Alternatives If Your Credit Limit Is Low
If you have a low credit limit or your credit limit recently got cut, you may wonder what you should do to avoid going over-limit.
If you’ve had a low credit limit for a while and currently have a stable job, you may want to request a credit limit increase. This can be a good idea if you have good credit or excellent credit or if you haven’t updated your income in a while and make more money than what’s listed. Take note, your card issuer may pull your during the request, which may cause a small, temporary ding to your credit score.
On the other hand, if your credit limit was reduced, you may want to consider other options. Cardholders with good payment history and a stable job should call their card issuer and ask for reconsideration, Harzog says. When you call, ask why your credit limit was cut, explain that your account is in good standing and that you have a stable source of income to pay off your bill. This may shed light on why your limit was lowered and potentially result in your credit limit increasing though there is no guarantee.
Meanwhile, cardholders with a history of missed payments or maxing out their card shouldn’t call for reconsideration since it’s probably not a good idea to draw attention to yourself, Harzog says.
Instead of asking for a credit limit increase on the card that had a reduction, these cardholders may want to consider any other cards they have.
Your Credit Card Debt Goes Up
It can take years to pay off your credit card debt, especially if you only pay the minimum each month. And if youre an average American, youre carrying $4,293 in credit card debt already.1 At an annual percentage rate of 16.74%, thats a monthly interest charge of $718.65.
If your financial situation changes for the worse, that debt load can quickly become a burden. And missing monthly payments can further decrease your credit score.
To avoid maxing out your credit card, know your limit and keep track of your balance.
If youve already carrying a high balance on a maxed out credit card, consider a balance transfer credit card with a 0% intro APR if you can get approved for one. If you transfer a balance to a card with no interest on balance transfers for 12 or more months, you can put the money youd pay in interest on the balance toward the balance on the new card instead.
Going Over The Limit Could Save You Money
The other situation in which you may want to consider spending over your credit limit is a case in which going over your credit limit actually saves you money. This is a much more grey situation and will require you to do some math.
Occasionally it is obvious, like if you have terrible vision and broke your only pair of glasses. In this situation, if you cannot work without your glasses, you will lose pay for each day that you wait for a new pair in addition to how much they cost. It might be worth spending over your limit to get them replaced as fast as possible.
How Do Banks Determine Your Credit Card Limit
When your application reaches a financial institution, the issuer will review your credit history and income to determine how much credit to extend to you. Issuers want to know that you can repay any credit youve been given and that youre financially prudent.
Heres how they determine the credit card limit:
The first concern is a customers propensity for timely payments. A credit card may not be issued to customers if the institution views them as high-risk borrowers due to past payment defaults or large debts.
The financial institution will verify a customers ability to repay the credit. So, if the debt-to-income ratio is 35%, the institution issues the credit card quickly. However, if the ratio is 50% or higher, it might be more difficult for the customer to get approved for a credit card.
If a customer is young and has not made any payments, the issuer will either not issue the card or set a lower credit limit. The minimum age to apply for a credit card is 18 years.
If a potential customer already holds a credit card from another company, the institution checks the customers credit score and assesses whether or not he is a low-risk borrower.
Over time, the credit card limit might change. The main determinants are the borrowers history of timely payments and how frequently he uses his credit card.
Should You Enroll In Over
I dont recommend enrolling for over-limit protection, and I dont do so on my credit cards. This is because Id prefer that a transaction be declined instead of pushing me over my credit limit. Even though the fees for going over your credit limit arent excessive, Id rather not incur these fees and put my account in default.
However, one reason to enroll in over-limit protection is if you dont want to face a declined transaction. For example, if you only carry one credit card, it may be worth opting for over-limit protection to avoid being declined under embarrassing or inconvenient circumstances.
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Does Overpaying Credit Card Affect Credit Score
Truth: Overpaying has no more impact on your credit score than paying the full balance does. Paying down your credit card to a balance of zero is good for your credit score, but you won’t see an extra boost by purposefully overpaying, because it will still show up as a zero balance on your credit report.
