A higher credit limit can open the door to more spending power. That can be a great thing if you can manage your spending responsibly.
A higher credit limit can also help boost your credit score. Since a good credit score leads to significantly more attractive financing opportunities, that’s a possible outcome that you cannot ignore.
Whatever your reasons for pursuing a credit limit increase, the good news is that making the request is very straightforward. If you’re ready to get a credit limit increase, here’s how to make that happen.
How Do You Increase Your Credit Limit?
There are four easy ways to pursue a credit limit increase. Let’s take a closer look at each.
Request One Online from Your Credit Card Company
Depending on your credit card company, you might be able to request a credit limit increase online. If there is an online portal associated with your credit card, start by looking through the menu options.
You might find this request listed under a “credit limit increase” or “line of credit increase” tab. If you can’t find the option through the menu, try searching the site. If available, take advantage of the chat feature to ask a live person.
Once you’ve found the appropriate request form or reached a customer chat support agent, you’ll need to provide some updated personal financial details. Be prepared to provide current income information and how much of a credit limit increase you want. In some cases, the lender will ask for your preference.
The exact increase you should ask for will vary based on your situation and your goals. For example, say you just got a big raise at work. It might be appropriate to request a new credit limit that matches your increased spending power — say, 50% of the previous limit. But if you want to avoid a new hard credit inquiry, you might decide to keep your ask relatively modest — perhaps just 10% to 20% higher than before.
Call Your Credit Card Issuer
If you can’t find an online request form or simply don’t want to make the request virtually, you can always call your credit card issuer. Find the phone number on the back of your card.
Most credit card issuers have an automated system in place to field your calls, but the system eventually connects you with the appropriate customer service representative. Be prepared to provide a reason for your request.
For example, you might have recently paid off a debt or received a raise at work. Either scenario changes your financial situation and could be enough reason for a credit increase. Also, be sure to point out that you’ve used the card responsibly so far.
Raise Your Credit or Income to Qualify for an Automatic Credit Limit Increase
Credit card issuers can automatically give your credit limit a boost too.
If they see your credit score has increased, they may grant an automatic increase. That’s because a higher credit score represents a new level of responsible credit usage.
As a cardholder, you can work towards an automatic credit limit increase by improving your credit score. You can do this by making on-time payments and limiting new credit applications.
Another way to get an automatic increase is to update your income information. You can usually update this information through your card issuer’s online dashboard. Many credit card issuers prompt you for an updated income each year. But you can make updates whenever your income changes.
Increase Your Security Deposit
When you have a secured credit card, you make a security deposit that is tied closely to your credit limit. For example, if you make a security deposit of $500, your card likely has a credit limit of $500.
You can often increase your credit limit by increasing your security deposit. Certain credit card issuers require you to get permission to add to your security deposit. In other cases, you can log into your account and immediately increase your security deposit.
Of course, coming up with the extra funds for an increased security deposit could be easier said than done. If you need help saving up for a planned credit limit increase, work on boosting your savings rate first.
How Do Credit Card Companies Decide Your Limit?
Are you wondering why your credit card company set a limit in the first place?
The inner workings of each credit card company’s decision-making may not always match up exactly. But these are the key factors credit card companies use to set credit limits.
- Timely Payment History. A history of on-time payments can increase your limit. If you regularly make late payments, that could lead to a lower limit.
- Credit Score. A credit score is a reflection of your credit history. A good credit score leads to a higher limit, while a lower score means a lower limit or no credit approval at all.
- Credit Utilization Ratio. A low credit utilization ratio shows how well you manage your credit. When you lower your utilization ratio, you may see a boost in your credit score.
- Employment Status & Income. Your annual income plays a big role in your credit limit. After all, you can’t have a credit limit that is higher than your income. Otherwise, how could you pay back the lender? Lenders want to make sure you aren’t tempted to spend more than you could reasonably pay back.
- Monthly Rent or Mortgage Payments. Monthly housing payment is a fixed cost that cuts into your ability to spend on other things. If your housing costs are high, expect your credit limit to be lower. Likewise, if your housing costs rise after a move or rent increase and your income doesn’t keep pace, your credit limit could fall.
- How Long You’ve Had the Card. If you’re a reliable borrower who consistently makes on-time payments, your credit card issuer could boost your credit limit as a reward.
No single factor determines your credit limit. However, if your financial situation has improved recently, your lender is more likely to grant your requested credit line increase.
Ultimately, your lender decides how much they want to lend. In some cases, that could mean the lender sets a predetermined credit limit that applies to everyone using a particular card. For example, a basic entry-level credit card could come with a standard $500 credit limit to get the ball rolling.
