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How to Earn a Credit Limit Increase

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 issuers 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 issuers 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 issuer and for you, the customer. 

So, in some cases, the best time to ask for a credit card increase is never. Instead, wait for it to go up automatically with a credit line increase — whether it’s your Reflex Mastercard® or your Hilton Honors American Express.

ask the credit issuer directly for a credit limit increase

Ask the Credit Card Issuer Directly

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

Call Your Credit Card Issuer

The easiest and most direct way to start the inquiry process is to call the toll-free number your credit card issuer 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 issuers 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.

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?

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, but your credit score is only affected by one of them.

This happens during a hard pull on your credit report. Depending on the card issuer, 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 issuer, you can ask whether a hard inquiry will be initiated. 

Difference Between a Soft Inquiry and a Hard Inquiry

It’s important to note that when you request an increase in your credit limit, a soft inquiry will not affect your credit score.

  • A soft pull is an inquiry that appears only on the version of your credit report you can see. 
  • A hard pull is a different story entirely. A hard inquiry will affect your score depending on the specific information in your credit report.

Hard pull can appear on all versions of your credit report for up to two years.

That means if you have a lot of debt in your payment history from other sources like student loans or home mortgages, you should consider waiting to ask for a credit limit increase.

Try to pay off your debts and get yourself in a better position overall.

Remember you can always check your credit history to see what kind of pull the credit card issuer does. So don’t hesitate to ask your credit card issuer what whether they’ll do a soft or hard credit check beforehand.

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 issuer. 

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 issuer has a slightly different process.

how soon is the decision on a credit limit 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 issuer 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 issuer 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. 

If that is the case, 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

The Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit

Are you looking to rebuild or re-establish your credit? Try one of these 3 great offers.

Have bad credit and need a credit card?

Are you looking to rebuild or re-establish your credit? Well, you have come to the right place. Continental Finance is one of America’s leading marketers and servicers of credit cards for consumers with less-than-perfect credit.

With more than 2.6 million credit cards managed since our founding, we understand how to help people improve their credit score by giving them an opportunity when other companies won’t.

Our internal team of experts have collected the three best credit card offers (available online) from Continental Finance Company, each of which are designed to help people with less than perfect credit.


Offer #1: The Surge Mastercard®

APPLY NOW FOR CREDIT

Why it’s the best credit card for bad credit

Many credit cards for people with bad credit require a security deposit of $125 or more. The Surge Mastercard® can provide an unsecured line of credit that ranges between $500 and $750. You don’t have to put any money down upfront if you qualify for an unsecured offer. The Surge card also features secured options if you don’t qualify for an unsecured offer, which would require a security deposit.

Pre-qualify credit card offers from Surge Mastercard
All credit types are welcome to apply for the Surge Mastercard. There’s a fast and easy online application process that allows you to see if you’re pre-qualified for an offer in seconds.

Credit-building features

One of the best credit-building features that all Continental Finance cards provide is:

  • Regular and frequent account reviews for credit limit increases. Simply make your first six required monthly minimum payments on-time and you’ll be eligible for an automatic review for a credit limit increase.

Beyond Credit Limit Increases, the card has more features to assist with building credit, including:

  • Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus.
  • There is also a $0 Fraud liability feature to help protect you from fraudulent charges and keep your credit history positive.
  • The 24/7 online customer platform gives you custom alerts to help you keep up with payments, avoid late fees and ensure your credit building efforts stay on track.
  • You’ll also get free online access to your credit score each month by signing up for e-statements in the customer platform.

What Customers Say About the Card


Offer #2: The Reflex Mastercard®

APPLY NOW FOR CREDIT

Why it’s one of the best credit card offers for those with less than perfect credit

The Reflex Mastercard® shares many of the same qualities as the Surge Mastercard – including the range of credit limits between $500 and $750. The Reflex Mastercard also provides an unsecured line of credit in its pre-qualified offers, meaning you don’t have to put money down when you qualify for an unsecured offer. You may qualify for a secured offer with varying security deposit amounts, if you don’t receive an unsecured offer.

