If you’d like to raise your current credit limit on a card, contact your credit card company by calling the number on the back of your card or using the Secure Messaging feature on their website. You have nothing to lose by asking. If the account has been open for over a year and you’ve made timely payments each month, chances are good that your request will be granted. Here’s a quick series of tips on how to address the situation.
Let Them Know You’re Loyal
Start the conversation by letting the card company know where your allegiances lie. Introducing yourself as “a loyal customer of your bank” will serve as a polite reminder that you have patronized their business for some time and that the company stands to lose your patronage if they don’t handle the situation properly. Make sure to remind them later on in the conversation, “as previously mentioned, I do want to keep my existing relationship with your bank.” This should really drive the point home. If the representative thinks that your account hangs in the balance, they’ll be more likely to give you what you want.
Address Your Current Limit
Once you’ve introduced yourself as a loyal customer, specify what your current credit limit is: “I recently had the opportunity to review the credit limit for my credit card. It currently appears to be very low, given my financial situation.” This will give the representative a chance to review your information. If you’ve exhibited that you are a responsible user of your credit card, now is a good time to bring that up. Be sure to let the representative know that you have been making timely payments and that your current balance is below 20% of the funds available to you. From the customer service agent’s perspective, these are good indicators that you are not in the habit of spending beyond your means.
Bring Up Your Options
Once you’ve clearly established your desire to stay with your current card, be sure to let the representative know that you are considering switching to another card: “I have received a number of credit card offers from other banks, often with higher credit limits.” Try to bring up specific cards that are comparable to the one you have, so that the agent knows you’ve done your research: if you are trying to get your credit limit raised on your Chase Freedom Unlimited card, which provides 1.5% Cash Back on every purchase, then it might be a good idea to let the agent know that you pre-qualify for the CapitalOne Quicksilver, which provides the exact same benefits. This will give you more leverage in negotiations by making it clear that you’re aware of your options and.
The agent might be at a loss if you don’t tell them what, exactly, you’re hoping to receive with this call. So before picking up the phone, be sure to have a specific number in mind for the credit limit you want. When the time comes, finish the conversation by making a polite but specific request for a credit limit increase: “I would like to ask to increase the credit limit on my credit card from ______ to ______. I appreciate your assistance in this matter.”
If your request is rejected, you might want to follow through and find a replacement card. This might be a welcome solution anyway, since it could mean you’ll end up collecting an exciting sign-up bonus along the way.
While you’re searching, though, you shouldn’t feel obligated to close your old card. Having as many open accounts as possible–provided they already exist and your payments are up-to-date–will always be better for your credit score. And keeping your old card but never using it will send the same message as canceling the card altogether–the only major difference is that you’re not damaging your personal credit score. So unless you’re paying annual fees on the old card, it’s usually a great idea to stow the card you plan to replace in a discreet corner where no one will find it. Even if your balance is high and interest is mounting on your old account, you should still probably keep the card open after transferring your old balance to a card with promotional introductory interest rates.
If you want to learn more about why having more accounts helps your score, check out our article on credit scores. This article helps break down the five elements of a credit score, and explains what you can do to maximize your outlook in each aspect. For advice on finding the card that’s best for you, take a look at this column on how to pick the right credit card. Once you’ve chosen which card to apply for, be sure to read up on how to maximize your chances of approval. Even if your request for a higher credit limit is rejected, you’ll see that you still have plenty of options.