How to Get a Credit Limit Increase on a Credit Card
Credit limit increases are beneficial to you in more ways than one. Not only do you have more available credit to work with, but raises in your credit limit can also improve your credit score by lowering your credit utilization ratio. Follow these steps to get a credit limit increase.
Pay your bill on time for at least 6 months. Of course, you should always pay your credit card bills on time, as late payments could result in credit limit (and credit score) decreases. Six months is simply the minimum amount of time you will have to make timely payments on your account before creditors will even consider raising your credit card limit.
Lower your credit utilization.Your credit utilization is pretty much how much money you have on your credit card compared to your overall limit. For example, if you have $4,900 worth of debt on a card that has a $5,000 limit, your credit utilization is extremely high. If, on the other hand, you have $300 worth of debt on a card that has a limit of $5,000, your credit utilization isextremely low. A low credit utilization is what you want.
If you have multiple credit cards, don’t be hesitant to move debt from one card to another in order to massage your credit utilization. If one card has a higher limit, for example, move debt onto that card and off the card with the lower limit. Do this so that both credit utilization ratios more or less balance out.
Shoot for a credit utilization rate (debt to limit ratio) of about 10%. A 10% credit utilization rate is ideal, however, so if you happen to have a rate of 20%, or even 30%, that’s okay. Your credit utilization is 30% of your credit score, which itself is a factor in getting a limit increase.
EditPart Two of Three: Choosing which card to increase
Figure out which credit card you’ll ask for a limit increase on.Why, aside from the obvious reason? Asking some credit card companies for a limit increase can cause the credit issuer to check your credit score, known in the business as a “hard pull.” A hard pull can cause your credit score to go down, only about five or 10 points. If your credit score is teetering on the edge of solvency, however, those 10 points can be very significant.
Gather supporting documentation. In some cases, it may be necessary to prove that you are worthy of a credit limit increase, even if you have paid your bill on time for 6 or more months. You can just ask for an increase in your credit line and hope for a favorable response, or you may want to better your chances by compiling information that supports your ability to commit to higher credit card payments before you implore about changes in your credit card limit.
Income. If your employment situation has improved and you are now making more money and/or working more hours, provide check stubs or tax returns.
Change of occupation. It is also useful to know that different occupations carry different credit risks, and that a change in occupation, even without a raise, may improve your ranking with creditors and qualify you for credit limit increases.
Debt. Perhaps you’ve paid off a car or other credit accounts and your debt to income ratio is now lower. In this case, you may be able to provide proof of your closed accounts in order to receive a credit card limit increase.
Loyalty. Tell them how long you’ve been a customer with them. If you have an outstanding credit history, low debt, andyou’ve been a loyal customer through thick and thin, it’s worth something to publicize that information.
Get an idea of how much of an increase you would like to request. If you ask for too high an amount, your account could be flagged for further review; if you ask for too low an amount, you could be denying yourself of valuable credit. Examine your circumstances to determine how much of a credit limit increase is realistic for you (i.e. how much you want, how much you need and how much of a payment you can afford each month).
Contact the creditor to make your request. This is where the rubber meets the road.
Some credit card companies provide their customers with an online option for requesting credit limit increases. If this is the case, you simply need to sign into your account and make the request through the creditor’s automated system.
Call the phone number on the back of your credit card to speak with someone directly about raising your credit card limit.
If your request fails, consider sneaking through the back door.If your request for an increase doesn’t work out as planned, consider this sneaky little trick if you absolutely need the increase. Apply for a different, second card from the same company. Next, re-allocate the credit limit to your old card. If you don’t get caught, this is a decent — but very backhanded — way of increasing your limit.
Don’t go overboard. Just because you have a more credit at your disposal doesn’t mean that you need to go crazy with it. The good news is this: the less money you spend on your credit card, the better your credit score and the higher your chances of getting a limit increase in the future.
Some creditors automatically raise your credit limit after a pre-determined number of timely payments. Ask creditors about their policies regarding credit limit increases before applying for credit cards.
Avoid expressing a need for the credit limit increase when making your request over the phone. Creditors do not like lending money to people who seem desperate for money, as that is an indicator that they don’t manage money well. For example, rather than say something like, “My car is broken down and I missed a lot of work last month, so I really need this increase,” try saying something more like, “I would appreciate the opportunity to improve my credit score with a credit limit increase.
Beware of following through with a credit limit increase request if the representative puts your request on hold and asks you for more information. This means that the creditor will be putting a “hard inquiry” or “hard pull” on your account, or running your credit, which will temporarily lower your credit score. When this happens, you may withdraw your request with no consequences, or proceed with the request, knowing that there will be consequences (and that your request still may not be approved).