Does Requesting a Credit Increase Hurt Your Credit Score?
Requesting a credit limit increase might hurt your credit score slightly in the short term, but it can be beneficial in the long run.
Depending on whether you request a credit limit increase on your own and the guidelines your credit card issuer follows, you might see a slight dip in your credit score. If your card issuer offers a credit limit increase without you asking for it, your score may go up as your credit utilization goes down. You may consider asking for a credit limit increase if there’s an improvement in your finances and/or if you have good or excellent credit. If your request is denied, determine why it might have happened, and don’t ask for another increase until you take corrective measures.
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A credit line increase request that results in a hard pull hurts your credit score slightly.
If your card provider offers a credit line increase on its own, there is no hard pull.
You may increase the odds of approval by maintaining responsible credit habits.
How Requesting a Credit Limit Affects Your Score
Anyone wondering how to get a higher credit limit should take into account the effect it might have on their credit score. This is because it may result in your issuer checking your credit reports, and it will also have a bearing on your credit utilization ratio.
How Your Credit Score Is Computed
The calculation of your credit score, be it FICO or VantageScore, takes the same factors into account, and each aspect is assigned a percentage. While both scores fall between 300 and 850, the percentages assigned to different factors vary slightly with both models. With the FICO model, new credit accounts for 10%, the amounts owed for 30%, your payment history for 35%, the length of your credit history for 15% and your credit mix for 10%.
When you request a credit limit increase, your lender might conduct a hard inquiry or a soft inquiry on your credit report. In case of a hard pull, it is regarded as an application for new credit and brings your credit score down by a few points temporarily. If you have good or excellent credit and keep your finances on track, the impact will wear off within a few months.
What Is Credit Utilization and How Does It Affect My Credit Score?
Credit utilization ratio refers to the amount of credit you’ve used from your total available revolving credit. While your credit utilization ratio accounts for 30% in the calculation of your FICO score, it accounts for 20% in your VantageScore score calculation.
Consider this example. You have three credit cards with a combined credit limit of $15,000, and you’ve used $10,000. This puts your credit utilization ratio at 67%. From your credit score point of view, this number should be at 30% or lower. As a result, you’ll ideally need to bring down the amount you owe to below $4,500.
When you get a credit limit increase on a credit card, you may expect an immediate improvement in your credit utilization ratio because your total available credit increases. Let’s carry on with the same example of having three cards with a combined limit of $15,000 and a combined outstanding balance of $10,000. If a credit limit increase on all three cards causes your combined limit to increase to $30,000 and the outstanding balance remains the same, your credit utilization ratio will reduce from 67% to 33%.
When Is the Best Time to Request a Credit Limit Increase?
While a request for a credit limit increase might have a slightly negative effect on your credit score, you may want to consider asking for one in different circumstances.
Salary increase/pay raise
If you’ve received a recent hike in your salary, you may consider asking your card issuer for an increase in your card’s credit limit. This is because your issuer may then look at you as someone who has the means to afford and pay for higher spending.
If you have good or excellent credit, your lender is more likely to look at you as someone who is prudent when handling debt. This increases the possibility that your request will be approved.
Solid track record
Lenders look at how you have been managing your debt before approving your request for a credit limit increase. If you’ve steered clear of missed or late payments so far, it shows that you are likely to keep making your payments on time even in the future. As a result, your lender is more likely to approve your request.
Not applied for new credit in a while
Getting approved for a credit limit increase might make sense if you have not applied for new credit in a while, especially if you’ve been managing your credit well. Having applied for multiple cards and having requested multiple credit limit increases in the recent past, on the other hand, may have the opposite effect.
If none of these apply in your case, you may want to consider reducing your debt and improving your credit score before requesting a credit limit increase.
How to Request a Credit Limit Increase
It is worth considering if you might qualify for a credit limit increase before you request one. This way, you minimize the possibility of your request being denied. Once you feel you’re in a good position, you may move forward with your request.
How to Become Eligible for a Credit Limit Increase
Different aspects require your attention if you wish to increase the approval odds of your credit limit increase request. For starters, it’s important that you’ve been making all your payments toward the card in question on time. You may also expect your card issuer to go through your credit report when you request a credit limit increase, either through a hard pull or a soft pull. In both cases, your lender will get an indication of how well you manage your other debt.
