How to Get a Higher Credit Limit

While you might qualify for an automatic credit limit increase, asking for a higher limit is also an option.

Advertising & Editorial DisclosureLast Updated: 11/3/2022
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Last Updated: 11/3/2022

Credit card issuers reduced consumers’ access to debt during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, credit limit increases managed to reach pre-pandemic levels after mid-2021. This came as good news for several borrowers who were looking for higher limits to keep up with expenses.

Getting a credit line increase gives you access to more funds and brings with it the potential to improve your credit score. However, not using your credit properly can have the opposite effect too.

Some credit card providers offer credit line increases to borrowers based on how well they manage their credit as well as their creditworthiness. But this typically only happens six or more months after issuing a new card. If your card issuer doesn’t offer an automatic increase, requesting one on your own is usually an option. Alternatively, you can also apply for a new card.

Bear in mind that card issuers all have different processes for granting credit limit increases. We provide you with all the information you need to submit a request.

On This Page
MoneyGeek’s Takeaways

annualFee

Most leading credit card issuers periodically review accounts for automatic credit limit increases.

creditCard2

You can typically request a credit limit increase on your own six months after getting a new card.

badCredit

A dip in income, a drop in credit score or making late payments may lead to a lower credit limit.

How to Increase Your Credit Limit

If you’ve held a credit card for some time and used it responsibly, the card’s issuer might offer an automatic increase in credit limit. If this doesn’t happen, you can submit a request on your own. Not all card providers follow the same guidelines, though. So knowing how to go about the process ahead of time is helpful.

Increase Your Credit Limit Automatically

Credit card issuers regularly will look at their customer profiles and history to see who they’re able to give credit limit increases to. Factors that a card issuer typically considers when offering a credit line increase include the age of your credit card account, payment history, spending patterns, credit score and income. Most card providers require your account to be open for at least six months before reviewing it for a higher credit limit.

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MONEYGEEK EXPERT TIP

Update your income information with your credit card issuer online or over the phone to improve the odds of qualifying for an automatic credit limit increase.

Request a Credit Limit Increase

Depending on your credit card issuer, you might be able to submit your request for a credit line increase via its website or over the phone. Some let you submit requests through their mobile apps too.

While making a phone call to submit a request might seem tedious, it gives you an opportunity to highlight specific aspects of your case that may improve your chances of success. Keeping your latest income details close at hand is a good idea. In addition, you’ll want to take a close look at your credit score and credit utilization ratio before submitting your request. The latter refers to the amount of credit you’ve used from your total available credit and should ideally be below 30%.

Apply for a New Credit Card

One way to increase your overall credit limit is to apply for a new credit card. The limit that a card issuer assigns to your card depends on multiple factors, including your creditworthiness, income and the card itself.

Applying for a new card may cause your credit score to drop by a few points because card issuers carry our hard credit pulls to determine the level of risk you pose as a borrower. However, many card issuers let you check if you might qualify for a card by offering pre-approvals that require just soft pulls. Examples include American Express, Capital One, Chase, Discover and Wells Fargo.

Getting a regular credit card without a hard pull is not possible, although this is not the case with secured cards. For example, you may apply for the OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card without worrying about a hard pull.

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Remember that credit card issuers have different rules for how often you may apply for a new card. Amex’s 5/90 rule lets you apply for just one card through any five-day period and no more than two cards in a 90-day period. What this basically means is Amex will not approve your application for a new card if it's approved an application for a different card in the last five days, or for two cards in the last 90 days. Chase’s 5/24 rule prohibits you from applying for a new card if you’ve been approved for five or more cards through any issuer in the last 24 months.

If you plan to apply for a new card, weigh your options and consider your specific requirements. This means looking at your new card as more than just a source of a higher credit limit. For example, a balance transfer card can help you save on interest charges by transferring debt from existing high-interest cards. Alternatively, you might benefit by getting a no-annual-fee card that offers rewards. In any case, it’s important to compare your options so that you get to pick the best from any given segment.

