How to Increase Credit Limit

This guide explains how to increase credit limit, provides credit line increase tips and how a credit limit increase impacts credit score.

How to get a credit limit increase without asking

  • Always pay your bill on time
  • Try to pay your bill in full if possible
  • Use only a portion of your credit limit
  • Update your income with the credit card company
  • Keep your credit card account open for a minimum of six months
  • Pay down the debt you owe

This guide and its editorial content explain how to apply for a credit limit increase, provide tips for getting that increase and offer insight on ways to raise your credit score.

Getting a credit limit increase is amazing. It’s the kind of experience that feels like getting a promotion at work or better yet, a raise. 

An increase to your available credit is a watershed moment in your credit history, more so if you’re rebuilding a bad credit score or you are brand new to having a credit card. 

An increase to your credit limit is both a warm, fuzzy feeling and a key indicator that you are responsible with your credit spending.

A bigger credit limit vastly improves your purchasing power. But that’s just one of the advantages obtained when you increase your limit. A higher limit can have a positive impact on your credit score, as well — as long as you maintain a healthy credit utilization rate

Something important to know about your credit card is that thirty percent of your credit score from the three major credit bureaus gets calculated based on your level of debt. 

What that means is your credit utilization or the amount of available credit you’re using, is one of the biggest parts of your credit score. And a credit limit increase will instantly lower your credit utilization ratio because of how it affects the math.

how to earn a credit limit increase

That means if you raise your credit limit and keep your debt the same or pay some of it down, you automatically get a higher credit score.

Getting an Automatic Credit Limit Increase

Some credit card companies make it easy and automatically raise your credit limit. They do automatic increases when you hit benchmarks that tell them you handle credit responsibly. 

Those benchmarks include maintaining a manageable credit utilization rate and consistently making your monthly payments.

A lot of credit card servicers review their customers’ accounts periodically and will automatically raise the credit limit for some of their cardholders.

Their goal is to help you build credit and help you qualify for better options. The stronger your credit, the better it is for both the credit card company and for you, the customer. 

So, in some cases, the best time to ask for a credit card increase is never. Instead, wait for an automatic review — whether it’s your Discover it® card or your Hilton Honors American Express.

ask the credit issuer directly for a credit line increase

Ask the Credit Card Servicer Directly

Some credit card servicers will only raise your credit limit if you ask. There are usually two ways to initiate the inquiry process: 

Call Your Credit Card Customer Service

The easiest and most direct way to start the inquiry process is to call the toll-free number your credit card servicer provides. Once you call, listen to the system prompts. 

Usually, there are instructions provided for requesting a credit limit increase. If no prompt is available, wait for the chance to speak to a live customer service representative. Once you’ve got a human, ask them about increasing your credit limit.

Do it Online

These days, a lot of credit card servicers let you request a credit limit increase online. To do it that way, log in to your account and look for the button or menu option related to credit limit increases.

Continental Finance, a credit card marketer and servicer of the Surge Mastercard that is issued by Celtic Bank, lets people check for a credit limit increase at this site.

No matter the credit card you have, when reaching out to a credit card servicer be prepared to provide additional information including monthly income, the amount of credit limit increase you want, and the reason you want the increase.

does the request for a credit limit increase hurt your score?

Does Requesting a Credit Limit Increase Hurt Score?

According to U.S. News, yes, in some instances requesting a credit limit increase can hurt your credit score.

Just like when you apply for a credit card, the act of asking for an increase to your credit lines will initiate a look into your credit history.

Depending on the type of inquiry, this can affect your credit score.

There are two kinds of credit pulls, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: A soft inquiry and a hard inquiry.

  • Hard inquiries. These are typically inquiries by lenders after you apply for credit. These inquiries will impact your credit score because most credit scoring models look at how recently and how frequently you apply for credit.
  • Soft inquiries. These are reviews of your credit file, including reviews of existing accounts by lenders, prescreening inquiries by prospective lenders, and your requests for your annual credit report. These will not change your credit score.

But your credit score is only affected by one of them. A hard inquiry can affect your credit score.

Depending on the card servicer, a limit increase request will sometimes trigger a hard pull on your credit report. This hard pull can hurt your credit, especially if you have a short credit history.

If you call your credit card customer service, you can ask whether a hard inquiry will be initiated. So don’t hesitate to ask your credit card servicer whether they’ll do a soft or hard credit check beforehand.

how to increase credit limit? one way is to increase your security deposit

Extra Tip: Increase Your Security Deposit

Some credit cards are called secured. A secured credit card requires a cash security deposit and this, in turn, reduces the risk to the credit card company. 

So one sure-fire way to increase your limit, if you have a secured credit card, is to pay more towards your security deposit. To do so, the best bet is to contact customer service and have them provide the proper steps to do this. Each credit card servicer has a slightly different process.

how soon is the decision on a credit line increase request made?

