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How to calculate your credit card limit

Learn what factors go into deciding your credit card limit.

There’s no definite way to determine what your credit limit might be, as card providers often follow their own unique policies when deciding your credit limit. Because of that, there aren’t any specific calculator tools you can use to determine your limit and you should take any information you get from online credit limit calculators with a grain of salt.

Instead, learn how some factors determine your credit limit. This can help you make a more accurate estimate on your own.

How can I calculate my potential credit limit?

With no concrete way to calculate probable credit limit, the process to arrive at a credit limit can vary from one credit card provider to the next. Here’s what card providers take into account.

  • Credit history. Details in your credit report like repayment history, outstanding debts, and unsuccessful credit applications can have an impact on your credit limit.
  • Income. Your credit limit, in most instances, stays in direct proportion to your income, where higher income normally translates into higher credit limits. Pay frequency and income stability can also affect your credit limit.
  • The card provider. Credit card providers can offer you different credit 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.

How to use an online credit limit calculator

Online credit card limit calculators can give you a vague idea of what your credit limit might look like. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to determine exactly what your credit limit is and you can’t be entirely sure of how your credit card provider will calculate your limit. Think of them as more of a “credit limit estimator.”

If you do end up using an online credit card limit calculator, bear in mind that the result should only work as an indication of what you can look forward to, and don’t expect your card provider to rely on similar parameters. At the end of the day, it’s your card provider who establishes exactly what your credit limit should be.

How to check your credit card limit

If you have an existing credit card and can’t remember your maximum limit, you can simply call your issuer or log in to your account online if available. Your credit limit information also exists in the documentation you receive when you open your card account. If you’re unsure if this is what your credit limit should be, call your issuer.

If your credit card limit isn’t enough for your needs, consider requesting a credit limit increase.

How can I increase the credit limit on my credit card?

There are two primary ways to request a credit limit increase: online and over the phone.

Online

Most issuers allow you to request a credit line increase online. You can typically make your request by:

  1. Logging on to your account and selecting the Request a credit line increase option under account management. For some issuers, you’ll need already be eligible to select this option.
  2. As part of your request, you’ll typically need to provide a few pieces of information. This can include:
    • Your total annual income.
    • Your employment status.
    • Your monthly rent or mortgage payments.
    • Your desired credit limit.
    • Your reason for requesting an upgrade.
  3. After you fill out all the required questions and submit your request, you should receive a response shortly after.

Over the phone

Making a credit line request over the phone is similar to making a request online. You’ll need to:

  1. Call your issuer and request to speak with a representative. Depending on your issuer, there might be a specific line to call to make this request.
  2. Answer a few questions similar to making your request online. The difference here is you’ll be speaking with a representative instead of typing your answers. Come prepared with your information as well as the reasons you’re requesting an increase.
  3. Wait to receive an answer regarding your request. This should come a few days after providing your information.

How can I improve my odds of getting approved for a credit limit increase?

Before you submit an application to increase your credit card’s credit limit, there are several things you can do to help your chances of approval.

  • Use your card regularly.
    Providers generally favor cardholders who frequently use their cards and pay off their balances on time. This shows you have a need for a higher credit limit and can handle credit responsibly.
  • Make payments on time and pay your balance in full.
    Prompt payments greatly improve your chances for approval because they show the bank you’re a responsible, low-risk borrower. Paying off the full balance also shows the bank you’re capable of managing a higher credit card limit. Most issuers like to see at least six months of responsible card use.
  • Optimize your credit score.
    Protect your credit score by paying your bills on time. Even late payments on phone and utility bills, car or personal loans can hurt your credit report and keep banks from increasing your credit limit.
  • Beware of asking too soon or too often.
    Unless otherwise stipulated, credit card providers typically review your account after six months. Asking before that time could raise alarm bells and hurt your chances of a future credit limit increase.
  • Don’t ask for too much.
    Prudence can go a long way when it comes to requesting a credit limit. It’s better to ask for a conservative 10% to 25% increase than to shoot for more.
  • Apply for a card with a high credit limit.
    Premium credit cards typically offer higher credit limits than standard cards. If you meet the eligibility requirements for these cards, you could compare your options for high limit cards and apply for one that suits your spending habits and needs. A few cards known for high limits include luxury cards such as the Amex Platinum Card.
  • Have your pitch ready.
    Instead of winging the conversation with your credit card provider, be prepared to offer a reason for your increase and an amount you’d like your limit to be.