MoneyGeek reviewed the best credit cards for


Credit Limit Increase by Credit Issuer

You typically need to wait six months after opening your account to get a credit limit increase, although that's not always the case. How you submit your request may also vary from one card provider to the next.

  • Credit Card
    How to Increase Your Credit Limit
  • You may request an increase on your own 60 days after opening your account. You can either request this online or in the mail.

  • Bank for America may consider your account for a credit limit increase six months after account opening. You will also need to wait at least that long if you wish to submit a request on your own. You may submit your request online or over the phone.

  • Capital One considers the age of your account and how well you’ve managed credit before it offers an automatic credit line increase (which you may decline by calling customer support). It does not explicitly state how long cardholders need to wait before they can submit requests on their own, although it mentions that cards opened “within the past several months” will not qualify. Once eligible, you may submit a request online or over the phone.

  • You may qualify for an automatic Chase credit limit increase 6 to 12 months from account opening. To submit a request on your own, you'll ideally want to wait for at least six months after receiving your card. Chase does not accept online credit limit increase requests, so you'll need to initiate the process over the phone.

  • Citi usually reviews accounts for automatic credit line increases only six months after account opening. While there is no fixed time frame for requesting an increase on your own, you'll have the best chance of success if you wait at least six months after receiving your card. You can submit a request over the phone or through its website/mobile app. Citi also offers temporary credit limit increases that stay valid for 60 days.

What to Know Before Requesting an Increase

You'll want to consider a few different factors before requesting a credit limit increase. This is not just to increase the odds of your request's approval but also because these requests don’t turn out well in all cases.

Should I Increase My Credit Limit?

A higher credit limit comes with both benefits and potential drawbacks. Increasing your card's limit gives you more purchasing power and can help reduce your overall credit utilization ratio. For the latter to happen, you'll need to use only a fraction of your total available credit.

One risk of getting a credit line increase is that it also increases your exposure to debt. If you end up borrowing more than you can repay in full each month, your outstanding balance incurs interest charges. Borrowing a significant portion of your total available credit harms your credit utilization ratio and, therefore, your credit score. Missing or making late payments will also hurt your credit score.

How Much Should I Request?

Unless specified by your card issuer, standard practice suggests you should ask for an increase that does not exceed your card's existing credit limit by 25%. For example, if you have a card with a $10,000 credit limit, you may request your issuer to increase it by $2,500 more.

When to Request a Credit Limit Increase

Simply waiting six months from the time you receive a credit card is not enough to request a credit limit increase. This is because you need to account for other factors too.

1

Payment History

Making all your monthly payments on time is crucial if you want your credit card issuer to approve your request. If you’ve missed making a payment or made a late payment during the last six months, you might want to wait a little while before submitting your request.

2

Credit utilization

You should expect your credit card issuer to look at your credit utilization ratio when deciding if it should approve your credit limit increase request. While your overall credit utilization ratio should be below 30%, this should also be the case for the card in question.

3

Credit score

If your credit score has improved significantly since you received your card, you can expect the card issuer to view your credit limit increase request favorably. The reverse holds true as well.

4

Annual salary and/or business income

Card issuers view an increase in income as a positive sign when determining if they should grant credit limit increases. A card issuer may reduce a card’s credit limit if it learns that there has been a noticeable dip in a cardholder’s income.

5

Mortgage or rental payments

Credit card providers like to know how much you spend toward rent or mortgage payments to determine if you’ll be able to keep making payments on time, especially since you may spend more when you have a higher credit limit.

6

New accounts

More often than not, you need to wait at least six months after receiving a new card before requesting a credit limit increase. American Express is an exception, given that it lets you submit a request in as little as 60 days from account opening.

7

Having secured credit cards

If you have a secured credit card, you might be able to increase your credit limit by increasing your deposit. This is typically possible up to a predetermined maximum amount. Some secured cards, such as the Capital One Platinum Secured Card, offer credit limit increases to cardholders who’ve been judicious with their credit use over a period of time.