If you don’t have good or excellent credit, work on improving your credit score before requesting a credit limit increase. You may do this by making your monthly bill payments on time, bringing down your credit utilization ratio and not applying for new forms of credit in quick succession. Fortunately, improving your credit is possible if you follow the right measures, and this is true even if you’re experiencing poverty.
How to Request a Credit Limit Increase
Credit limit increases happen in two ways. In some cases, credit card issuers automatically increase credit limits. This is typically the case when cardholders demonstrate good credit behavior. The other way is to request an increase on your own. Depending on your card provider, you might be able to submit your request online, over the phone or in person.
When you ask for a credit limit increase, your card issuer might ask you to provide information surrounding your employment status, income and monthly mortgage or rent payments to determine if it should approve your request. It might also take a look at your credit report. If you’re unsure about whether your card provider will carry out a hard or a soft pull, all you have to do is call and ask.
Remember that credit card providers don’t shy away from increasing credit limits as long as they know that borrowers have the ability to make repayments.
- Card IssuerCredit Limit Rules
Capital One states that requesting a credit limit increase
does not lead to a hard inquiry on your credit report.
You may request a Capital One credit limit increase
online or over the phone. Capital One asks you for your
desired credit limit, and you also need to provide
details about your employment status, income and
mortgage/rent payments. Depending on the information
you provide, Capital One might approve your request
straightaway, although it may take up to 30 days.
If you request a Chase credit limit increase on your own,
you may expect a hard inquiry on your credit report.
Chase lets you request a credit limit increase only
over the phone.
You may request an American Express credit limit increase
via Amex's online platform or over the phone,
provided your account has been active for 60 days or more.
While most such requests with American Express do
not result in hard pulls, you may want to confirm if this
might be any different in your case by speaking
with a customer service representative.
You may apply for a credit limit increase on your Citi credit
card online or over the phone. Citi gives you the
option of choosing between a permanent and a temporary
credit line increase. This card issuer suggests that
it might pull your credit report if you request a credit limit
increase, but it does not specify if the pull will be
hard or soft. As a result, it’s best to speak with a Citi
customer service representative to confirm.
U.S. Bank lets you request a credit line increase through
its website, its app and over the phone. You will need to
provide income- and housing-related information in your
application. U.S. Bank carries out hard and soft pulls
when dealing with such requests, so it’s best to
confirm this with a customer service representative.
What to Do if Credit Limit Increase Request Is Denied
Your card provider will consider different factors when reviewing your request for a credit line increase, and if you don’t meet one or more of the card issuer’s criteria, your request may be denied. Common reasons why a credit card issuer might reject a credit limit increase request include:
- You have not held the credit card for long enough.
- You have poor or average creditworthiness.
- You have a high credit utilization ratio.
- You’ve missed one or payments on any of your cards in the preceding 12 months.
- You’ve been making only minimum monthly payments for a while.
- You’ve maintained a high outstanding balance for some time.
- You’ve applied for new credit multiple times in the recent past.
- You do not meet minimum income requirements.
- You use the card minimally.
- You’ve requested a credit limit increase recently.
Your lender might send you an adverse action letter if it denies your request for a credit limit increase, in full or partially. This letter gives you an indication of why your lender rejected your application. You may call your card provider to find out if you have any other options, such as qualifying for a new card.
If your card issuer fails to provide any options, you may consider looking at what other card providers have to offer. What helps is you may even look for good cards based on whether you have bad credit or fair/average credit and wish to improve your credit score.
Even if your credit score takes a temporary dip when requesting a credit limit increase, that is OK. Your overall credit score will be higher if you're approved because your credit utilization ratio will improve without having to pay down your balances. — Lee Huffman, credit card expert at BaldThoughts.com
Other Questions You May Have About Credit Limit Increases
Now that you know what effect a request for a credit limit increase can have on your credit score, determine if you wish to move forward based on your existing creditworthiness and financial situation. If you feel you might not be eligible, you may benefit by improving your credit first.
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About the Author
- FICO. "What's in my FICO Scores?." Accessed March 3, 2022.
- Capital One. "Credit line increase questions." Accessed March 3, 2022.
- American Express. "How do I request a credit line or credit limit increase?." Accessed March 3, 2022.
- U.S. Bank. "How do I request a limit increase on a personal credit card or line of credit?." Accessed March 3, 2022.
- Wells Fargo. "Credit Card Questions." Accessed March 3, 2022.
- ABC7. "Millions see credit card limits cut and accounts closed during COVID-19 pandemic." Accessed March 3, 2022.
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