What to Consider Before Requesting a Credit Limit Increase
Before you reach out to your credit card issuer about a credit limit increase, stop to think about the repercussions.
Hard Inquiry vs. Soft Inquiry
The difference between a hard inquiry and a soft inquiry is a big one. Whereas you might see your credit score drop temporarily due to a hard pull, soft inquiries don’t have any effect on your score.
Before you proceed with a request, ask the credit card issuer what kind of inquiry they plan to run. In some cases, they’ll only run a soft inquiry that doesn’t negatively impact your credit score.
Remember: If the lender runs a hard credit inquiry, your credit score could suffer. Proceed with caution if you don’t want to take an unnecessary hit to your credit. If you have plans to finance a major purchase in the near future, it’s best to wait on a credit limit increase until after you’ve locked in the best possible rate.
The timing of your request is critically important. If you make the request too early, you might be denied.
Generally, the right time to make a request is after you’ve received a pay raise, increased your credit score, or managed the credit card responsibly for a while. Holding off on the request is the right move if your income dips or your credit score tanks.
Additionally, look at your upcoming credit needs. Are you planning to finance a major purchase? If you’re a soon-to-be homeowner or plan to buy a vehicle soon, a good credit score can lead to thousands saved in finance charges thanks to a lower interest rate.
But if you’ve already applied for credit to fund that major purchase, don’t ask for a credit limit increase just yet. If the mortgage or auto lender runs a hard credit check before your loan closes, the temporary hit to your credit score could result in a higher rate or even jeopardize your eligibility for the loan.
Credit Limit Increase Fees
No one likes to pay unnecessary fees. Unfortunately, some credit card companies are notorious for nickel and diming you at every possible juncture. One of those pesky fees could be a credit limit increase fee.
Not all credit card companies charge a credit limit increase fee. If you want to be sure to avoid a fee, take a look at the card’s terms and conditions. You can usually find details about this fee somewhere in that fine print. If you don’t want to dig through documents, then call up your card issuer and ask directly about this fee.
What to Do If Your Credit Limit Increase Is Denied
Requesting a credit limit increase is simple, but whether you receive the increase is in the issuer’s hands. If you’re denied the increase, the company sends a letter explaining why they denied your request.
Take a closer look at the reasons, which might include your income, credit score, or payment history. Whatever the explanation, look for ways to correct the issue.
For example, if your payment history is spotty, make it a point to pay your bills on time. Or if your income isn’t quite high enough for an increase, look for ways to increase your income.
After taking at least six months to correct the issues, reach out again. If you’ve addressed the lender’s concerns, you might have better luck this time around.
Credit Limit Increase FAQs
Still have questions about credit limit increases? You’ll find answers to some common queries here.
What Are the Benefits of a Credit Limit Increase?
On the surface, a higher credit limit only seems to impact your spending power. After all, a higher line of credit means that you can spend more on your card without maxing it out. Increased spending power alone could be enough reason to pursue a higher credit limit.
Dig a bit deeper and you’ll find a higher credit limit can also improve your credit score. That’s because a higher credit limit opens the door to a lower credit utilization rate, which is an important component of common credit scoring models.
How Many Times Can You Request a Credit Limit Increase?
Technically, there is no limit on the number of times you can request a credit limit increase. But if you make requests too frequently, then you might be denied. In general, waiting six months between requests is appropriate.
Say that a lender denies your credit limit increase request in January. In that case, you should wait at least until July before making another request. While you wait, make an effort to increase your credit score by managing your credit responsibly.
Can a Lender Decrease Your Credit Limit?
Yes, your credit card company can decrease your credit limit. A lender may decrease your credit limit if your account is inactive or you’ve missed a payment. Typically, actions that negatively impact your credit score can also lower your credit score.
Is It Bad to Request a Credit Card Increase?
If you’re financially stable, increasing your credit limit is a smart move. The higher limit could lower your credit utilization rate and increase your credit score.
However, if you’re constantly running up your available credit limit, an increase could fuel more financial turmoil. When overspending is a real possibility, an increased credit limit could lead to credit card debt. Don’t pursue a credit limit increase unless you have a firm handle on your spending.
The process of requesting an increased credit limit is simple. If you plan to make a request, weigh the possible ding to your credit score before moving forward.
If you manage your credit responsibly, then obtaining a credit limit increase shouldn’t be too difficult. That’s especially true if your income is rising.
On the other hand, if you have a shaky history of credit card management, you might find it difficult to boost your credit limit. If that’s the case, take some time to improve your credit score before trying again.