How to Increase Your Credit Limit With American Express
Getting an Amex credit line increase is possible. If you don’t qualify for an automatic increase, you may consider asking for one on your own.
A credit limit increase (CLI) on your Amex credit card comes with more spending power, and it gives you the means to maintain a low credit utilization ratio. While Amex may automatically increase your credit limit, you can also request one online or over the phone.
Using your card sensibly for a few months before your request increases the odds of approval. Not all credit limit increase requests with Amex result in hard credit pulls, and this is something you may find out in advance. If Amex denies your request, you can ask again for a credit increase. However, it’s best to take the time to fix the problem/s that resulted in the denied request first. Getting a new credit card is also an option.
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Amex may automatically increase your card’s credit limit if you use it responsibly.
If Amex does not offer an automatic increase, you may request one on your own.
You need to wait at least 60 days from account opening to request a credit limit increase.
How to Increase Your Credit Limit With American Express
Amex offers credit limit increases to its personal and small business credit cardholders. In some instances, it increases the credit limits of cards on its own. If you don't get an automatic CLI, it does not mean you don't qualify for one. To find out if you do, you may submit a request online or over the phone.
File a Request Online via Your American Express Online Account
To begin, you need to log in to your account via the American Express website. The next step is to choose the card for which you want an increase. Navigate to "Account Services" and then to "Card Management." This is where you will see the "Increase Your Credit Limit" option.
When you move past this stage, Amex asks you for your desired credit limit and your annual income (which you’ll need to verify). Once you submit your request, you might find out Amex’s decision right away, or you might have to wait for a few days.
Use your American Express credit card regularly and responsibly because Amex might reject your request if you don’t use your card often enough.
Call American Express to Request a Credit Limit Increase
You can request a credit limit increase by calling the number on the back of your Amex credit card or 1-800-528-4800 (for personal cards). Once you call, expect to answer questions about why you want the increase and your income, employment status and mortgage/rent payments. Keeping a few simple tips in mind before you make the call might increase the odds of approval.
- If you’ve made your payments on time, are a long-standing customer or are receiving a hike in salary, highlight those points.
- Ask for an increase that’s no more than 25% of your card’s existing limit.
- If you need an increase on a particular card, offer to move its balance to a different card (existing or new).
- Be well-mannered throughout the call.
American Express might carry out a hard or a soft credit inquiry when you request a CLI, depending on the specifics of your case. As a result, if you’re worried about the effect that a possible hard pull might have on your credit score, you might want to find this out by speaking with an Amex representative over the phone. If Amex carries out a hard inquiry, it will access your credit report from one of the top three credit bureaus in the country.
You may qualify for a temporary credit limit increase if you have an upcoming large purchase by calling Amex customer support.
Tell the customer service representative you're speaking with why you deserve the credit limit increase instead of why you need it. Reasons may include receiving a promotion or a hike in pay, an improvement in your credit score, or being a responsible and long-standing Amex card user.
While the customer service representative you're speaking with might immediately inform you of the decision, some people have to wait for a few days to find out.
You may contact an Amex customer service representative in different ways.
- You may call the number on the back of your card.
- Personal cardholders may call American Express at 1-800-528-4800.
- Small business cardholders may call 1-800-492-3344.
- You may send a message via Facebook or Twitter.
Open a New American Express Account/Credit Card
You may add to your overall credit limit by getting a new American Express credit card. Once this happens, you may expect to see your credit utilization ratio — which refers to the amount of credit you’ve used from your total available credit — improve.
Consider this example. You have two credit cards, the combined credit limit of which stands at $10,000. Of this, you’ve used $4,000. This means your credit utilization ratio is 40%. From the credit score point of view, it should be 30% or lower. If your new card comes with a $4,000 credit limit, your total credit limit increases to $14,000. When this happens, and with no newly added debt, your credit utilization ratio drops to around 28.5%.
Applying for a new Amex card results in a hard credit inquiry, and this causes your credit score to drop slightly. However, the impact is typically short-term if you manage your credit responsibly.
