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How Much Credit Card Limit Should I Have

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How Responsible You Are With Your Cards


Finally, consider your overall level of financial responsibility when it comes to credit cards. This requires some soul-searching, which isnt always comfortable, but its important to be honest with yourself so that you dont take on more than you can handle.

If youre worried about your ability to control your credit card spending, consider applying for a secured credit card to start. Secured credit cards have low spending limits and require you to deposit cash before making your first purchase, limiting how much debt you can rack up.

Should You Ask Your Lender To Increase Your Credit Limit

For some people, asking for a credit limit increase may be a good idea, but for others it may not be. First, consider why you are requesting the increase. If the reason is to lower your , asking may make sense. But if the reason is to access additional funds when you don’t have a plan for paying off that debt, requesting an increase may not be the best move for your financial health.

Your credit utilization rate is the amount of credit you’re using compared to the amount of credit you have available. So, if you have an $800 credit card balance and you have a $2,000 credit card limit, your CUR is 40%:

Experts recommend keeping your utilization rate below 30%.

If you’re looking to improve your credit utilization rate “paying down the existing balance on a card is usually a better approach than asking for a credit limit increase,” Rod Griffin, Experian’s senior director of consumer education and advocacy, tells CNBC Select. “Paying down balances reduces your debt load, does not create other issues that may have a negative impact on scores and usually leads to faster, longer lasting improvements in credit scores.”

A Simpler Way To Keep Your Utilization Rate Down

A big reason you may worry about how much available credit you need is the potential credit score damage, so incurring a hard credit inquiry may be a dealbreaker. While your score should rebound after you pay down your balances, this can take time. Your credit card issuer will only report your balances once a month.

If you have an upcoming loan and need your score looking its absolute best, a few weeks could make a big difference. While you could simply spend less on your credit cards by using cash, you’ll miss out on the convenience and rewards of using your cards. Luckily, the solution is simple: Make earlier payments.

Most of us spend money throughout the month — but we pay our credit cards all at once. By the time the issuer reports your balance , they’re reporting a full month’s worth of spending. Instead, consider paying your credit card balance before you get the bill. You could even make multiple payments during the month to keep your balances low at all times.

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What Do Lenders Consider When Determining Your Credit Limit

  • Affordability. The credit limit you get must be an amount you can afford to pay off within 3 years. This is a requirement all lenders must follow under the Australian National Consumer Credit Protection Act.
  • Annual income. This includes your salary as well as eligible income from assets and government payments.
  • Employment. You’ll be asked to confirm your current employment status and provide your employer’s contact information for verification.
  • Existing liabilities. This includes your current credit card debts, personal loans, car loans and mortgages.
  • The lender will review your credit history and score, so make sure to check your credit score before you apply.

Why Does A Credit Limit Matter

What Is A Credit Limit?

A big part of your credit score is determined by how much of your total credit you usemeaning the balances and limits on all of your cards are taken into account to calculate your score. Having a good credit score can affect your ability to get financing on things like a home or car, start a business or get certain types of jobs.

Lenders generally prefer that you use less than 30 percent of your credit limit.

If you have a $300 balance:

THUMBS UP = A $1,000 credit limit means youre using 30%

THUMBS DOWN = A $500 credit limit means youre using 60%

Its always a good idea to keep your credit card balance as low as possible in relation to your credit limit. Of course, paying your balance in full each month is the best practice. If you cant, paying as much over the minimum as you can is still a step in the right direction.

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How Many Credit Cards Should You Have

There is no magic number to that question, because everyones situation is different. A strong argument can be made for having at least one credit card to take advantage of the inherent convenience, security, and other benefits. Justifying having more than one credit card can depend on whether you need the extra credit lines to accommodate your monthly discretionary budget or seek to leverage your everyday spending to earn various types of rewards like cash back, points, or airline miles.

Whats Included In Your Credit Utilization Rate Calculation

Unfortunately, this question doesnt have just one answer. Different consider different types of accounts when they calculate your utilization rate.

For example, in October 2019 spokespersons for both FICO® and VantageScore® told us they generally dont include any paid-off, closed accounts that are in your credit reports when calculating utilization rates.

FICO might include a closed account that still has a balance, like an account thats gone unpaid and is closed by the card issuer. But VantageScore doesnt include any closed accounts when calculating credit utilization rates.

The FICO credit-scoring model doesnt consider home equity lines of credit, or HELOCs, when determining utilization, but the VantageScore credit-scoring model does.

