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How to Increase Your Credit Limit

Last Updated: October 17, 2023
5 min read

Key points about: increasing your credit limit

  1. You can submit a request for a credit limit increase to your credit card company.

  2. An increased credit limit can reduce your credit utilization rate and give you more spending power.

  3. Responsible use of your existing credit may increase your chances of getting approved for a higher limit.

Your credit limit is an important part of your financial history. Whether you’re hoping to expand your purchasing power or get a better credit score, requesting a higher credit limit could be one way to achieve your goals.

What is a credit limit?

Before learning how to increase your credit limit, it’s important to understand what a credit limit is and how it's determined. 

Your credit limit is the maximum amount you can spend on your credit card. Your credit card issuer sets that amount. Credit limit is usually based on your previous credit history, including your credit score, income, housing expenses, and other information. If you have a good credit score and a history of responsible credit card use, you may be eligible for a higher credit limit, along with any other requirements.

You may have lower credit limits if you have a limited credit history or lower credit, so you may want to consider a secured credit card. For example, the Discover it® Secured Credit Card helps you build or rebuild your credit history.1

Ways to increase your credit limit

There are usually two ways to get a credit card limit increase:

  1. Credit limit increase request: Contact your credit card issuer and submit a request to increase your credit card limit. 
  2. Automatic credit limit increase: According to Experian®, your credit card issuer may give you a credit increase periodically after reviewing your credit file and credit account.

How to request a credit limit increase

If you're ready to submit a request for additional credit, you can follow these steps:

Contact your credit card issuer

One way to try to increase your credit limit is by contacting your credit card company. You can usually submit your request for a credit limit increase by phone or online. 

Did you know?

If you want a credit line increase on your Discover Credit Card, call the number on the back of your card and talk to a real person or log into your online banking profile using the Discover Mobile app.

Report income increases

Reporting income increases to your credit card company may help you qualify for an increased credit limit. You may also provide personal information like updated housing information. 

What to do before you request an increased credit limit

If you're ready to request a credit limit increase, try following these steps to improve the chances that your credit request gets approved:

Check your credit report

Check your credit report regularly. Dispute any mistakes you find. For example, if a payment was reported as late when you made it on time, fixing the error could help improve your credit. Just make sure the update is reported to a credit bureau

Understand your credit score

Aside from errors on your credit report, check for other elements that could hurt your credit score. If your payment history includes late or missed payments, it could negatively impact your credit score. If you have a credit utilization ratio (the amount of money you owe compared to the amount of available credit you have) above 30% , it could also negatively impact your credit score, according to Experian. Take time to help your score by paying your credit card bill on time and paying off the credit card balance on your credit card account to reduce your credit utilization rate, etc.— before applying for a higher credit limit.

Reasons to request a higher credit limit

There are a few reasons you may want to raise your credit limit, like:

  • If you plan on using your credit cards to fund a large purchase
  • If you anticipate making more purchases than usual within a certain period, such as a vacation
  • If you want to reduce your credit utilization ratio

Since 30% of your FICO® Credit Score2 is based on your credit utilization ratio as part of the amounts owed category, according to Experian, increasing your total credit limit could help reduce your credit utilization rate and positively impact your credit score. 

If you use your increased credit line responsibly, you could increase your purchasing power, leading to better credit card offers, lower interest rates, and new financial opportunities.

The best credit card for you may not be the card with the highest credit limit but rather a card with features that match your lifestyle. For example, with the with the Discover it® Chrome Gas & Restaurant Credit Card you earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, automatically.2

Drawbacks to requesting a credit limit increase

In some cases, having a higher credit limit could do more harm than good, for example:

  • If an increased credit limit tempts you to overspend, you could end up with credit card debt.
  • If you use your new credit limit to accrue high balances without paying them off, it could hurt your credit score.

Does requesting a credit limit increase impact your credit score?

Before you ask for a higher credit limit, check whether your credit card issuer conducts a hard credit inquiry as part of their review. 

A hard credit inquiry has the potential to impact your credit score. Too many hard inquiries within a short time could make lenders think twice before issuing you more credit. You may want to wait to request a credit line increase on multiple credit cards at once.

What if you’re denied a credit limit increase?

If your request for a credit line increase gets denied, here are some steps to consider:

Pay off balances

One effective way to build credit history is to pay off the outstanding balances on your credit cards. Not only can you help your credit score and increase your chances of getting a higher credit limit in the future, but you can also free up your existing credit so there's more available credit on your credit cards. This gives you more purchasing power.

Keep using credit cards responsibly

Lenders may be more likely to give you a credit limit increase if you show a history of responsible credit use. By practicing good credit habits, such as paying bills on time and keeping balances low across all your loans, you can show lenders that you'll likely use a credit limit increase wisely.

Apply for a new card

Instead of requesting a higher credit limit on an existing card, you could apply for a new card with a rewards program or better features that make the card more valuable to you than your current card. For example, the Discover it® Balance Transfer Low Intro APR Balance Transfer Offer could be a good option if you have high-interest rates on your existing credit cards, and save money on interest payments.

Increasing the credit limit on your credit cards can increase your available credit, grant you more purchasing power, and help build your credit history. The key is to continue using your credit cards responsibly.

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  1. Build/Rebuild Credit History (Secured Card): Discover reports your credit history to the three major credit bureaus so it can help build/rebuild your credit if used responsibly. Late payments, delinquencies or other derogatory activity with your credit card accounts and loans may adversely impact your ability to build/rebuild credit.
  2. FICO® Credit Score Terms: Your FICO® Credit Score, key factors and other credit information are based on data from TransUnion® and may be different from other credit scores and other credit information provided by different bureaus. This information is intended for and only provided to Primary account holders who have an available score. See Discover.com/FICO about the availability of your score. Your score, key factors and other credit information are available on Discover.com and cardmembers are also provided a score on statements. Customers will see up to a year of recent scores online. Discover and other lenders may use different inputs, such as FICO® Credit Scores, other credit scores and more information in credit decisions. This benefit may change or end in the future. FICO is a registered trademark of Fair Isaac Corporation in the United States and other countries. Discover Financial Services and Fair Isaac are not credit repair organizations as defined under federal law or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. Discover Financial Services and Fair Isaac do not provide “credit repair” services or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history or credit rating.
  3. You earn a full 2% Cashback Bonus® on your first $1000 in combined purchases at Gas Stations (stand-alone), and Restaurants each calendar quarter. Calendar quarters begin January 1, April 1, July 1, and October 1. Purchases at Gas Stations and Restaurants over the quarterly cap, and all other purchases, earn 1% cash back. Gas Station purchases include those made at merchants classified as places that sell automotive gasoline that can be bought at the pump or inside the station, and some public electric vehicle charging stations. Gas Stations affiliated with supermarkets, supercenters, and wholesale clubs may not be eligible. Restaurant purchases include those made at merchants classified as full-service restaurants, cafes, cafeterias, fast-food locations, and restaurant delivery services. Purchases must be made with merchants in the U.S. To qualify for 2%, the purchase transaction date must be before or on the last day of the offer or promotion. For online purchases, the transaction date from the merchant may be the date when the item ships. Rewards are added to your account within two billing periods. Even if a purchase appears to fit in a 2% category, the merchant may not have a merchant category code (MCC) in that category. Merchants and payment processors are assigned an MCC based on their typical products and services. Discover Card does not assign MCCs to merchants. Certain third-party payment accounts and digital wallet transactions may not earn 2% if the technology does not provide sufficient transaction details or a qualifying MCC. Learn more at Discover.com/digitalwallets. See Cashback Bonus Program Terms and Conditions for more information.
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