Asking for a higher line of credit on your credit card is the easy part. Actually getting it is tricky. If you have excellent credit, your chances of getting an increase are within reach. If you don't, it doesn't mean you're out of the running for an increase, it only means you have less of a chance than someone who has a high credit score and a near-flawless credit history.
Outline the reasons you want to up your line of credit. Maybe you want to use your card for monthly expenses, but the credit limit you currently have won't allow you to do so without your credit utilization ratio -- how much credit you have in relation to how much you've used -- getting too high. (It's best to keep your charges at no more than 30 percent of your total credit limit). When you call your creditor, you need to give the representative a logical and reasonable justification for your request.
Call your creditor and ask -- politely -- for a higher line of credit. If the representative asks you how much of an increase you want, ask for 25 percent of your current line. For example, if you have a card with a limit of $5,000, ask for an increase of $1,250. State your reasons for wanting the increase. If the representative stalls at giving you the increase, present some examples. You may have recently paid off a large debt and have more income at your disposal. Or you may have earned a promotion that included a nice, fat pay raise. If you're rebuilding your credit, and you've made timely payments in excess of the minimums due for at least three months, point it out to the representative.
Tell the representative you've considered transferring your balance to a different card that offers you the credit line you need. Don't lie; use this strategy only if you've received such an offer. Mention that you'd rather keep your current card and gain an increase in your limit if possible. If you have excellent credit, the representative may grant you the increase as a way to retain your loyalty as a customer.
- If you have recently landed a new well-paying job or a huge promotion, consider asking for more than a 25 percent increase -- 50 percent is reasonable -- in your credit limit.
- Be careful how you use your new credit. Spending more than 30 percent of the card's limit can lower your credit score. However, if you pay off the balance -- or at least the amount above 30 percent -- each month, you can use more of your credit line.
- "The Everything Improve Your Credit Book..."; Justin Pritchard
- MSN Money: 9 Fast Fixes for Your Credit Scores
- MSN Money: Why You Should Up Your Credit Limit
- Good Housekeeping: When Should You Ask for a Credit-Line Increase?
- "Complete Credit Repair Kit"; Brette McWhorter Sember
- Forbes: 6 Benefits of Increasing Your Credit Limit
- George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images