What factors can affect my credit limit application?

Whether you’re applying for a new credit card or an increase in your existing card’s credit limit, your issuer will look at several factors before making a decision. Just about every credit card provider in the United States considers the following when it comes to making credit limit decisions:

  • Your monthly income
  • Your creditworthiness
  • Your employment status (full-time, part-time, self-employed)
  • Your residential status (homeowner, renter, boarder)
  • The card in question (for example, silver, gold, platinum)
  • Your history with the provider in question.

Should I request a credit limit increase?

When you first get a credit card, your bank or provider will usually assign you an affordable credit limit for your circumstances. This limit is based on factors in your credit card application including your income, expenditure, existing debt and credit score or credit rating.

You’re welcome to apply for an increase if you like, but a higher limit can increase your risk of ongoing debt if you’re not careful with spending. Submitting a request for a credit limit increase also impacts your credit score, as the bank will conduct a hard pull on your account. So before deciding if you want a credit limit increase, consider your specific circumstances.

Why I might want a credit limit increase

  • Helps your credit score.
    If you can afford a higher credit limit, your credit score could go up because of a lower credit utilization ratio — the amount of credit used compared to the amount of credit available.
  • Increases your spending potential.
    Enjoy greater spending power without the worry of maxing out your card.
  • Potential to earn more rewards.
    A higher limit could mean more room for purchases that could earn you rewards or miles.
  • Emergency funds.
    You’ll have a bigger safety net in case of an emergency. Increasing your credit line could prove a boon during the current coronavirus pandemic, for example and possibly save you the need to take out a loan.

Why I should hold off on a credit limit increase

  • Hurts your credit score.
    When assessing your application, the bank will make a hard pull inquiry into your credit history.
  • Affect other applications.
    A denied request negatively impacts your credit report. If you’re applying for other kinds of credit, like a loan, potential lenders could decide to give you a higher interest rate.
  • Max out your issuer-specific credit limit.
    If you have multiple cards with the same issuer, it may set a maximum credit limit across cards.
  • Higher monthly repayments.
    A higher credit limit also means higher minimum monthly repayments.
  • Increase your debt risks.
    Having more credit could increase your spending and lead to more debt.

When’s the best time to apply for a credit limit increase?

The best time to apply for a credit limit increase depends on your personal and financial situation. But generally, you’re in a strong situation to request when you:

  • Meet the eligibility requirements
  • Have a higher credit score than when you applied for the card
  • Increase your income
  • Plan to close another card and you want to keep your utilization rate low
  • Have a solid record of on-time payments

Can I get a credit card limit increase without asking?

Yes. Occasionally, your credit card provider may send you invitations to increase your credit limit. This service is only available if you opt in to receive invitations. Why might you get an offer for an automatic credit line increase though? It usually comes down to a few reasons:

  • Competition. From a pure market standpoint, your bank might increase your credit limit simply to keep up with increasing credit limits from competing issuers.
  • To encourage you to spend. When it comes to issuers, the more customers that carry a balance, the merrier. If your issuer thinks that you’re a good candidate for carrying a balance – with the intent of paying it off eventually – you might see an increase offer your way.
  • Utilization numbers. If a bank increases your credit limit but you continue to spend at usual levels, this can look good on your utilization rate. This can ultimately look better on the bank’s end of the numbers.

What’s the maximum credit limit on credit cards?

While providers may have internal maximums, there is no maximum credit limit that applies universally.

Credit card issuers will typically want to know your income and credit score to approve you for a higher credit limit. Before the financial collapse of 2008, it was common for issuers to approve credit limits as high as $50,000 or more on a single card. Limits have since been reined in to better manage the risks involved with huge credit ceilings.

Credit cards with a high credit limit

Providers rarely share credit limit ranges for their cards, which makes it hard to make an accurate estimate on what you’ll get. The maximum limits you find online are mostly anecdotal.

Read the full guide on comparing high limit cards by type:

How to compare high credit limit cards

Here are a few of the top considerations to keep in mind while you hunt for a high limit card.