All FICO scores and most VantageScore scores consider only the most recently reported credit limits and balances as part of the utilization equation. As a result, if you use your accounts for crucial expenses and your utilization increases, you may see a dip in your credit scores. But your scores could increase again once you pay off those expenses and bring down your utilization.

The latest VantageScore scoring model, VantageScore 4.0, also considers your utilization rates over time as part of whats known as trended data. And some creditors may consider your historical utilization when reviewing your application, even if that history doesnt impact the credit scores they receive.

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Why Didnt I Get A Higher Credit Limit

Some reasons you may have gotten a lower credit limit than you expected include too high of a debt-to-income ratio, too many recent credit inquires, or too many open accounts with the same bank.

Even if you have an excellent credit score, you may not receive as high of a credit limit as you wouldve wanted when you apply for a new credit card.

Because credit limits are based upon what the bank thinks you can reasonably repay, the more debt you have as a percentage of your income, the more credit you might be granted.

For example, lets say Mark and Molly both earn $100,000 a year. Both have credit scores around 750 and no recent credit inquires or negative marks. The only difference between Mark and Molly is their debt levels.

Molly has no debtshe pays $500 in rent to her roommate and, although she has open credit cards, she never uses them.

Both applicants apply for and are approved for a new credit card. Molly gets a $9,000 credit limit but Mark only gets a $3,000 credit limit.

Another factor that can influence your credit limit is when you have multiple cards with the same issuer. For example, many people carry both the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Chase Freedom Unlimited® to take advantage of transferring points between them to maximize rewards.

Do Aim For A Sensible Credit Limit


When you apply for credit, the amount you ask for can affect whether your credit application isapproved.

Asking for a very high limit may indicate that you desperately need the money, which can make you appearfinancially stretched.

Requesting a low limit may inhibit spending, and may require you to use a larger portion of the creditavailable to you. Using most, or all of the available credit may negatively impact your credit score asit can indicate that you are financially stretched, even if your limit is quite low.

Aiming for a middle ground that can support your financial commitments but does not appear as though youare financially stretched, can indicate to lenders you are responsible and may help to increase yourchances of a successful application.

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What Is The Risk Of Choosing A High Credit Limit

Having more credit than you need could tempt you to overspend. For instance, if you want $2,000 to help pay for flights and travel, but you get a credit limit of $5,000, it can be really easy to charge $5,000 worth of expenses in a matter of months.

It can also impact your ability to take out other loans. When you apply for a home loan, for instance, the bank will consider your outstanding liabilities. The bank will factor in your total credit limit , so a higher credit card limit can actually reduce your borrowing power.

Also, a high , as banks and lenders consider you to be riskier if you have a high amount of unsecured debt, such as multiple credit cards.

So Whats The Right Amount Of Credit To Use

If youre trying to increase your credit scores as much as possible, then you should use as little of your available credit as possible. VantageScore recommends keeping your utilization rate below 30%, but thats not necessarily a shortcut to better credit. Depending on the state of your accounts, it might also benefit you to keep a lower credit utilization rate across the board, not just in total.

But there may also be such a thing as using too little credit. In some cases, its better to use at least a little of your available credit with each account, because using some can be taken to show youre actively using and managing your credit rather than keeping your cards in the sock drawer.

Fortunately, a perfect utilization rate isnt required for an excellent credit scores. According to FICO, 7% is the average utilization rate for people with a FICO Score 8 of at least 785.

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How Does A Credit Limit Affect Credit Scores

Your credit limit has an important relationship with .

Thatâs because credit utilization is the percentage of available credit youâre using, and itâs one factor that can affect your credit scores. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recommends keeping credit utilization under 30%. The CFPB also says paying off your credit cards every month is the best way to keep that number low.

A higher credit limit may allow you to spend more while keeping your utilization low. But that freedom and flexibility comes with additional responsibility. Higher limits also make it easier to build debt quickly. And itâs important to remember that many factors can affect your credit score.

Americans Have An Average Of $22751 In Credit Available To Them Across All Their Credit Cards How Do You Stack Up Cnbc Select Offers Tips On How To Get A Higher Credit Limit

Credit Limits: What Are They?

Selects editorial team works independently to review financial products and write articles we think our readers will find useful. We may receive a commission when you click on links for products from our affiliate partners.

If you’re someone who likes to compare credit scores with your friends or partner, you may be interested in knowing how your credit limit stacks up.