Will Requesting a Credit Limit Increase Hurt my Credit Score?

The effect of a credit limit increase request on your credit score depends on your card’s issuer. Some credit card providers carry out hard credit inquiries when dealing with credit limit increase requests, whereas others make do with soft inquiries. If your card’s issuer performs a hard pull, your credit score will drop by a few points, but the effect is usually temporary if you have good habits. A soft pull has no such effect.

Credit limit increases with Capital One do not result in hard pulls. Chase, on the other hand, is prone to carrying out hard inquiries. While most such requests with American Express result in soft pulls, you might want to call and confirm in advance. Citi states that it might pull your report but does not specify if it carries out a hard or a soft pull, so it is recommended that you call and check before applying for an increase.

How long does it take to increase my credit limit?

It’s common for most credit card issuers to inform you of their decisions straightaway. Once this happens, you get access to the increased limit immediately. However, some issuers may take longer, especially in certain scenarios, in which case you might have to wait for up to a month.

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EXPERT TIP:

Do your best to regularly ask for credit limit increases. And if you do this with several credit cards, you will show the credit bureaus you can handle large credit limits responsibly. This can significantly help your credit score in the long run.

Brett Holzhauer, contributing expert for MoneyGeek

What to Do if Your Request Is Denied

A credit card issuer may deny a credit limit increase request for various reasons. These include not using the card often enough, a dip in income, a drop in credit score, late/missed payments and a high credit utilization ratio.

If a card issuer rejects your request, you should receive an adverse action notice via email or regular mail. Once you take remedial measures, you can consider asking for an increase again. Getting a new credit card or a personal loan is also an option.

Improve your Credit Score, Then Request Again

If a card issuer rejects your request for a higher credit limit because of your credit score, you’ll want to take steps to improve it before resubmitting your request. You can do this by making all your credit and utility payments on time, paying off your balances as quickly as possible, bringing your credit utilization down to under 30% and not applying for different forms of credit in quick succession.

Get a Balance Transfer or a Personal Loan

If you have high-interest credit card debt, a balance transfer credit card can help you pay that off without incurring interest charges through an intro 0% APR offer. These typically vary in duration from 12 to 21 months. Getting a new balance transfer card will add to your overall credit limit and may help reduce your credit utilization ratio.

A personal loan does not factor in your credit utilization ratio because it’s not a revolving form of credit. However, if you use a personal loan to consolidate credit card debt, you may expect an improvement in your credit utilization ratio upon partially or completely paying off your credit card balances.

The balance transfer credit card vs. personal loan comparison leans more in favor of the latter if you can’t pay off your debt within the time frames made available through 0% APR offers. A personal loan might also work well for you if you’re looking at getting a large sum.

  • Balance Transfer
    Personal Loan
  • How to Request

    Online, over the phone, in
    person

    Online, over the phone, in
    person

  • When to Use

    To repay credit card debt in
    12 to 21 months

    To consolidate debt that'll
    take longer to repay

  • Repayment Terms

    Repay the entire amount
    within the promo period to
    avoid interest charges

    Make fixed payments each
    month over the course of the
    loan term

  • Credit/Loan Amount Limits

    Typically up to a card's
    available credit limit

    Up to $100,000

  • APR Ranges

    0% with intro APR offers.
    A card's regular balance
    transfer APR is typically the
    same as its purchase APR

    3.22% to 35.99%

  • Other Fees

    Balance transfer fee: 3% to
    5% of the transferred amount

    Loan origination fee: Up to
    6% of the loan amount
    Prepayment penalty: Up to
    5% of the loan amount

Frequently Asked Questions About Credit Limit Increases

Next Steps

How to Increase Credit Limit by Issuer

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About the Author


Rajiv Baniwal has been writing about different financial topics for over 15 years. Meticulous in his research, he makes sure he provides accurate and up-to-date information. His areas of expertise include mortgages, personal loans, credit cards, insurance and international money transfers.


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