  • Spending habits. If you regularly repay your balance in full, a high limit card could help you manage your expenses and give you breathing room in case of emergencies. But if you regularly exceed your budget or don’t always repay your balance in full, a high credit limit could lead you into heavy debt.
  • Request a credit limit increase. If you want a higher credit limit, you might not need to apply for a new card. As long as your account is in good standing, you regularly pay your balance on time and you have an income to support the increase, you have a chance of approval.
  • Eligibility. Banks will take a close look at your spending history before approving you for a high limit card or credit limit increase. They will also look at your credit score and annual income to evaluate your application and decide on a credit limit.
  • Interest rate. If you’ll carry a high balance month to month, you may want a card with a low interest rate. But if you always pay your balance on time, the APR won’t have any impact on your account.
  • Rewards Pick a card that rewards you for your typical spending. If you’re a globetrotter, for example, you might like a travel card. If you spend in many different categories, you might like a cashback card.

Pros and cons of high limit credit cards

Pros

  • More spending power. Applying for a higher credit limit will increase your ability to spend. This could be a natural solution if you’re struggling to cover your expenses with your current credit limit.
  • Consolidate card debt. If you have debt on one or several credit cards, moving them onto a high limit card — especially one with a 0% intro APR — could make it easier to manage repayments.
  • More potential rewards. A higher limit may let you pay for more of your everyday expenses on plastic, potentially netting you more rewards.
  • Useful for business expenses. Business cards often have limits that exceed those of personal cards.

Cons

  • Dependent on income. Your credit limit increase or credit card application will depend on your credit history and income. If you don’t meet the minimum requirements, you might not be approved.
  • Temptation to spend. A higher credit limit could tempt you to spend more than you can afford to repay each month. Remember that you’ll have to repay everything you spend, possibly with interest.
  • Interest charges. By carrying a high balance on your card, you could find your debt snowballing fast — even if your card has a reasonable interest rate.
  • Annual fees. Premium credit cards with high credit limits tend to have significant annual fees. Weigh these costs against included benefits to decide if a card is worth paying for.

    Bottom line

    The credit limit your card comes with defines how much you can spend using your card, and while changing a card’s existing limit is possible, it requires several considerations. Some of the factors that can affect your application for a credit limit increase include your income, your creditworthiness, and the card provider in question. While increasing your credit limit may seem like the resolution to your financial problems, there are several considerations to be wary of before you apply for an increase.

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    4 Responses

      Default Gravatar
      rajashekarAugust 28, 2017

      my card is block i want to pay it in emi basis and my card total payment 70000/- so please send how much i should pay to every month to release my card

        AvatarFinder
        KyleAugust 28, 2017Finder

        Hi Rajashekar,

        We’re sorry to hear that your card has been blocked. Unfortunately, we can’t tell you how much to pay a month to release the card, but we can try to put you on the right path to resolve the issue. It’s best if you contact the lender directly to sort out a monthly payment that will allow you to have a line of credit. If that option is not available, you may be able to save some money by paying off your credit card debt with a personal loan that has a lower interest rate than your current credit card. Here is some more information on personal loans. https://www.finder.com/personal-loans

        I hope you can get this all sorted out!

        Kyle

      Default Gravatar
      GlennJuly 26, 2017

      Fico 770, 200k+ income, home value 333k. Never had a single late pay. Ex-vice president job title for 20+ yrs. 40k average credit. I want a high limit card doing a personal project and withdraw cash amount around 5k a day. What kind of credit card limit and which one should I go for?

        AvatarFinder
        HaroldJuly 27, 2017Finder

        Hi Glenn,

        Thank you for your inquiry.

        Generally, you will only know how much your credit limit is when your credit card application gets approved. The card issuer will only approve you for an amount that they think you can reasonably repay and so they will weigh in a few factors including your credit score, income, employment before assigning you your credit limit.

        There are several providers that offer high-credit-limit credit cards that you can compare. If you have an excellent credit score, then you may enjoy a very high limit with these credit cards.

        As a reminder, please ensure that you meet all the eligibility criteria and read through the Product Disclosure Statements/Terms and Conditions before applying to see whether it is right for you.

        I hope this information has helped.

        Cheers,
        Harold

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