Woman checking her credit at the coffee shop.

Should I Increase My Credit Limit?

Andrew Dehan4-minute read
October 15, 2020

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Does increasing your credit limit affect your credit score? Are automatic credit limit increases possible? What else do you need to know before considering and requesting an increase in your credit limit?

The good news is, there are a lot of good answers to these questions. Here’s everything you need to know before requesting an increase in your credit card spending limit.

What Is A Credit Limit?

A credit limit is the maximum amount a cardholder can spend before having to pay off some of your total balance. It’s one of the biggest reasons your card might get denied during a transaction (i.e., “insufficient funds”).

Does Requesting An Increase In Credit Limit Affect Your Credit Score?

It can, either favorably or negatively (or both). Your credit limit is an important factor used to determine your credit score because it affects your credit utilization ratio, which is the percentage of the available credit you can use on any given card.

A lower utilization ratio is generally better for credit scores. Requesting credit increases, however, may trigger a hard pull on your credit report. Hard pulls are noted for up to 2 years on your account and can negatively affect your credit score for up to a year, according to FICO®.

When Should I Request An Increase In Credit Limit?

A good time for doing this is usually after receiving a raise in income or after reducing your monthly or annual housing expense. This is because lenders often consider both your income and monthly housing expenses before issuing more credit.

If you’re solely looking to improve your credit utilization ratio, applying for a new card with the possibility of a signup bonus might be a better option. That said, you can also improve your credit utilization with a higher credit increase to an existing card.

Am I A Good Candidate For A Credit Increase?

Yes, provided you’ve used and regularly paid your credit card bills on time over the last 6 to 12 months or you’ve recently received a pay increase. If you’re responsible with credit cards, you’re probably a good candidate.

If you’re bad with credit cards, you’ll likely be denied upon requesting a credit increase while potentially dinging your score further. On top of that, you’d just be digging yourself a bigger hole in the off chance an issuer grants you more credit.

To get an idea of your current credit score without negatively affecting it, you can check your credit score with all three major reporting agencies once per year with Annual Credit Report or once per month with TransUnion® via Rocket HomesSM.

How Can I Increase My Credit Limit?

There are two ways of doing this, according to CreditCards.com. The first is to wait for automatic credit card limit increases, which are often granted to responsible credit card users as frequently as every 6 or 12 months. You can increase your odds of receiving an automatic credit limit increase by paying your bills on time and using your card frequently, which generates higher fees for the issuing bank. In other words, if you don’t use your card often or have missed a payment, you probably won’t get an automatic credit limit increase.

The second way is to request a limit increase with your credit card bank. This is almost always done through a short online request form on your account page or a brief phone call to the issuing bank. In many cases, simply asking for a credit increase will likely get you one, particularly if you make a good income and your account is in good standing.

How Can I Request A Limit Increase With Specific Banks?

The following big banks let you increase your credit limit online but usually not until 6 to 12 months after you became a cardmember. In most cases, you’ll need to provide your requested increase limit, monthly/annual income and monthly housing payment: 

  • How to increase credit limit with Bank of America: If you’re eligible for a credit limit increase, sign into your credit card account, select the “Information & Services” tab and click the link that directs you to the credit line increase page. Phone: (800) 432-1000
  • How to increase credit limit with Capital One: They allow credit limit increase requests online at any time, though they generally decline requests from accounts that haven’t been open for at least 6 months. Phone: (877) 383-4802
  • How to increase credit limit with Citi: After logging into your account, click “Account Management” followed by “Request a Credit Line Increase” to file an online application. Phone: (800) 374-9700
  • How to increase credit limit with U.S. Bank: Log into your account and then select “Self Service” under the tab labeled “Customer Service.” Proceed to “Manage Your Account” and locate the credit limit increase option. Phone: (800) 872-2657
  • How to increase credit limit with American Express: Click the “Increase your credit limit” link in the “Account Services” section after logging into your account. Phone: (800) 528-4800

The following banks require you to call the number on the back of your card to increase your limit. In most cases, you’ll need to provide your requested increase limit, monthly/annual income and monthly housing payment:

  • How to increase credit limit with Chase: Although they used to allow online requests, you must now call to increase your credit limit with Chase. Phone: (800) 432-3117
  • How to increase credit limit with Wells Fargo: Every account must call to increase credit limits. Phone: (800) 869-3557
  • How to increase credit limit with Bank of America: If the online option wasn’t available for your account, call them. Phone: (800) 432-1000
  • How to increase credit limit with U.S. Bank: If the online option wasn’t available for your account, call them. Phone: (800) 872-2657

Conclusion

Increasing your credit limit is a lot easier than it sounds, especially if your card is in good standing or you recently received a raise. Since it can affect your credit score either positively or negatively (or in some cases both), requests for an increase in your credit limit should be seriously considered, especially if you’ve had bad credit in the past.

Rocket HQSM has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rocket HQ and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

Andrew Dehan

Andrew Dehan is a professional writer who writes about real estate and homeownership. He is also a published poet, musician and nature-lover. He lives in metro Detroit with his wife, daughter and dogs.