How to Earn a Credit Limit Increase

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 explains how to apply for a credit limit increase, provides tips for getting that increase and offers 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 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.

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 its 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’s 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 limit, 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

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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

Author: Greg Knotts

Greg Knotts is the VP of Marketing, CDMP, at Continental Finance Company, LLC in Wilmington, DE. A persuasive and results driven leader, Greg has more than 20 years experience in marketing, operations, relationship management, sales and business development in the credit card industry. He spearheads the Continental Finance Blog and leads the company mission to help cardholders everywhere rebuild and restore their credit through the variety of educational resources, articles and graphics the blog provides each week.