A credit limit establishes your purchasing power by setting a limit on the total amount of money you can charge to a credit card. Increasing your credit limit can improve your credit score, lower your credit utilization and provide more financial flexibility (though it also increases your debt potential). Still, it can also complicate things if you tend to overspend. When you’re ready to increase your credit limit, the process is relatively simple but varies from issuer to issuer.
How your credit limit is determined
A handful of factors play a role in how your credit limit is calculated, like your credit score, credit history, income and debt-to-income ratio.
How to get a credit limit increase
Requesting one directly from your issuer online or over the phone. Or wait for your issuer to extend an offer after reviewing your account.
Request a credit limit increase online
You can typically request a credit limit increase on your bank’s mobile app or website. The lender will then prompt you to provide the personal information it needs to evaluate whether or not you’re eligible for a credit limit increase. You’ll likely need to provide your total annual income, current employment status and monthly mortgage or rent payment. If your card issuer approves the request, you typically get access to the new credit limit immediately, and it can even help improve your credit score.
Request a credit limit increase over the phone
You can call the number on the back of your credit card and ask a customer service representative if you’re eligible for a credit limit increase.
Look for an automatic increase
Lenders regularly offer credit limit increases without a formal request if you pay your bills on time and manage your card responsibly. They may provide you with an increase and ask you to accept or decline, but they often do this without notice.
How a credit limit increase affects your credit score
A larger credit limit can help improve your credit score because more purchasing power can translate to a better credit utilization ratio -- that is, the amount of credit you have versus the amount of credit you currently use. Your credit utilization is one of the most critical factors determining your credit score, making up 30% of your score.
The bottom line
Increasing your credit limit may be as easy as requesting it, but it’s also important to consider your reasons for increasing it. If the request is made to help improve your credit utilization, consider paying down your debt first. But if you want to broaden your purchasing power and have the financial means to take it on responsibly, requesting a credit limit increase may be the right move. Alternatively, you can apply for one of the best high-limit credit cards.
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