Pre-qualify credit card offers from Reflex Mastercard
The Reflex Mastercard uses a fast and easy to use pre-qualification process that begins by showing you any offers you pre-qualify for (checking if you pre-qualify for an offer won’t impact your credit score).

Credit-building features

Similar to the Surge Mastercard, building your credit is the primary focus with the Reflex Mastercard. The Reflex card features:

  • Frequent account reviews for credit limit increases.
  • Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus.
  • There is also a $0 Fraud liability feature to help protect you from fraudulent charges and keep your credit history positive.
  • The 24/7 online customer platform gives you custom alerts to help you keep up with payments, avoid late fees and ensure your credit building efforts stay on track.
  • You’ll also get free online access to your credit score each month by signing up for e-statements in the customer platform.

What Customers Say About the Card


Offer #3: The FIT Mastercard®

APPLY NOW FOR CREDIT

Why it’s the best offer for those looking to build or re-establish credit

The FIT Mastercard® is slightly different than the Surge and Reflex card offers. This is the starter card in Continental Finance’s offerings and comes with a credit limit of $400, which is a great option for someone looking to build their credit score.

Credit card offers from FIT Mastercard
The FIT Mastercard features a fast and easy online application process.

Credit-building features

Building your credit score is the main focus with the FIT Mastercard. Some of the great features include:

  • Frequent account reviews for credit limit increases.
  • Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus .
  • A $0 Fraud liability feature to help protect you from fraudulent charges.
  • The 24/7 online customer portal gives you custom alerts to help you keep up with payments, avoid late fees and ensure your credit building efforts stay on track.
  • You’ll also get free online access to your credit score each month by signing up for e-statements in the customer platform.

What Customers Say About the Card


surprise at credit card approval

What These Cards are Designed to do

Credit cards for bad credit help people with credit scores from 300 to 639 rebuild their credit. Going by the FICO Score ranges, this typically includes the “Poor” and “Fair” categories.

PoorFairGoodVery GoodExcellent
Lower than 579580 to 669670 to 739740 to 799800 to 850

Don’t be put off by your score. Your credit, and the opportunities available to you for rebuilding your credit are likely better than you think.

Remember, these cards are designed with the purpose of building credit scores by reporting account information to the three major credit bureaus each month. That’s why using your credit card responsibly and developing good financial habits is the best way to rebuild damaged credit.

The offers above all focus on unsecured credit cards. That’s because unsecured credit cards for bad credit do not require a security deposit for approval. One of the biggest roadblocks for people who are actively trying to rebuild credit is that most offers they qualify for come with a large security deposit. But, if you don’t qualify for an unsecured offer, these cards may still be able to provide you with security deposit options.

But it’s very possible to rebuild credit using unsecured credit cards, which Continental Finance specializes in providing.

The downside of unsecured credit cards to build credit is they often have tougher approval requirements and higher fees. The upside is the credit line requires no money invested upfront, which means it avoids the common catch-22 of having to fund the card with money you might not currently have available.

Since the credit line is unsecured, the best way to build your credit score is to manage your spending. We have some tips to help!

Credit Report Score of 425

Manage Your Finances to Rebuild Your Credit

If you decide to apply for one of the unsecured cards listed above, make sure you have a plan for repaying what you spend.

Unsecured credit cards for people with bad credit charge more interest than secured credit cards. So the sooner you pay, the less you’ll have to spend.

Before you apply for a credit card, take a look at your current finances and try to do everything on this short checklist:

  • Pay down revolving balances
  • Pay off debts that you can
  • Fix errors you find in your credit report

You may not be able to clear up all these items, but if you can only focus on one issue, it should be to pay off debt. Most credit cards for people with bad credit won’t approve applicants with recent delinquencies.

How to Get a Credit Card with Bad Credit:

Now that you’ve taken the first step, let’s dive into how to apply for and get approved for one of these cards.

Another important thing to remember when building credit is to always pay your bill in full and on-time. Doing so will allow you to avoid interest charges.

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