How Soon is a Credit Limit Increase Decision Made?

If your credit card account is in good standing and you can demonstrate that you have enough income to handle a higher credit limit, many times you’ll find out immediately if your request was approved.

Sometimes, though, the process takes a bit longer and your credit card servicer will sometimes notify you a few days later via mail.

what to do when you get denied a credit limit increase

What to do When a Credit Limit Increase Gets Denied

A credit limit increase can be denied by a credit card servicer for a variety of reasons including: 

  • The credit card account may be too new
  • It may be too soon since a previous credit limit adjustment
  • You may not have enough income to qualify for an increase
  • Or, you might simply have an account that doesn’t receive any total credit limit increases

Beyond those common reasons, negative marks on a person’s credit history are often the reason a credit limit increase gets denied. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau details what happens when you are denied because of something on your credit report.

Much of that same information also applies in this instance. And if that is the case with your credit limit increase request, you will receive an adverse action letter. This letter is required to explain in detail the factors that caused the adverse action. Common factors include missed payments or high balances. You’ll also get a free credit score report if your score was used in the decision to decline your request.

If your request was denied:

  • Pay attention to the reason(s) given in the letter
  • Take actions to improve your credit in those areas
  • Continue to make payments, even if only minimum payments, on time 
  • Wait a few months, and then try again

People Also Read

Continental Finance is one of America’s leading marketers and servicers of credit cards for people with less-than-perfect credit. Learn more by visiting ContinentalFinance.net


How to Get Approved for a Credit Card

Learn more about how to get approved for a credit card and when is a good time to apply for a credit card.

Continental Finance Guide to Understand Your Credit Score, Debt and Income

This guide will help you apply for an unsecured credit card that fits your profile.

The Key Topics of this guide:

  • Applying for credit cards with bad credit
  • Applying for credit cards with no credit
  • Credit card approval odds
  • Best credit cards of 2022

Continental Finance, the marketer and servicer of Surge Mastercard, strives to help searchers make sound financial decisions about their credit options and their credit history. To that end, this article is part of a series of guides that will help people on their journey to establish and build good credit.   

Let’s start with the most basic: How to apply for and get approved for a credit card.

Applying for a credit card is easy. Most times all you need do is fill out an online form and click the “apply now” button. 

But getting approved for a credit card? That can be a whole lot trickier for some people.

what is a good credit score

1. First, Know What a Good Credit Score is

A credit score is one of the single most important factors considered by companies market credit cards when they decide to approve a person’s application. There are a wide variety of credit scores and two of the most popular are FICO Score and VantageScore

When making a decision on an application, credit card marketers can use different scores or analyze the score or scores differently. But credit scores on average are classified by credit card marketers in tiers like this:

300-629Poor Credit
630-689Average Credit
690-719Good Credit
720 and upExcellent Credit

These tiers get used by card companies in their decision process. Different cards, with different features typically have a minimum credit score to qualify for the card.

Note: Rewards-based credit cards are extremely popular. People love earning rewards from their card usage. 

And most rewards credit cards require good or excellent credit. If you have struggled to maintain a good credit history, or you are just beginning to build your credit history, you might want to delay applying for those kinds of cards until your credit improves. 

Or, instead of rewards cards, you could consider secured cards or cards designed for people with bad credit.

know your own credit scores

2. Next, Know Your Credit Scores

The two most prominent scoring models used by the major credit bureaus are FICO score and VantageScore 3.0. Getting your individual score from these two sources is often very easy.

First, FICO Score

You can pay to get your FICO score from MyFICO.com, but if you already have a credit card account, you may also already have access to free FICO scores on your monthly statement or online account. 

And Discover, an issuer of credit cards, offers a free FICO score to everybody, even if you’re not a customer.

Next, VantageScore

Some personal finance websites, including Credit Karma, offer a free credit score from VantageScore. Vantage scores and FICO scores track similarly because both weigh many of the exact same factors in their calculation. Also, they tend to use the same data from the credit bureaus.

Improve your credit

3. Now, Improve Your Credit

Your credit scores will rise if you:

  • Make monthly payments on time.
  • Keep balances low on existing credit cards.
  • Avoid new debt.

You’ll notice these tips focus on debt and debt management. Approximately 30% of your credit score is determined by how much you owe. 

High credit card balances can be especially damaging.

A key factor in building good credit is your credit utilization ratio — which is your balance divided by your credit limit. To improve your credit score and boost your credit profile in the eyes of credit card marketers your credit utilization ratio should be below 30% on each credit card you have. 

That means if you have a card with a credit limit of $500, it’s recommended to keep the balance below $150.

