In many cases, a credit limit increase can sound like a good idea. If you start out with a credit limit of $2,000, for example, it’s good to know that your limit can increase in the future so you can have more buying power and find it easier to maintain a low utilization rate.
Sometimes, increasing your credit limit will not always be in your best interest because it can tempt you to overspend. In that case, it’s also easy to drive up your utilization rate, which is how much you are spending versus how much available credit you have. If your utilization rate gets higher than 20%-30%, it can begin to hurt your credit score.
What’s worse, by overspending and not paying your credit card balance off in full each month, you can get into debt.
If you’d like to secure a credit limit increase for a credit card and you know that you’ll have a good sense of self-control over your spending, there are quite a few ways to obtain a credit limit increase.
Do Nothing — Just Wait.
Some credit card companies will offer you a credit limit increase automatically so you won’t need to do anything on your end.
If you’ve been spending on your card regularly, paying your bill on time, and keeping your utilization rate low, you may receive an offer to increase your credit limit automatically.
In this case, you can either accept or deny the offer. In most cases, accepting the offer will be your best bet if you like the credit card and use it from time to time. Even if you don’t use the card often, having a higher limit will only help lower your utilization rate as long as your spending doesn’t increase significantly.
Ask for a Credit Limit Increase.
One of the most common ways to obtain a credit limit increase is to simply ask for one. Most credit card companies and banks allow you to request a credit limit increase online or you can do it by phone.
We’ve gone through the process of requesting a credit limit increase with various banks in detail, including Wells Fargo, Capital One, Discover, Barclaycard, American Express, and more, if you need specific instructions regarding the process.
When requesting a credit limit increase, it’s important to make sure you meet the criteria to be considered. Some banks have certain requirements and like to see your account paid off and in good standing, a good credit score, and recent spending activity on your end.
If you haven’t been consistent about paying your credit card bill on time, that may work against you when you decide to request a higher credit limit.
On the other hand, if you’ve been managing your card well and paying your bill on time and would like more buying power, you may want to consider requesting a credit limit increase just to see what the end result will be.
What to Do If Your Credit Limit Increase is Denied
If you request a credit limit increase and get denied, you’ll usually receive a response explaining why you didn’t get approved. Once you know why you didn’t get approved, you can take the necessary steps to fix the issues outlined and request an increase again if you wish.
Be mindful that some banks will let you request a credit limit increase at any time, while others may require that you wait a few weeks or months before putting in a request again.
While waiting it out and correcting the issues that contributed to you getting denied should fix the issue, you can also try either of the alternative options mentioned above as well if you didn’t get approved for a credit limit increase the first time around.
Benefits of Requesting a Credit Limit Increase
Obtaining a credit limit increase can be a smart move and provide you with benefits like increasing your credit limit and having more buying power in the event that you need to use your card for a large expense or emergency. With a higher limit, you are less likely to max out your card.
A credit limit increase will also make it easier for you to keep your utilization rate low and preferably below 20%. The process may also be easier than applying for a brand new credit card, especially if you receive credit limit increase offers automatically.
Drawbacks of Requesting a Credit Limit Increase
Increasing your credit limit isn’t always the best option for everyone, so it’s only fair to go over some of the possible drawbacks of making this decision.
In some cases, you’ll receive an extra credit inquiry, which could be a hard credit inquiry when you request a credit limit increase. Increasing your limit can also increase the risk of overspending and getting into debt.
There’s also no guarantee that you’ll get approved for a credit limit increase, so your request can get rejected. Also, if you have a card with a high-interest rate and an annual fee, you might be better off signing up for a better credit card.
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