Tips on How to Increase Your Credit Limit
Learn more about credit lines, tips on getting a higher credit limit and when may be a good time to ask
If you’ve been using a credit card responsibly, you might be wondering about a credit limit increase—sometimes called a credit line increase.
And while there are no guarantees, there are some steps you can take—or keep taking—to help your chances of qualifying for a higher limit. In this article, you’ll learn how credit lines work and tips on when to consider asking for an increase.
What Is a Credit Limit?
Your credit limit is the maximum amount of money a lender allows you to spend on a credit card. As you use your card, your available credit goes down. When you make payments, your available credit goes back up—minus any fees or other charges.
Credit limits are set by lenders. And there are a variety of factors that could determine your credit limit.
Here are some potential factors lenders may consider:
- Payment history: Do you pay your bills, including monthly credit card bills, on time? Have you ever filed for bankruptcy or had a debt sent to collections?
- Current accounts: How many accounts do you have open? And what kinds of loans do you have open?
- Account history: How long have you had your current accounts? Have you applied for a bunch of new credit recently?
- Debt: How much do you owe? How much credit are you using? How much do you have available?
- Income: Do you make enough money to cover your monthly bill?
Options for Increasing Your Credit Limit
There are a couple types of credit limit increases:
- Customer-initiated credit limit increases: A customer requests additional credit from a lender.
- Lender-initiated credit limit increases: A lender offers additional credit to a customer.
In general, additional credit is usually offered or given to customers who have shown responsible financial habits and behaviors over time.
You can learn about how Capital One handles credit limit increases in this article about Capital One’s credit policies.
Tips on Getting a Higher Credit Limit
Here are some things to keep in mind if you’re interested in a credit limit increase:
- Keep your financial and personal information up to date: Federal regulations require that credit card companies use up-to-date income information when considering an account for a credit limit increase. So check your account details at least once a year to make sure they’re up to date. Your lender may want to know information like your total annual income, employment status, and monthly mortgage or rent payment.
- Pay monthly statements on time: Paying loans on time is one way to improve your payment history. It’s one indication that you’re using credit responsibly. If you have trouble staying organized, consider automatic payments or electronic reminders to help you avoid missing payments.
- Pay more than the minimum on your credit card bills: Even if you don’t pay your full credit card balance, try to make more than the minimum payment when you can. It’s a good rule of thumb no matter what, because it can help you save money on credit card interest.
- Review your credit report for errors: You can get free copies of your credit reports from each of the three major credit reporting agencies. Visit AnnualCreditReport.com to learn how. And take some time to make sure your information is current and up to date. If you find a mistake, take steps to correct the error on your report.
- Monitor your credit: You can use a tool like CreditWise from Capital One to keep an eye on your credit, too. With CreditWise, you can access your TransUnion® credit report and weekly VantageScore® 3.0 credit score—without hurting your score. You can even explore the potential impact of your financial decisions before you make them with CreditWise’s credit score simulator. And CreditWise is free for everyone, even if you’re not a Capital One cardholder.
When to Ask for a Credit Limit Increase
When exactly you should ask for a credit limit increase is up to you. And it depends on your own unique circumstances.
Policies for credit limit increases differ from issuer to issuer. At Capital One, for example, accounts that have only been open a few months are generally too new to be considered. If an account has received an increase or decrease in the past few months, it typically won’t be considered either.
If you are eligible for a credit limit increase, your request may be approved immediately. But sometimes requests can take a few days to review. And sometimes your issuer may ask for additional information before it can approve your request. Once your request has been reviewed, you’ll find out whether you’ve been approved for an increase through an email, online notification or letter.
How Much Should I Request for an Increased Credit Limit?
The amount you request is a personal decision. Whether you’re looking for extra flexibility to help with an unexpected emergency, a large purchase or everyday expenses, examining your goals and your financial situation can help guide your request. Just make sure the amount you request is one you’re comfortable with paying off without overextending yourself.
Keep in mind: Your request for a credit limit increase could be approved by your issuer for a lower amount than what you ask for.
Learn More About Credit Limit Increases
Looking for more information about the ins and outs of credit limit increases? Check out Capital One’s credit limit increase FAQs.
Government and private relief efforts vary by location and may have changed since this article was published. Consult a financial adviser or the relevant government agencies and private lenders for the most current information.
We hope you found this helpful. Our content is not intended to provide legal, investment or financial advice or to indicate that a particular Capital One product or service is available or right for you. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, consider talking with a qualified professional.
Your CreditWise score is calculated using the TransUnion® VantageScore® 3.0 model, which is one of many scoring models used by lenders. It likely won’t be the same model your lender uses, but it is an accurate measure of your credit health. Alerts are based on changes to your TransUnion and Experian® credit reports and information we find on the dark web. Some monitoring and alerts may not be available to you if the information you enter at enrollment does not match the information in your file at one or more consumer reporting agencies or you do not have a file at one or more consumer reporting agencies. The tool is not guaranteed to detect all identity theft.
The CreditWise Simulator provides an estimate of your score change and does not guarantee how your score may change.