How to increase the credit limit on your credit card

Make on-time payments and use your credit card responsibly to get a higher spending limit.

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If you regularly use your credit card, requesting a higher credit limit could help you avoid penalty fees, earn frequent flyer points on big ticket items or allow you to consolidate balances onto one card.

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

Here’s how you can initiate an increase to your credit limit with different credit card providers:

  1. Submit your credit limit increase request online or by phone.
  2. Provide all the required information, such as your income, employment information and credit score.
  3. Wait for a decision. The amount of time this takes depends on the issuer. You might get a decision instantly, or it could take a few days.

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

  • Use your card regularly.
    Providers generally favor cardholders who frequently use their cards and pay off their balances on time. This shows that you have need for a higher credit limit and that you 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 that you are a responsible, low-risk borrower. Paying off the full balance also shows the bank that 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. Asking again too soon after a previous request can have a similar outcome.
  • 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 wildly shoot for more. Unless your circumstances have drastically changed, your request should be capped at 30% more than your current limit.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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Should I request a credit limit increase?

When you first get a credit card, your bank or provider will usually assign you with 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.

If you get a credit limit that’s too high, you’ll increase the risk of ongoing debt. Submitting a request for a credit limit increase also impacts on your credit history. 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.

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. This credit inquiry is recorded on your credit report, negatively affecting your credit score.
  • 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. If a limit increase means you’ll max out with an issuer, you may want to consider if this card makes the most sense to increase.
  • 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. This is dangerous if you haven’t yet achieved financial discipline.

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.

Compare high-limit credit cards

Credit card issuers rarely share the credit limit ranges for their cards, so there’s no way to be sure what your limit will be before you apply. However, these cards tend to have higher-than-average credit limits according to users.

Updated October 17th, 2019
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Bottom line

Getting a higher credit limit can boost your purchasing power. You can either request a credit limit increase or get an automatic increase. But to get an approval, you need to use your credit card frequently and responsibly.

Another option to get a higher credit line is to apply for a card with a high credit line, such as Visa Signature or Mastercard World Elite type of cards.

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