Types of American Express Credit Cards
American Express gives individuals and business owners different types of credit cards from which to choose. These include rewards cards, cash back cards, 0% APR cards, airline cards, hotel cards, non-co-branded travel cards and no-annual-fee cards. Amex also offers several cards that don't charge any foreign transaction fees.
The credit limit that applies on your new Amex credit card depends on your income, employment status, creditworthiness and any card-specific limitations.
American Express Credit Cards
Amex follows a few rules when reviewing applications for new cards and how often you may earn welcome bonuses.
- You may have up to five American Express credit cards at any given time. This limit includes both personal and small business credit cards but does not apply to charge cards or corporate credit cards.
- The 1 in 5 rule implies that Amex will not approve your application for more than one credit card in a five-day period.
- The 2 in 90 rule suggests that Amex will not approve more than two credit card applications within a 90-day period.
- To minimize instances of credit card churning, Amex lets you earn a welcome bonus through any of its cards only once. If you currently use or have used a specific Amex card, you cannot earn a welcome bonus by applying for it again.
>> More: Best Amex Credit Cards for Travel
Most banks have a maximum total credit limit for each customer. If you are unable to get approved for an increase because you are at your limit, ask if you can transfer a portion of your credit limit from another American Express card that you have. — Lee Huffman, credit card expert at BaldThoughts.com
Amex’s Automatic Credit Limit Increase
American Express automatically increases the credit limits of cardholders who demonstrate responsible use of their cards by periodically reviewing account activity. These periodic reviews may occur as often as once every 6 to 12 months, although that frequency is not guaranteed, and you may have to request an increase to see if you are eligible to receive one.
People who receive automatic CLIs are usually those who make all their payments on time and have good or excellent credit scores. Paying off your balances in full or maintaining a low credit utilization ratio might also work in your favor. However, there is no guarantee of receiving an increase no matter how well you handle your credit.
Ask for a Balance Transfer
If you wish to boost the credit line of a specific Amex credit card with the aim of using it more often, you may consider transferring all or part of its balance to another card. While you may transfer the balance to an existing card, you might also have the option of transferring it to a new balance transfer card. These cards come with 0% APR offers on balance transfers for varied time periods.
Carrying out a balance transfer to a new card might have a slightly negative short-term effect on your credit score because applications for new credit typically result in hard inquiries. In addition, getting a new card might bring down the average age of your credit accounts, which may also ding your credit score. However, these slight dips are easy to overcome in a short time if you maintain responsible credit habits.
What helps is a new card will add to your overall available credit limit. This may improve your credit score by lowering your credit utilization ratio.
>> More: Balance Transfer vs. Personal Loan
What Are the Benefits of Having a Higher Credit Limit?
The benefits that might come your way through an approved Amex credit limit increase request include higher spending power and an improvement in your credit score. However, you may expect positive results only if you properly manage your credit.
Higher purchasing power
If Amex approves your CLI request, you get more spending power. When this happens, you get more freedom to use your card while still maintaining a desirable credit utilization ratio.
Improved credit score
A higher credit limit on your Amex card increases your total available credit limit. Adding to your overall credit limit without incurring additional debt helps reduce your credit utilization ratio, which, in turn, leads to an improvement in your credit score.
When Should I Request a Credit Limit Increase?
If it’s been at least 60 days since you received your Amex credit card, you may consider requesting a CLI. Bear in mind that Amex might look at your creditworthiness via a soft or hard credit pull when making a decision, so it’s better to check your credit report in advance. People with average credit scores might want to improve their scores before requesting credit limit increases because the odds of approval favor those with good or excellent credit scores.
If you’ve received a promotion at work or benefited from a hike in pay, your CLI request might warrant Amex’s attention. Conversely, Amex might decide to lower your credit limit if there’s been a dip in your income, as well as for a few other reasons.
Factors that Determine Credit Limit Increases or Decreases
- Hike in cardholder’s salary.
- Improvement in credit score.
- Low credit utilization ratio.
- On-time payments.
- Cardholder asks for a higher limit.
- Late or missed payments.
- High credit utilization ratio.
- Reduced income.
- Drop in credit score.
- Negative inferences in a credit report.
- Infrequent use of the card.
- You’re a victim of identity theft.
