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Should you increase your credit card limit?

Want to borrow more on your credit card? Here are some things to consider before you request a credit card limit increase.

How do you plan on using your credit limit?

Before you make the request, it’s important to think about why you want to increase your credit limitFor example, you may have a large or unexpected expense you need to pay for. If this is the case, calculate how much interest you may potentially be charged and set yourself a clear repayment plan to confirm you’ll be able to afford it.

If you need to increase your credit limit to make ends meet, however, this could mean you’re struggling to manage your finances. In this case, increasing your credit limit could make your financial situation worse. 

Another thing to think about is whether a higher credit limit could leave you in a vulnerable situation. For example, are your financial circumstances likely to change? And if so, would you still be able to meet your repayments?

What increasing your credit limit can do

As well as giving you more money to spend, increasing your credit card limit can mean:

  • you’ll be less likely to go over your credit limit – so you won’t incur any additional fees or charges

  • you can maintain or improve your credit score – staying within your credit limit indicates that you're able to manage your debt

However:

  • you open the door to more debt – this means more to pay back and more interest charged

  • you might find it more difficult to be approved for other types of loans – the amount of credit you already have is something that lenders look at to assess your creditworthiness

  • you might negatively affect your credit score if you ask for an increase too often

How does your credit limit impact your credit score?

Having a higher credit limit won’t necessarily have a negative impact on your credit score – the important thing is how you use it. 

If you maintain a low balance and keep up with the credit card payments – you can improve your credit score. But spending near, or over, your credit limit each month could suggest you’re struggling to manage your finances. This could have a negative impact on your credit score.

What to do if you want an increase

If you want to increase your limit, you’ll need to contact your lender and make a request. You won’t be guaranteed an increase. Your bank or lender will review:

  • your spending history

  • any missed payments

  • your credit history and credit rating

  • your monthly income

  • how long you've had the credit card for

  • if you've applied for a credit limit increase before