When you have a credit card, you’re given a spending limit that’s set at the time you apply. The credit limit is the maximum amount you can charge on your card, and it’s often based on factors like credit history and income. The goal is to avoid providing customers more credit than they can reasonably pay back.
Sometimes, cardholders want to have that limit increased. Increasing your credit card limit can provide you with more spending power. Better yet, it can also help improve your credit score. A significant amount of your credit score is based on how much credit is being used at any given time, versus what’s available.
If your limit on a Bank of America credit card is increased, you’re increasing your available credit while your debt remains the same, assuming you don’t use that credit to spend more.
How to Request a Credit Limit Increase With Bank of America
First, you might be able to get a credit limit increase just by being responsible with your card. Bank of America and other credit card companies often increase customers’ credit lines every six months or every year if they are making payments on time, and using their card often.
If you’re automatically offered an increase, it won’t result in a hard inquiry on your credit report. If you aren’t offered a credit increase automatically by BofA, there are other options.
You can log in to your account online. You’ll then see the Card Details section of your online account. Here, you can look for a link called “Request a Credit Line Increase.” Click that link, located near the left side of the page.
You’ll be prompted to enter the credit line you’re requesting, and your financial information, including your income.
In most cases, you have to be a BofA account holder for at least six to 12 months before you have the option to request an increase to your credit limit. If you log onto your BofA account and you don’t see the option to increase your limit there, you should contact customer service at (800) 732-9194.
If you request a credit limit increase online, Bank of America will usually let you know right away if it’s approved. If you aren’t immediately approved, you aren’t necessarily denied. The bank will likely look at your information more closely or it may need more information. If you are indeed denied, in most cases you will receive a letter by mail within seven to 10 days that explains why your limit increase wasn’t approved.
Bank of America does a hard credit pull for most credit limit increase requests, so be aware of this. This means that it will show up as an inquiry on your credit report. However, a hard pull isn’t usually done on limit increase requests of $2,000 or less.
You may want to increase your Bank of America credit limit for a variety of reasons. Perhaps you want to make a large purchase, and you’d like to have increased buying power. Or, you may want to lower your credit utilization ratio and boost your credit score.
Regardless of the reason, Bank of America makes it fairly simple to request a limit increase online or by phone. Before doing so, you might want to consult with the company and ask if they anticipate whether a hard credit inquiry will be required.
Also, make sure that you aren’t using a credit limit increase as a way to overextend yourself. If you max out your card after getting a credit increase, it’s going to be more difficult to pay back the debt, and it can negatively affect your credit score.