Ways to Increase Your Chances of Getting a Credit Line Increase
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Key Points About: How to Qualify for a Credit Line Increase
A higher credit limit can help you make bigger purchases, cover unplanned costs, and keep your credit usage lower.
Credit card companies determine how much you can increase your credit limit based on a variety of factors.
If you have a Discover® Card, you can request a credit limit increase online or over the phone.
Increasing the limit on your credit card can boost your spending power and help you make more large-scale purchases each month. And, if you use your card responsibly, increasing your credit line may help boost your credit score. But there are a few things to keep in mind about increasing your credit limit.
What are the benefits of a credit line increase credit card?
If you’re planning to make a big purchase in the future, a higher credit limit can help you increase your spending power. Whether you’re buying furniture, replacing an appliance, or renovating your home, not only can you more easily cover these big purchases with a higher credit line, you can also earn rewards on eligible purchases if you’re using cash back credit cards.
Moreover, a higher limit can really come in handy in an emergency. Like for a last-minute plane ticket to visit a sick family member or an unexpected investment in car repairs, using your credit card can be a helpful way to pay for unplanned costs. And when you have a credit limit that is higher than your usual monthly spending, you ensure that you have a cushion of funds ready for an emergency.
An increased credit limit can also set you up for additional healthy financial habits in the future. If one of your credit cards has significant available credit and allows you to use it for a balance transfer, you could use that available credit to save money by transferring higher-rate credit card debt.
A higher credit card limit could also help your credit score. If you find that your monthly credit card balance is very close to your credit limit, increasing your credit line may help you reduce your credit utilization ratio, and that’s a factor that contributes to your credit score.
Your credit card utilization ratio is the amount of credit card debt you owe compared to your current credit limit. For example, if you have a credit limit of $500 and carry a balance of $200 every month, you would be using 40% of your available credit. But, if you were able to increase your credit limit to $1,000, with the same monthly balance of $200, you would only have a 20% credit utilization ratio.
Your credit utilization ratio makes up 30% of your credit score. In general, you want to keep your credit usage at or below 30%, otherwise lenders may worry that you won’t be able to pay back additional credit and decline future applications . You may also be in danger of taking on too much debt if your credit utilization rate is high.
If you don’t want to adjust your spending habits, a credit line increase may help reduce your credit utilization ratio. And, if you manage your credit card wisely, it may help boost your credit score, opening you up to more credit offers, lower interest rates, and more.
Did you know?
Getting another credit card can be a great way to increase your spending power without getting a credit line increase. Explore different credit card options.
How to qualify for a credit line increase
Credit card issuers look at several different factors before deciding whether you qualify for a credit limit increase. It’s important to know that you can request a higher credit line, but your card issuer may deny you if you don’t meet their criteria for more credit. In other cases, you may receive an automatic credit limit increase during the life of your account, without ever asking for it.
Here are the factors that a credit card company might consider when evaluating your account for a credit line increase:
Income and debt
Lenders look at your ‘ability to pay’ when you request a credit limit increase, which is why you may be asked to share your income. Creditors understand that we all have required expenses (like food, housing, and utilities) that we must pay, and they know that a person’s income isn’t fully available to go toward credit card repayments. So they may evaluate your debt-to-income ratio, which compares your monthly expenses to how much you make each month. If you have debt that eats up a large part of your income each month, you may find it harder to qualify for a credit line increase.
Account and payment history
You’ll have an easier time getting approved for a higher credit limit if you have a good account history—that is, you’ve made on-time payments and keep your credit utilization low. If you have a history of missed or late payments, you may be considered a higher risk to creditors.
Credit scores and credit history
Having a good credit score may make it easier to get a credit increase. Likewise, many credit card companies look at the age of the account itself. These are ways that a credit card issuer gets an understanding of how you manage and maintain your financial health, and how you use the credit that you already have. There is usually a waiting period between your account opening and when you can request a credit line increase while the credit issuer learns about how you use your account.
Credit card issuers may also look at your employment history to determine if you qualify for a credit line increase. Employment consistency, a recent change (either increase or decrease) in salary, or a change in employment status are all factors that a credit card company might take into account when considering you for a credit line increase.
How to request a credit limit increase
You may qualify for a credit line increase automatically if you’ve been paying on time, keeping your credit utilization low, and have a good credit history.
There are times when your credit card company may send you an alert to let you know that you’ve received a higher credit line, when you weren’t even aware that your account was being reviewed. But more often than not, you may realize that you would like a little more credit on your account to give you more breathing room on your daily and special occasion purchases.
Many credit card companies have a clear process that make it easy for a cardholder to request a credit line increase. For example, if you’re a Discover Cardmember, you can easily request a credit line increase from the app or online account by going to “Services” and selecting “Credit Line Increase.” Or you can contact customer service using the number on your card.
Whichever method you choose to request a line increase, you may be asked for information about your annual income and any rent or mortgage payments that you make.
Once you submit your information, Discover will either approve or deny your request. If you’re denied a credit line increase, Discover will send you a written letter explaining the reasons why. In some cases, you may need to work on improving your credit score before trying to apply again.
How much can you increase your credit card limit by?
In most cases, you won’t be able to set the amount of your own credit line, just as you weren’t able to define exactly how much you wanted your credit limit to be when you first applied for your credit card. Every credit card issuer has its own criteria to determine your credit card limit, and how each factor of your credit profile is weighted in this decision will vary.
If you want to request a higher credit line, you want to make sure that you’ve had your account open for a while, have used your account responsibly and consistently, and that all factors that make up your credit score are in good standing.
How much can I increase my credit limit with a secured card?
If you have a secured credit card, some credit card issuers may allow you to get a higher credit line by adding to your security deposit until you reach your maximum allowed amount at the time of card application. This amount is determined by your credit history and other factors. If you use your secured credit card wisely, you may have an easier time qualifying for an unsecured card later and increase in credit limit.
Getting approved for a higher credit limit means more spending power, but it can also mean more debt. You may be tempted to spend more than you can afford, which can lead to more money in interest charges. Generally, you should never spend more than you can afford to pay off in a month, because carrying a balance month to month is how you start to accumulate interest charges.
As with anything else, before deciding if you need a credit line increase, you should think about the possible benefits and what you can realistically afford. If you have a good credit score and you practice good credit management habits, extending the limit on your credit card may be helpful to you and your finances.
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