Looking for a little more spending power on a credit card? Try requesting a credit line increase from your card issuer.
The process is simple — you can make the request online or over the phone — and if you’ve managed this and other credit accounts wisely, there’s a good chance your request will be approved.
Before making the request, you’ll want to consider the following:
- How long have you had the account?
- Have you made a late payment in the past six months?
- How much of your credit line are you already using?
- How much of your balance do you typically pay each month?
- Have you kept your other credit accounts in good standing?
- Are you still employed?
These are all things a credit card issuer will examine when a determining whether to give you a credit line increase. They’ll also ask about your employment status, your income and your monthly housing payment. Before approving a credit line increase, they also may check your credit report to see how well you manage your credit accounts with other lenders. This could result in a hard inquiry on your credit report, which could ding your credit scores for a while, so if you have any concerns about whether you’ll be approved for the increase, you might want to consider waiting while you make improvements in the above areas.
Things That Could Lead to Denial
Newer Account or Late Payments
Credit card accounts that are less than six months old are rarely approved for credit limit increases. And neither are accounts with a late payment within the past six months. So if you just opened an account or you paid late recently, you may want to hold off on requesting a credit line increase.
Late Payments to Other Creditors & Lenders
On your credit report, a credit card issuer may review the amount of debt that you are carrying, if you have paid your other credit accounts as agreed, and the number of requests for credit that you’ve made in the past few months.
Too Many Credit Requests
If you’ve made several requests for new credit or have big balances on other credit card accounts, an issuer may fear that you are overextending yourself and hold off on giving you an increase.
Lower Credit Score
A credit card issuer also will check your credit score when considering a credit line increase request, so it’s a good idea to check your credit scores and credit reports before you reach out to your issuer about a larger credit line. You can see your free credit scores on Credit.com.
Impact on Your Credit
Requesting a credit line increase can have a positive — and slightly negative — impact on your credit. Getting a credit line increase could help your credit because having a roomier credit line will help to lower your debt utilization – which is one of the bigger factors in your credit score.
But, as we mentioned above, if an issuer should pull a copy your credit report, this will result in a hard inquiry being placed on your credit report. And a hard inquiry will have a small, albeit temporary, negative impact on your credit score.
To continue to build and bolster your credit, pay your credit card account as agreed and continue to pay down any revolving balances you carry in a timely manner. This calculator can show you how long it would take to pay off your credit card debt.
This article has been updated. It was originally published March 12, 2015.