Take a close look at your finances and your ability to manage debt before you request a CLI. It’s essential to steer clear of maintaining revolving balances in your account from one billing cycle to the next, failing which you might end up paying a tidy sum as interest charges. Unfortunately, around half of all American credit card users don’t pay their balances off in full each month.
Reminders Before Requesting a Credit Limit Increase
Keep in mind that American Express requires you to meet some eligibility criteria if you hope to get a credit limit increase. As a result, it’s best to look at a few aspects before moving forward with your request. Asking yourself a few questions will also help you determine how American Express might view your request.
Amex Credit Limit Increase Rules
Your account needs to be at least 60 days old before you may request a CLI.
You’ve not received a CLI from Amex in the last six months.
You make on-time payments and pay your balances off in full or have a low credit utilization ratio.
What Is My Current Credit Score?
Knowing your credit score gives you some indication of whether or not you should move forward with your CLI request. American Express makes available the MyCredit Guide for its credit cardholders and non-Amex customers. This online platform gives you access to your VantageScore by TransUnion for free. Plus, many other credit score review sites also allow you to view your FICO score for free.
If you have an excellent VantageScore score of 781 or higher, Amex is more likely to approve your CLI request. People with good scores of 661 to 780 also stand a good chance. If your credit score is 660 or lower, you might want to move forward with your request after taking steps to improve your score.
Some ways in which you can improve your credit score include:
- Making all your payments on time (affects payment history).
- Paying down your balances as quickly as possible (affects credit utilization ratio).
- Not applying for new credit often (affects recent activity).
- Not closing old credit card accounts (affects the length of credit history).
What Is My Credit Utilization?
Your credit utilization ratio refers to the amount of credit you’ve used from your total credit limit and should ideally be below 30%. While you may expect Amex to look at this number when you request a CLI, it might also consider the specific card’s credit utilization ratio. For example, if the card you’re requesting a CLI for has a credit limit of $10,000 and you’ve used $8,000, Amex may deny your request. Even if you’re unable to pay off your balances in full each month, you should aim to lower your card’s credit utilization ratio to below 30% before asking for that CLI.
Check your overall credit utilization ratio by listing all your credit cards as well as their credit limits and current outstanding balances in a spreadsheet.
Learn more: How to Calculate Your Credit Utilization Ratio
How Much of a Credit Increase Should I Get?
When you request a credit limit increase, American Express will ask you how much of an increase you want. Ideally, you should limit your CLI request to no more than 25% of your existing limit. If your card's current credit limit is $20,000, aim for a revised limit of $25,000. If you, on the other hand, ask Amex to double your card's limit, the possibility of it denying your request increases.
What to Do if the Request Is Denied
American Express may reject your credit limit increase request because of factors like your income, credit score or account history. If this happens, you may call Amex's customer service to ask for more details regarding the reasoning. If you feel it might have rejected your request in error, you may consider asking for a review.
Once you find out why Amex rejected your request, you can take corrective measures to rectify the problem/s. Then, you can resubmit your request. Following a few simple steps might help increase the odds of success the second time around.
- Improve your credit score.
- Use the card to make most of your purchases.
- Pay off your balances in full or keep low outstanding balances.
- Update any increase in income by logging in to your Amex account.
- Transfer the card's balance to a different card.
- Apply for a new card.
Why Did My Credit Limit Decrease?
Amex may decide to lower your card's credit limit if you don't use it regularly. This might also be the case if your credit score drops significantly, you've made multiple late payments, you use a considerable percentage of your credit limit or there's been a dip in your income.
Amex might also decrease your credit limit for reasons beyond your control. For example, data released by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau shows that the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in people with the highest credit scores experiencing declined credit limits. In contrast, credit limits remained largely the same for people with lower credit scores.
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About the Author
- American Express. "Contact Us." Accessed March 23, 2022.
- Al Jazeera Media Network. "Plastic fantastic: Americans are racking up credit card debt." Accessed March 23, 2022.
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "Credit card limits are rising for most groups after stagnating during the pandemic." Accessed March 24, 2022.
Editorial Disclosure: Opinions, reviews, analyses and recommendations are the author’s alone and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity.
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