As the summer season approaches more of us will be planning summer vacations, amusement park visits, attending conventions, festivals and concerts; and even summer camp for the kids. Our credit cards can get overloaded during these times and a credit limit increase might be in order.
There are good reasons for a higher credit limit but the most important is you never want to max out your credit card. Maxing out your credit card can take points off your credit score. You want as much space as possible between your account balance and available credit limit. Here a few tips when you want to request a higher credit limit:
1. Make sure you can pay the extra debt. Before you seek an increase evaluate your finances to determine if you can afford additional debt. If you are currently only paying the minimum due on your credit card, you probably cannot afford a higher limit credit card. Only request an increase if you can pay more than the minimum required payment or can pay the balance in full every month.
2. Choose the card with the best chances of success. Only apply for a credit limit increase on credits cards that have a good payment history. They will be the cards with the best chances of success. Most credit card issuers will pull a hard inquiry for a credit line increase. Do not waste a hard inquiry and the decrease in credit score points on a request that may be denied. A hard inquiry will impact your credit score for 12 months and remain on your credit report for 24 months.
3. Wait 6 Months for New Credit Cards. If you have a new credit card wait at least 6 months before requesting a credit line increase. Most credit card companies will automatically review your credit after about six months anyway. Asking too soon may lead to a denial; or worse, trigger a red flag causing an account closure. You don’t want the credit card company to think you are having financial difficulty.
4. Be prepared to answer a few questions.
Your credit card issuer may ask for your monthly income, how much you’d like to have your limit increased, and the reason for the increase.
5. Exercise caution in the amount you request. It’s never a good idea to ask for too much of an increase. But you can definitely ask for a little more than you want and see if the credit card issuer will counter with an offer. Credit card issuers have their own internal criteria for credit line increases so exercise some common sense because asking for too much may get you an immediate decline.
Think of like this — It’s not too much of a stretch to go from a $500 credit limit to a $1500 credit limit. But it is highly unlikely you go from a $500 credit limit to a $5000 credit limit.
6. Have an acceptable reason. Requesting a credit line increase because you have a turn-off notice for your electric bill is not a good idea and will probably get you an immediate denial along with a decrease in your current credit line. Requesting a credit line increase because you will be traveling more often or you want to earn more rewards for the things you buy is a better reason.