To lower your credit utilization, create a plan to pay down an existing balance as quickly as possible. Also, consider paying off purchases more than once a month and paying more than the minimum. Taking actions like those will keep your balance lower throughout the month and send a positive signal that impacts your credit score.

One tactic to be careful of when trying to improve your credit utilization ratio is balance transfers. Make sure you only initiate a balance transfer to a different card when you know it is going to help you manage the payments. It’s better to deal with higher utilization rate than to create a situation where you can’t meet your regular monthly payments.

Pro-Tip: A Credit Rent Boost Could Improve Your Credit Score

Another tip to improve your credit is to provide the credit bureaus examples of your ability to make payments for other bills. Free Rent Reporting can provide a near instant boost to your credit score. This service could take your application from a rejection to an approval with just a few easy steps. 

how to get approved for a credit card

4. Don’t Jump at the First Offer you get

People with no credit are brand new to the game. And people with less than perfect credit may not have fully experienced what happens with credit card offers yet. But one thing to remember is you will see a lot of offers.

That means you can be picky and do not need to jump at the first offer you get.

Each credit card application you fill out will require a check of your credit history. And that means each rejection you get can temporarily ding your credit report. So be wary of the offers you get and do not jump at the first offer you are sent.

Take a moment to read the terms and conditions carefully. If you have less than perfect credit you may not be approved for offers that promise large sign-up bonuses or lucrative rewards.

Consider using an online tool or mobile app to see if you might pre-qualify for an offer. Pre-qualification will ensure you get a card, and avoid any negatives on your credit report just for showing interest in acquiring a card.

Checking takes only a moment, and it will not harm your credit score.

No luck pre-qualifying? 

Continental Finance is one of the leading marketers and servicers of credit cards for people with less-than-perfect credit. They market the Surge Mastercard and can help you get closer to reaching your goals through credit over time. This blog and other educational resources will help you learn how to qualify for a card and then use the card responsibly to help mend your credit.

when to apply for a credit card

5. Include all Income in Your Credit Application

Companies that review credit card applications consider your credit scores an indicator of your worthiness to be given a card. But scores don’t tell the whole story. 

Another important factor is your income. Credit card marketers use income to calculate your debt-to-income ratio. This helps determine your ability to make payments. And card marketers want to ensure they provide credit card offers to people they feel will be able to make the payments. 

To change your debt-to-income ratio you need to either increase your income or decrease your debt.

What that means is you can report other sources of income when applying for a credit card. If you earn money outside your full-time job, include that information on your application. 

You can include your household income, for example. Which means reporting income from your spouse or partner, on your credit card application.

Just remember to be careful. Resist the temptation to overstate your income. If a credit card marketer finds that you knowingly provided false information on your application, you could be charged and convicted of credit card fraud.

Also note that income is what credit card marketers consider, not employment status. So, being unemployed does not automatically disqualify you from applying for and being approved for a credit card.

Don't give up

6. Don’t Give up After a Rejection

If you think you’ve done everything right and your application is still denied, don’t give up on your quest to obtain good credit. 

First thing to do is reach out to the credit card marketer. The company can give you assistance and other options to help you get credit.

Remember to have a plan before you call. Keep these points in mind:

  • you have the right to ask the company why you were denied
  • you can also check your free credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com 
  • see if there are any blemishes on your history 
  • formulate a convincing argument for why you want the card
  • prepare reasons for why you are fiscally responsible
  • and most of all be polite

Customer service agents are more likely to respond positively if you have a pleasant demeanor.

Still no luck? 

If your credit history isn’t perfect, and you have had trouble getting approved for a credit card, remember you are not alone. Improving your credit scores takes time. So the final piece of advice in our guide is to be patient. Waiting between one to three months between credit card applications can increase your chances of getting approved.

when to apply for a credit card. The bottom line is approved.

The Bottom Line for Obtaining a Credit Line

Credit cards aren’t like debit cards. There is an amazing amount of potential to help your full financial profile through responsible and regular use of credit. 

But first you need to get a credit card. Fast and easy application for credit cards are everywhere. But that makes the application process very important.

Being denied for a credit card stings.

It can hurt you psychologically and it can also have a very real and negative impact on your credit score.

So remember it is very important to take stock of your credit profile and before you apply for your next card. Apply for credit with a responsible plan and take action.

  • You want to choose the best card. 
  • You want to be aware of the details like interest rates and any refundable security deposit requirements.
  • You want to provide the most accurate information possible.
  • You want to have your ducks in a row to make the best case possible.

Take your time, showcase a responsible payment history and be persistent. That’s the key to getting your credit card application approved.

People Also Read

Continental Finance is one of America’s leading marketers and servicers of credit cards for people with less-than-perfect credit. Learn more by visiting ContinentalFinance.net