Every credit card comes with a maximum credit limit and is determined by the information you provide when applying. The card provider uses this information to arrive at a suitable limit.
There is no definite way to determine what your credit limit might be, as card providers often follow their own unique policies when deciding it. However, developing an understanding of how certain factors may determine your credit limit could help you make a more accurate estimate.
A credit limit is the largest balance you can hold on your credit card at any one time. It’s decided using the full range of information you give a credit provider, such as your income, debts and liabilities.
When you’re comparing your credit card options, you’ll notice where available, we’ve included the maximum limit for a particular card. It’s important to note that this may not be the credit limit you end up with. For example, you could apply for a credit card that has a maximum limit of $10,000 but only end up being approved for a $2,000 limit instead.
Providers rarely share limit ranges for their credit cards. As you might observe, business cards with high limits are common thanks to the nature of business spending. Cards designed for people with less-than-perfect credit tend to have lower limits. With most secured credit cards, the amount you deposit becomes your credit limit. However, some secured cards may offer a higher credit limit with responsible use.
Credit limits of popular credit cards
The minimums and maximums in the table below are only estimates and don’t guarantee the limit that you’ll receive when you apply.
There is, as mentioned, no concrete way to calculate probable credit limit and the process to arrive at one can vary from one credit card provider to the next. Taking into account aspects that can affect your limit, on the other hand, can help estimate your current credit card’s limit. Based on these factors, you can:
Credit history. When you apply for a new card or an increase in an existing card’s limit you can expect the provider to refer to your credit file while making a decision. They do this in order to assess risk levels of lending to you. Details in your credit file like repayment history, outstanding debts, and unsuccessful applications for debt can have an impact on your credit limit. Learn more about credit scores in our detailed guide.
Income. Income is a definite consideration when setting credit limit, and a number of cards come with minimum income requirements. Your credit limit, in most instances, should stay in direct proportion to your income, where higher income normally translates into higher credit limits. Frequency and reliability of income can also affect your credit limit. That’s why self-employed individuals are usually considered high-risk by most card providers.
The provider. Credit card providers can offer you different limits even though you submit exactly the same information through their applications. If you’ve banked with the provider in the past, a reliable history on your part can lead to a higher than usual credit limit. Some credit card providers list out aspects they look at when determining credit limits, which you can use for reference. Certain providers, like American Express, have stringent processes when it comes to arriving at limit levels, which you should factor in as well.
Compare high-limit credit cards
Providers rarely share the limit ranges for their credit cards before you apply. If you’re looking for a high one, users have found that the cards below tend to have ones that are higher-than-average.
What should my credit card limit be?
In some cases, you can find out what your minimum credit limit will be if you read the card’s terms and conditions. But the credit line you’ll get could be different. A card issuer will weigh in a few factors before assigning you your credit line.
Annual income. Typically, individuals with higher annual income get a higher limit.
Expenses. Having a high annual income will mean very little if your expenses are higher. High credit limit can be assigned to individuals with a healthy debt-to-income ratio.
Employment. Having a steady job may get you a higher credit line.
Creditworthiness. As a sum of your debt management, a high credit score can get you a high credit line.
The type of credit card. Applying for a premium credit card comes with a higher credit line from the start compared to standard credit cards.
How to get a credit limit increase
If the limit you received doesn’t meet your needs and is not at its maximum allowed, you can always consider asking for an increase. The exact steps you’ll need to perform to request an increase depend on your issuer, though you’ll want to have a few pieces of information at the ready
To successfully get an increase, you typically have to meet these eligibility criteria:
Your credit card account must be open for at least 6 months.
You must use your credit card actively and responsibly.
Your credit score has improved.
You income is higher now compared to when you received your credit card.
You have paid your credit card balance on time since you opened your credit card account.
What limit should I ask for?
If you’re eligible for an increase, aim modestly as your request could get denied. You can still request a higher amount than the one you want because sometimes you may get a counteroffer, which may be enough.
As a general rule, requesting a limit increase between 10% and 25% is reasonable. But if you already have a low limit, say $5,000 or less, you can safely ask for a higher amount.
What should I be wary of when getting a credit increase?
Increasing your card’s credit limit gives you access to more money as and when you need it, and decreasing it can help you keep your expenses in check. In either case, it is important that you account for the following.
Overspending. An increased limit translates into you getting more money to spend, and this could lead to a build-up of debt that you may have issues repaying. The higher the limits, the higher the chances of overspending.
More interest. The outstanding balance in your account that rolls over from one month to the next attracts interest, and an increased limit can work in increasing the outstanding balance, resulting in you paying more in the form of interest. If you don’t pay your account’s balance in full every month, an increase might not be a good option.
Defaulting. An increased limit gives you more spending power, and, again, the more you spend, the more you have to repay. Apart from repaying the principal, you also have to pay interest, which, over time, can add up to a sizeable sum. If, at any point, your outgoings exceed your income, you stand the risk of defaulting.
Not enough money. Before you ask for a decrease in your card’s limit, establish if you’ve ever used the card beyond the new limit you seek. If you have, you might find yourself in need of the money again, and with a lower limit you might find yourself at a loss during an emergency.
The credit limit your card defines how much you can spend using your card. Factors affecting your application for an increase include your income, creditworthiness, and the card provider’s policies. While increasing your credit card limit may seem like the resolution to your financial problems, you should consider your spending habits and ability to repay before going forward with this plan.
With credit card providers that accept online applications for an increase in your limit, you can complete your application in around 5-10 minutes, provided you have all the required information close at hand.
This can vary from one card provider to the next, where while some inform you of their decision almost immediately, some others can take a few days.
New credit card accounts typically don’t qualify for limit increases, and you’ll often have to wait for 3-6 months. Once you get an increase or decrease in your limit, you cannot request another one in the next 3-6 months, depending on your provider.
Yes, you can, but this should be within the maximum allowed limit of the given card, and it remains subject to approval.
Amy Bradney-George is the acting editor for Finder X and a senior writer for credit cards and Finder Green. She has more than 13 years' experience as a journalist and writer, with bylines in publications including The Equity Magazine, The Sydney Morning Herald, ABC News and produce industry website FreshPlaza. Amy has a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Drama from Griffith University, and when she’s not putting (virtual) pen to paper, she spends her time as an actress.
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