What Happens When You Go Over Your Credit Limit
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Every credit card comes with a credit limit, which is the amount of money you are allowed to borrow with the card. Exceeding this threshold can result in a variety of negative consequences, from credit damage to embarrassing moments at the checkout counter. For this reason, it’s important to understand what can happen when you go over your credit limit, and why it’s smart to pay attention to your running balance.
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Should I Apply For A Card Solely For A Balance Transfer
Balance transfers allow you to consolidate your debts from other credit cards into a single credit card or simply move a balance from one card to another to take advantage of a low interest rate to to help you optimise your payment regime.
However, some banks do not take lightly to people solely applying for credit cards to transfer a balance and if they suspect that is what you are doing they will be quick to deny your application. That said it doesnt mean you shouldnt try. However, remember that for balance transfers your credit limit needs to be enough to cover the balance you want to transfer and you wouldnt be able to guess how much of a credit limit the bank will give you when applying for a card.
In short, consider the pros and cons of applying for a card for this reason by getting to know balance transfers a little better first.
Ask For A Higher Credit Limit
If you’re a credit card holder in good standing, you can always ask your issuer to increase your credit limit. A credit line increase is an especially viable option if your income has gone up since you first got your credit card, or if you have a good credit score. Granted, a higher credit limit could tempt you into more spending. But it can also buy you more protection. In emergency situations, having a higher credit limit gives you more leeway when things happen that are out of your control.
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Benefits Of Increasing The Credit Limit On Your Card
You probably already have surmised some of the benefits of increasing the credit limit on your card, but here they are just so you know how an increase in your cards credit limit can help you:
Lowers Your Credit Utilisation Ratio: You probably already know this. But the importance of maintaining a low credit utilisation ratio cannot be stated enough. The lower the ratio the higher your CIBIL score.
Makes It Easier to Get Loans: A high credit limit that you do not use makes banks and lenders look at you more favourably. Thus, getting approved for a loan becomes that much easier.
Helps During an Emergency: A higher credit limit always comes in handy during a financial or a health emergency.
Access to Perks: Most credit cards that come with a high credit limit also come with many perks such as airport lounge access, membership to hotels, etc.
Don’t Just Check Your Balance At The End Of Your Billing Cycle
Sometimes, people go over their credit limit because they simply lose track of how much they’ve spent. It happens to the best of us. To avoid that, make a point to check your credit card balances every week. If you see one of them start to climb, you’ll need to be careful with charging expenses until your billing cycle rolls over and you’ve paid some of your balance down.
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How To Avoid Charging Past Your Credit Limit
It can be easy to lose track of how much you’re spending with your credit card and then find yourself dangerously near the limit. You can avoid this situation with a few strategies:
- Charge and pay. You will never have to wonder whether or not you’re close to the limit if you pay off your charges right away. Download your bank’s app to make the transaction immediately. Charge $300 worth of groceries? Send $300 to your credit card issuer before getting in the car and driving away.
- Set a fixed charging amount for the month. To keep your credit utilization ratio under 30%, figure out how much that will be for your card and stick to it. If your card’s credit limit is $1,000, $300 will be your personal limit.
- Review your statements weekly. You can prevent balances from getting out of hand by pulling up your credit card statement at least weekly. If the amount you owe is creeping up, stop charging.
- Request a credit limit increase. It’s entirely possible that your credit limit is simply too low for your lifestyle needs. If you have been a good cardholder and your credit reports and scores are in great shape , appeal to the issuer for a credit limit increase. It will also analyze your income and credit habits, and as long as you meet the issuer’s criteria, it may increase your limit.
Should I Decrease My Credit Card Limit
Most of the times, the answer is no. This is because your credit utilization ratio accounts for about 30% of your credit score. By asking for a lower credit card limit, youre directly increasing your credit utilization ratio which will negatively impact your score.
Besides that, having a good amount of credit available at your disposal can help out financially when unexpected expenses pop up out of the blue.
Another reason you wouldnt want to decrease your credit card limit is because a line of credit reduction has no positive impact on your credit score.
When would asking for a lower credit limit make sense?
Despite what was previously just stated, when high credit limits are too tempting and you cant control your impulse to spend, youre better off asking for a decrease in your credit limit or just cut up the card in order to eliminate any spending outside of your means.
