A higher credit limit can help in an emergency, allow you to make any necessary large purchases and even, in some instances, improve you credit score. Asking for a higher credit limit, however, can seem awkward.
Higher credit limits are typically offered to people with the highest credit scores for a simple reason—they’re considered the most likely to pay their bill on time and not default. Someone with a low credit score will have a harder time convincing their credit card company to give them a higher limit, though it’s not impossible.
The average credit limit as of December 2016 was $8,071, according to data from Experian, a credit bureau.
Improving Your Credit Score With a Higher Limit
Looking to finance a large purchase such as a home renovation? Or maybe you just need to cover some monthly expenses. These are a few reasons why you might want a higher credit limit. But there’s another advantage to seeking a credit limit increase—it can improve your credit score.
Your credit limit affects your credit utilization ratio—a lower ratio can lead to a higher credit score. A rate of 25 percent is best to improve a credit score, meaning you’re using up to 25 percent of the credit available on the credit card.
How to Ask for a Higher Limit
Whatever you need the money for, you’re more likely to be approved for a higher credit limit if you have a strong credit score and no recent history of late payments.
Pick only one credit card in your wallet to ask for an increase on. If you ask all of your credit card issuers for a higher credit limit, each will be treated as a separate inquiry and that could hurt your credit score. It can also help if you don’t apply for new credit cards in a short period of time when asking for a credit limit increase on an existing card. Such applications can lower a credit score temporarily.
To ask for a larger credit limit, just call your credit card provider and ask for it. Ask them to consider your years of membership, strong payment record and low credit utilization rate.
Don’t Be Desperate or Greedy
Tell your credit card company why you deserve more credit: You’ve never missed a payment and you always pay your balance in full each month, or you pay more than the minimum balance.
You also don’t want to ask for too high of an increase. This can be a sign of greed and desperation, which can lead to denial and require you to wait a few months before applying again for a credit limit increase. Aim for 10 to 25 percent more, up to $250 for every $1,000 in credit you already have. If you have good credit, you may be able to ask for more.