Do Credit Card Credit Lines Go Up Automatically?

Cardholders can request credit line increases if they don't come automatically.

Cardholders can request credit line increases if they don't come automatically.

Some card issuers increase credit card lines, or credit limits, automatically. Card issuers follow their own guidelines when making such increases. Nonetheless, the way you manage your finances will affect an issuer’s decision about giving you access to more credit. For example, expect creditors to examine your payment history as they decide whether to increase your credit line.

Cardholder Agreements

The cardholder agreements you receive with your credit cards usually outline how creditors handle credit line increases. Those agreements often say the card issuer will review your account periodically and automatically increase your credit line if you qualify for an increase. You might get an increase if you pay your bill on time each month and if you don’t max out the credit line you already have. Your card issuer might decide you’re accumulating too much debt if you typically use your entire credit line and deny you an increase.

Request an Increase

You can request a credit line increase by calling the customer service number shown on your monthly statement. Some card issuers also accept requests for credit line increases through their websites. Be prepared to provide your creditor with your current monthly income, the exact amount of the increase you want, and the reason you want the increase. Creditors usually limit the number of increases they allow. For example, some creditors won’t raise your credit line if they’ve increased it in the last six months.

Credit Checks

Some card issuers will run a credit check on you before deciding whether to increase your credit line. A request for a large increase is more likely to trigger a credit check. You can ask your card issuer whether a credit check is necessary to process your request for a bigger credit line. You might get an approval for a smaller increase even if your card issuer turns down your original request.

Considerations

You might need to rework your finances if your card issuer denies you a credit line increase. Your creditor should tell you why your request was denied. A high debt-to-income ratio is one reason card issuers don’t increase credit lines. The ratio compares the amount of debt you have with your income. You can calculate the ratio by adding up your monthly bills for credit cards and loans and dividing the total by your pretax monthly income. Credit card issuers generally want the resulting ratio to be below 36 percent, according to Bankrate.com.

About the Author

Frances Burks has more than 15 years experience in writing positions, including work as a news analyst for executive briefings and as an Associated Press journalist. Burks has banking and business development experience, and she has written numerous articles on consumer issues and home improvement. Burks holds a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Michigan.

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