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What Happens When You Spend Over The Credit Limit
Mostly all issuers charge the penalty of over-limit fees on credit cards however, this facility is subjected to terms and conditions as well as some consequences. The consequences differ in case you have chosen an over-limit protection plan or not it is a feature that offers you to spend more than your credit limit. Over-limit protection plans allow you to occasionally spend over the credit limit, but that also comes with consequences. On the other hand, if you do not have an over-limit protection plan activated, your over-limit credit transaction would be declined.
Some of the common consequences that you might have to in case of over-limit credit transaction are:
Impact Of Going Over Your Credit Limit
Your credit score could be impacted if your credit card balance is over the limit when your creditor reports your account to the credit bureau, which is typically on your account statement closing date. An over-the-limit credit card balance increases your credit utilization and could lower your credit score. You can avoid having the high utilization reported to the three national credit bureaus by paying your balance down before your account statement closes.
If you need to make a purchase that would exceed your available credit, first ask your credit card issuer for a . You can also try splitting the transaction, paying for a portion on your credit card and the remainder using a debit card or cash.
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No More Over Limit Fees
Many credit cards have eliminated credit limit fees that would be charged if you go over your credit limit. Credit card issuers that do charge fees have to follow certain rules.
If your card issuer does charge a fee, the fee cant exceed the amount that youve gone over your limit. For example, if you go over your credit limit by $15, the maximum fee you can be charged is $15. Check your credit card terms or call the card’s customer service to find out whether you’ll be charged a fee for going over the limit and the amount of the fee you’ll be charged.
Even if your credit card issuer doesnt charge a fee, there may be other penalties for going over your credit limit. Going over your credit limit may trigger the penalty rate, the highest interest rate charged on your credit card. The credit card issuer may raise your minimum payment to compensate for the amount that youve exceeded your credit limit.
Going over your credit limit is a sign that youre not able to manage your credit. Even though they may permit you to exceed your limit, credit card issuers may view it unfavorably. Some credit card issuers may even lower your credit limit or close your credit card account.
Might Lower Your Credit Score
The consequences of going over your credit limit can compound to reduce your credit score significantly, making it harder to get credit in the future. Utilization rate is a key player here and has a huge impact on your credit score. Utilization rate is the amount of credit you have used versus the amount you have available. Its best to keep it to less than 30%.
Consider this as well: The average age of all your credit accounts, including credit cards, auto loans, mortgages, and school loans. Age of credit has less of an impact than your utilization rate, but the only way to make it go up is to have accounts open and wait.
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Why Would Credit Card Issuers Let Me Go Over My Credit Limit
Before the Credit CARD Act, over-limit fees were another way for credit card companies to make money. They would typically authorize transactions over limits and then charge fees, usually between $25 and $35. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Americans saved more than $9 billion in over-limit fees between 2011 and 2014.
But there are now other possible consequences for going over your credit card limit. If youre over your limit or regularly try to go over it, your issuer might decide to reduce your credit limit, increase your monthly minimum payment, or charge a penalty APR.
Thats why you should consider carefully whether you want to opt in and have the ability to spend beyond your limit.
There are all kinds of reasons, like medical expenses, divorce, or job loss, you might suddenly be dependent on your credit card. But dont make it worse than it already is. Dont opt in to go over your limit, says Beverly Harzog, a credit card expert and consumer financial analyst for U.S. News and World Report.
What To Do Before Requesting A Credit Line Increase
Making sure your credit profile is up-to-date can help you obtain a quick decision since the card issuer will have less information to verify.
Before you request an increase, verify the address and phone number on file. More importantly, make sure your employment status and income are accurate. Many cards will also verify your current housing payments to ensure a credit increase wont overextend your budget.
You should also review your credit report in advance to make sure there are no errors or fraudulent activity. While consumers are normally eligible for three free credit reports each year , all three bureaus are offering weekly access through April 2021. If theres incorrect or fraudulent activity, youll want to fix your credit report before requesting a credit increase.
Also, if able, youll also want to pay down your existing credit card balances as much as possible. Card issuers will deem you a lower risk if you have lower existing debt levels.
These are all steps you should take regularly, even if youre not planning on requesting a credit increase in the immediate future.
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