How to Increase Your Credit Limit

Published August 9, 2022
6 min read

Let’s Learn About: Increasing Your Credit Limit

  1. If your credit limit is too low for a purchase you want to make, consider requesting a higher limit

  2. Reporting any income increases can make it more likely that you’ll be approved for a credit limit increase

  3. Responsible use of your existing credit may increase your chances of getting approved for more credit

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

Many people want to know how to increase their credit limits, but it’s important to first understand how your credit limit is determined. Creditors can set credit limits based on your previous credit history, including your credit score as well as your income, housing expenses, and other information. If you have good credit and a history of responsible credit card usage, you may be more likely to receive higher credit limits as long as you meet the other requirements. If you have a limited credit history or have experienced problems with your credit, your credit cards may have lower credit limits.

There are usually two ways that your credit limit on a credit card may increase:

  1. You can contact your credit card issuer and request an increase. You may have to provide information like your updated income and housing information before a decision is provided.
  2. The credit card issuer may choose to increase your credit limit without you requesting an increase.

Reasons to request a higher credit limit

Is it good to increase your credit limit? It depends on your situation. You may want to raise your credit limit if you plan on using your credit cards to fund a large purchase, for example. You may also want to increase your credit limit if you anticipate needing to make more purchases than usual with a certain time period, such as a vacation.

Some people want to know how to increase their credit line because their monthly credit card balances take up a significant percentage of their credit limit. Since 30% of your FICO® Credit Score is based on your credit utilization ratio — the amount of money you owe compared to the amount of credit available to you — increasing your credit limit is one way to reduce your credit utilization ratio and may impact your credit score.1

Does having a higher credit limit help? If you use your increased credit line responsibly, you could increase your purchasing power and impact your credit score. Having a good credit limit could lead to better credit card offers, lower interest rates, and new financial opportunities.

Drawbacks to asking for a credit limit increase

When is it a bad idea to increase your credit limit? In some cases, having a higher credit limit could do more harm than good. If an increased credit limit tempts you to overspend, for example, you could end up with credit card debt. If you use your new credit limit to accrue high balances without paying them off, you could end up hurting your credit score.

Does requesting a credit limit increase impact your credit score? It could, depending on the process involved. Before you ask for an higher credit limit, check to see whether your credit card issuer will conduct a hard credit inquiry as part of their review. Every hard credit inquiry has the potential to impact your credit score. Too many hard inquiries within a short time period could make lenders think twice before issuing you new credit.

Preparing to ask for a higher credit limit

Want to know how to get a credit limit increase? Before you contact your credit card issuer and ask for a higher credit limit, here are some steps that might improve the likelihood of success.

Check your credit report

Many people don’t realize that their credit report could contain errors and that some of those errors could have a negative effect on their credit score. Check your credit report regularly, and dispute any mistakes you find. If a payment were reported as late when you actually made it on time, for example, fixing the error could help to improve your credit.

Understand your credit score

When you review your credit report, don’t just look for mistakes. Check your credit report for any elements that have a potentially negative effect on your credit score, such as late or missed payments or a high credit utilization ratio. Then work on improving those factors — making on-time payments, paying off balances, etc.— before applying for a higher credit limit.

How to get a credit limit increase

Once you’re ready to request a credit limit increase, it’s important to understand the process. There are two major options to consider:

Contact your credit card issuer

One of the easiest ways to increase your credit limit is by contacting your credit card issuer. You can often ask for a credit limit increase by phone or online. If you want to increase the credit limit on your Discover Card, you can call the number on the back of your card and talk to a real person from our 100% U.S.-based customer service. You can also log into your online account or use the Discover Mobile app to request a credit limit increase.

Report income increases

Another common way to increase your credit limit is by updating your income. Reporting increases to your income may qualify you for an increased credit limit. Contact your credit issuer over the phone or use your online account or app to report the changes.

What to do if you’re denied a credit limit increase

Knowing how to increase your credit limit is a good start, but what if your request gets denied? If you are denied a credit limit increase, here are some steps to consider:

Pay off balances

One of the most effective ways to build your credit is by paying off your outstanding balances. Not only can you help your credit score and increase your chances of getting a higher credit limit in the future, you can also free up your existing credit. This gives you more purchasing power and more opportunity to prove that you can use credit responsibly.

Continue to use your cards responsibly

Lenders may be more likely to raise your credit limit 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 of your loans, you can show lenders that you are unlikely to be a risky borrower and more likely to use a credit limit increase wisely.

Apply for a new card

Instead of requesting a new credit limit on an existing card, you could apply for a new card with a rewards program that might make the card more valuable to you than your current card. With Discover, you can check to see if you prequalify for a cash back or Miles rewards card.

If you have a limited credit history or are in the process of rebuilding your credit, consider applying for a Discover it® Secured credit card. No credit score is required to apply2, and you can get your deposit back after six consecutive on-time payments and maintaining good status on all your credit accounts.3

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