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How to increase your credit limit fast

The best way to increase your credit limit fast is to improve your credit score, but there are other tips, too.
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Written by Lena Borrelli, Contributing Writer on
credit card in hand, backlit

(Image: Shutterstock)

Sometimes an emergency will pop up that is beyond the current contents of your bank account. There is that trusty credit card, but what happens when your needs surpass your credit limit?

There are plenty of ways to increase your credit limit. All it takes is a little patience and strategy, and you can do it.

 We can help you improve your credit card and increase your credit limit with our expert tips. 

How do I increase my credit limit?

Before attempting to increase your credit limit, take these steps. 

1. Check your credit.

The first step is to check your credit. You cannot fix your credit score if you are not aware of it, so be sure to regularly check it -- especially when you plan to increase your credit limit. You can use many tools to check your credit score and even receive free notifications and updates.

2. Improve your credit utilization score.

Another important consideration is your credit utilization score. When you pay more than just the minimum required, you can successfully lower your debt-to-income ratio, making you a more attractive candidate for a credit limit increase. Be sure that your account details reflect your current information, including any changes to income.

3. File an official request.

Every credit card company has a different procedure for increasing your credit limit, but the details differ a bit from issuer to issuer. Most allow you to apply for a credit limit increase online via a simple form, but you may need to call a customer representative instead. The details should be available on the back of your credit card or via your account's online dashboard.

4. Consider another card.

Sometimes, the best bet is to simply apply for a new credit card. With a new card comes a new line of credit that may exceed what you currently have available on your other credit cards. You also may have an easier time obtaining a credit limit increase through a new credit card issuer that may be a little more understanding than your current issuer.

5. Check your timing.

Sometimes, card issuers will offer a special promotional APR that can make it an especially attractive time to increase your credit limit. However, if you have been making timely payments, it is very possible that your credit card issuer may contact you directly. When you show long-term, responsible use of your credit card, issuers are more likely to extend an offer of credit to increase the credit limit you already have.

What to consider when increasing your credit limit

As tempting as it may be to increase your credit line, there are some considerations to make, so you do not end up harming your credit in the process.

1. Make sure you can afford the new credit limit.

Just because a credit card issuer offers an extended line of credit, it is important to be sure that you can make the payments and afford the increase in fees.

2. Respond to lifestyle changes.

If you receive that big raise at work or have a big boost in credit, you could be a very attractive candidate for a credit line increase. Accordingly, most issuers recommend waiting if you have recently lost your job, reduced your income, or experienced a dive in credit.  

3. Be prepared for the consequences. 

Unlike a preliminary check, issuers are likely to issue a hard inquiry so they can check your credit score before making a decision on your request.

4. Make sure you can handle the increase.

With the credit line increase comes greater financial responsibility, so it is critical that you are comfortable with an increase in payments to match the increase in spending you are likely to make. 

Popular credit card credit limits

Many of today's best credit cards share how to increase your credit limit for your credit card. 

Credit card issuer

Credit limit details

Capital One

Typically does not apply to:

  • New accounts

  • Secured credit cards

  • Recent credit limits

Chase

Qualifications include:

  • Timely payments

  • Payments exceeding the minimum monthly payment due

Discover

Considerations include:

  • Payment history

  • Credit utilization percentage

  • Monthly income/expenses

  • Credit history

  • Employment history

  • Credit inquiries

U.S. Bank

Considerations include:

  • Annual income

  • Monetary assets

  • Housing information

USAA

Considerations include:

  • Account performance

  • Credit bureau information

  • Income before taxes

  • Current debt and obligations

Other factors that creditors may consider include:

  • Recent changes to income

  • Credit score

  • Credit card history

  • Credit utilization ratio

If you are unsure of your eligibility for a credit line increase, you can always reach out to your credit card issuer directly to inquire about qualifications and the application process. They will be the best experts to guide you in increasing your credit limit. 

The bottom line

The best way to increase your credit limit is to show responsible payment use. Credit card companies will issue a credit limit increase when they are confident in your ability to make timely payments. If you want to know how to increase your credit limit, you should focus on making payments on time, improving your credit score, and maintaining an attractive utilization score. At the end of the day, however, it is all about the issuer and its policies, so it is important to find out what qualifying factors will affect your decision for a credit limit increase.

For more information about credit, consider some of our other resources:

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