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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.
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.
What's in this guide?
- How can I increase the credit limit on my credit card?
- How can I improve my odds of getting approved for a credit limit increase?
- What factors can affect my credit limit application?
- Should I request a credit limit increase?
- When's the best time to apply for a credit limit increase?
- What's the maximum credit limit on credit cards?
- Compare high-limit credit cards
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.
Most issuers allow you to request a credit line increase online. You can typically make your request by:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 or high performers like the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards 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.
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.
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. Since your credit limit isn’t necessarily tied to a specific card, feel free to choose the card you want most and then work on upping your limit.
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