What’s considered a “normal” credit limit in the U.S.? While limits may vary by age and location, on average Americans have a total credit limit of $22,751 across all their credit cards, according to the latest 2019 Experian data.

Below, CNBC Select breaks down credit limits so you can make sure you’re ahead in the rankings.

  • What is a credit limit?
  • How to get a higher credit limit
  • Should you ask your lender to increase your credit limit?
  • How does asking for a higher credit limit affect your credit score?
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    Low Credit Limits Are Still Beneficial

    If you have little to no credit history, typically youll start with a low credit limit. The good news is a low credit limit can still be beneficial. If you carry a small balance each month and pay it off in full, it can boost your credit score and eventually lead to a credit limit increase.

    If you have a high credit score, sometimes youll receive a credit limit higher than you had hoped. Just because you receive a higher credit limit, doesnt mean you have to accept it. You should only accept a credit limit you feel comfortable with. Lowering your credit limit is as easy as a phone call to your issuer.

    How Does A Credit Limit Work

    A financial institution considering your credit card application will take a number of factors into consideration before deciding on your credit limit. While a first-time credit limit is normally low, factors such as how much capital you have will influence the amount youre allowed to spend.

    Other factors that influence a typical credit card limit includes the following:

    • Your personal income
    • How youve handled repayments on other loans
    • Your credit rating or score
    • Other credit card accounts you may have

    When issuing a credit card with a limit, financial lenders will always look out for red flags such as how much open credit a person has. This includes several lines of credit plus high credit limits on other accounts. Access to too much credit without enough income means that the borrower can overextend on their spending, increasing their debts, and not be able to make repayments.

    Your credit card spending limit can also be influenced by your age and if this is your first application. Different card issuers will also use their own criteria to determine what kind of credit limit to give you. However, most use all of the abovementioned factors in addition to your average credit card history age. Financial institutions are more comfortable with cardholders whove managed credit over a longer period in a responsible manner.

    How much credit card limit can I get?

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    What Is A Minimum Or Maximum Credit Limit

    • A minimum credit limit is the lowest amount of credit you can get approved for on a particular credit card. In Australia, minimum credit card limits typically start from $500 to $15,000 for personal credit cards and can be higher for business credit cards.
    • A maximum credit limit is the highest amount of credit you can get approved for on a card. It can be as little as $3,000 or as much as $100,000.

    How to factor in minimum and maximum credit limits

    Not all credit cards list a minimum and maximum credit limit but when they do, it means you can request an amount that sits within that. For example, the minimum could be $5,000 and the maximum could be $30,000.

    Consider these points when weighing up your options:

    • Lower limit credit cards: Typically, cards with lower credit limits may offer more competitive fees or interest rates. These cards are suited to people who may not be making large purchases or spending on their credit card regularly, with minimum credit limits that typically start from $500, $1,000 or $2,000 depending on the card.
    • Higher limit credit cards: More premium cards with extra features, rewards programs and higher fees generally offer higher credit limits, and they often come with a minimum credit limit of around $15,000.


    How Can Credit Limits Affect My Credit Score

    How many credit cards should a person have?

    You donât have one, universal score â each lender may use a different method to calculate it. So, how credit limits affect your score depends on the lenderâs preference. For example, a large amount of available credit may make lenders think youâre too reliant on borrowing â they may even see it as potential debt. On the other hand, some lenders may view high limits in a positive light, as it shows that another lender trusts you to repay a large amount.

    Lenders may also take into account what proportion of your ârevolvingâ credit youâre regularly using. For example, if youâre maxing out your credit card limit each month, this may count against you.

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    Benefits Of Credit Limit Increase Vs New Card

    Anyone who is looking to increase their available credit probably wants the ability to spend more with the card. This could be for several different reasons. You may want to put more of your everyday spending on the card to earn rewards. Maybe you have a big upcoming purchase that you want to use the card for and have budgeted to pay it off over time.

    If you need extra credit, then you have two options. You can work to get an increased credit limit on the current card, or you can apply for a new card. While getting a new card might be attractive because of the sign-up bonus that it offers, it might not be the best choice for you. Every time you get a new card, your average length of credit decreases. Because length of credit makes up 15% of your credit score, you could see a short-term decrease in your FICO score.

    The next time you are looking to add more available credit, you may be better off forgoing a new card and asking for a credit limit increase on an existing card.

    6 Benefits Of Increasing Your Credit Limit

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