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This article was last updated Feb 23, 2013, but some terms and conditions may have changed or are no longer available. For the most accurate and up to date information please consult the terms and conditions found on the issuer website.
The spending limit on your credit card is the amount of money you can charge to it at any given time. Some credit card companies offer higher limits than others, depending on how they assess your credit situation. The more they trust you, the more money they will offer on your card. You just have to be able to prove that you can handle that kind of responsibility.
Having high credit card limits can get you into financial trouble if you can’t manage to pay them back in a timely manner. If you keep your balances low at all times though, extra money can increase your credit score by decreasing your debt to availability ratio. Long story short, if you can keep your money in check, getting extra funds on your credit card is never a bad thing. Here are some tips to help you increase your credit card’s spending limits.
Use Your Credit Card…Regularly
The only way you are going to convince the card company that you need more money is if you frequently use your card and pay it back. Years ago I did this with a Capital One card I had, but they told me I had to essentially max out my card for three months in a row before I could qualify. I always paid it before the due date to avoid late charges and interest, but spending money like that showed them that I needed access to more funds. Stop paying for things in cash and put them on your card instead. Then just use the cash to pay your card balance in a few days.
If you keep up with this system, you will actually be able to build your score while you increase your chances for more credit. This is how I got a really high credit score really early on in life. Granted, I fell off the wagon later down the road, but the process works, I promise!
Build Your Credit Score
When you request an increase in your spending limit, you essentially put in a new application for your existing credit card. The provider you work with is going to look over your credit score and determine if you can be trusted with more money. If your score is higher then than it is now, you will have the best possible chance of getting your increase approved. Following the tip above is a start, but you need to find other ways to improve your FICO score. The better effort you make, the more money you can have.
Keep in mind that most changes in your credit take 30 to 90 days to appear. If you wait until a week before you reapply, you may not have any effective changes on your credit report. Start working on your score now, and you’ll be prepared when the application time comes.
Make Your Payments On Time
Late payments are a sign of poor money management. It doesn’t matter what the truth is behind your reason for being late. You failed to abide by the credit card company’s schedule, and therefore you seem less reliable in repaying your debts. It’s important to make payments on your credit card before they become due so that you can show your provider that you know what you are doing. Try to make money than the minimum monthly payments as well, just to prove you can handle a large limit. If you continuously pay your balance down to zero, the creditor will have no issues in giving you more money.
When you think you are fully prepared to get a higher spending limit, just ask for one. Call up your credit card company and tell them you would like to increase your credit limit. You can do this with a regular representative on the phone and he or she will be able to help you out. The odds of getting an increase aren’t going to be very high if you have a high balance on the card and if you don’t make regular payments that are on time. They will probably ask for a reason why; give them a good reason such as wanting to help your credit score by improving your credit utilization, state that you charge “x” amount per month and the higher line will help with that, etc. If everything works out the way it is supposed to, you’ll soon have more money to use on your credit card.
The updated limit may take 24 hours to fully process, so don’t expect to have more to use right away. Once you see the changes go into effect, follow the same steps above to get an even higher limit in the future. Try to wait at least 6 months each time you do this before reapplying. That will give you enough time to make some solid changes in your credit. After that, just lather, rinse, repeat!
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.
*The content in this article is accurate at the publishing date, and may be subject to changes per the card issuer.