Your credit card company might seem to be in total control, dictating from afar like the man behind the curtain in “The Wizard of Oz.” Sometimes that’s true, but you may have more flexibility than you think.
A credit limit increase is one of the easier requests you can make of your credit card company. With a credit increase, you can spend more with your card.
You might want to do this for several reasons. Keep reading to find out how to increase your credit limit.
In this guide:
- Reasons to increase your credit card limit
- How to increase your credit limit
- What if your creditor won’t allow you to increase your credit limit?
Reasons to increase your credit card limit
Reasons you may consider requesting a credit limit increase include:
- You want to grow your credit score: As long as you don’t use up your new credit, increasing your credit limit can lower your credit utilization ratio—which in turn can boost your credit score.
- You need to make larger purchases: If you keep bumping up against your credit limit or are planning a large purchase, you might need a higher credit limit—but ensure you have a plan to pay off your credit card, so you don’t get stuck in debt.
- You want more buffer room for emergencies: An emergency fund is the best way to protect yourself against unwelcome financial surprises. But if you don’t have that yet, sufficient available credit can be an option.
However, just because you can request a credit limit increase doesn’t always mean you should. Here are a few reasons you might want to reconsider:
- You’ve already maxed out your card: If you’re relying on credit cards to make ends meet, adding more debt won’t help. Instead, try working with a National Foundation for Credit Counseling-certified counselor, which offers affordable one-on-one assistance.
- You’ll be applying for a new mortgage or car loan soon: Many creditors will do a hard credit check if you request a credit limit increase. That will show up on your credit report and can scare away potential lenders from approving you for a loan.
How to increase your credit limit
Increasing your credit limit is often as simple as asking your credit card company. But you should know certain information about the process to increase your odds of success.
Credit card companies often do a hard credit pull if you ask for a credit limit increase. That can affect your credit score, so waiting until you’re confident in your approval odds is wise. That way, your credit score won’t be dinged for nothing.
The factors that affect that decision include:
- Has your income increased? Credit card companies may grant a credit limit increase if you’ve gotten a raise or otherwise increased your income. You can likely afford increased debt payments if your income is higher.
- How long have you had your credit card open? Credit card companies are more likely to grant your request if your card has been open for several months. Experian recommends waiting at least six months.
- How well have you managed your payment history? Lenders like to see you managing your current debt before granting the potential for more. Your odds of success go up if you haven’t missed any payments.
- How are the economic conditions? The financial winds of the time can also affect whether credit card companies are loosening or tightening their purse strings, and this can be frustrating because you have no control over it.
If you’re ready to go ahead, here’s how to increase your credit card limit.
If you have a secured credit card
Many people choose a secured credit card if they’re just starting out or trying to rebuild their credit. These cards work differently: You deposit money with the credit card company as a safety check in case you don’t repay the debt.
With a secured credit card, the more you deposit, the higher your credit limit is. So to increase your credit limit on a secured credit card, deposit more money into the account.
Check with your secured credit card company before you do this to ensure you’re following all the rules.
Request a credit limit increase
Your card issuer might allow you to request an increase via your online account, secured message, or phone call.
Most credit card companies allow you to request a credit limit increase from your online account. Take a peek around the drop-down menus in your account for this option.
If you don’t see the option when logged in to your account, you can try sending a secure online message from within your credit card portal requesting a credit limit increase.
You can also call the customer service number listed on the back of your credit card to chat with someone right away.
Be prepared to provide information, such as how much you’d like to increase your credit limit. You might also need to provide your updated monthly income, your mortgage or rent payments, and other important financial details.
In many cases, submitting a credit limit increase request online or talking to a customer service representative over the phone is the fastest option. They can often tell you right away whether you’re approved. Sometimes, though, it can take up to 30 days.
Every credit card issuer operates differently. Follow the links below for more in-depth information about how to request a credit limit increase from eight popular companies:
Wait for an automatic credit limit increase
Many credit card companies will grant automatic credit line increases, or at least ask whether you’re interested in one when you log in to your account regularly.
You can boost your odds of this if you manage your current credit card debt well. Keep your credit utilization low, and always pay on time. We recommend signing up for autopay, so you don’t have to worry about missing a payment.
What if your creditor won’t allow you to increase your credit limit?
Your credit card company isn’t required to honor your request to increase your credit limit.
If you’re denied, your credit card company might send a letter explaining why or advise over the phone. If it doesn’t give a reason, contact the company to ask why.
If this happens, you may not be out of options.
Evaluate the following suggestions, considering what makes the most sense for your situation:
- Ensure the reasons for the denial are valid: If your issuer denied your request because of your credit score, check your credit report to ensure it’s accurate. It’s not uncommon for errors to make your credit seem worse than it is.
- Wait six months and try again: There are no limits to how many times you can ask your credit card company for an increased limit, but most experts recommend waiting at least six months.
- Apply for another credit card: You can apply for another credit card with a different company. If you do this within two weeks of your denial, you’ll limit the damage to your credit score because credit companies treat these as one inquiry.