds of videos on the Internet about finances, experience is often the best teacher when it comes to managing money. But it can feel overwhelming for them to know where to start learning the fiscal ropes. Opening a checking account gives them a learner’s permit to handling financial matters with the peace of mind of having an adult as the co-owner. 
How to Choose the Best Free Checking Account
September 14, 2021 By Space Coast Credit Union
When searching for the right checking account, most people would prefer one that’s “free” — and rightly so. But it can be hard to know what exactly “free” means today when we know that fees and terms are often the name of the game. The reality is that financial institutions will define "free" in different ways.
Choosing the Best Credit Card to Fit Your Needs (+ Where to Get It)
July 23, 2021 By Space Coast Credit Union
Credit cards can be an excellent tool for building credit when you’re financing purchases both big and small. Most credit cards today deliver some form of benefit with membership—accumulating points, cash back, airline miles, or other deals, consumers have a wealth of choices.
Financial Peace: Pay Your Dues & Your Debts + Restore Hope in 5 Simple Steps
February 3, 2021 By Space Coast Credit Union
Discover how to obtain financial peace in 5 simple steps. Learn how to pay off your debts the right way and educate yourself on how to live financially free.
The Definitive Guide to Achieving Financial Freedom
January 29, 2021 By Space Coast Credit Union
This guide offers steps that you can put into practice immediately as you work towards financial freedom.
4 Perfect Times to Consider a Personal Loan
February 16, 2017 By Space Coast Credit Union
Virtually everything costs money, and it’s often more than you’d expect it to be.
Common Mistakes During Open Enrollment
November 3, 2016 By Space Coast Credit Union
Be sure to watch out for these three common pitfalls when enrolling in workplace benefits.
Was this helpful?
Thank you for your feedback!