What is a credit limit?

A credit limit is the utmost sum that you can spend with a credit calling card or line of credit. Having high limits lets you spend more and can be good for your credit scores, but can besides make it easier to overspend and rack up a distribute of debt. column bill : Credit Karma receives compensation from third-party advertisers, but that doesn ’ thymine affect our editors ’ opinions. Our third-party advertisers don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate review, approve or endorse our editorial content. It ’ randomness accurate to the best of our cognition when posted .Advertiser Disclosure

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Your credit limit is the absolute maximum amount of money that your lender will let you borrow while using your credit card or line of credit.

For exercise, each time you buy something with your credit rating tease, your buy sum is added to your credit wag counterweight. To know how a lot available credit you have left to spend, just subtract your balance from your credit limit. When you make a payment, your balance goes down, and the sum you can spend increases .
If you ’ re wondering what your credit card or pipeline of credit ’ south specify is, you can normally find it by logging into your report. many creditors provide this information on your on-line dashboard or on any monthly statements .
Your citation limits are important for a few reasons. Higher credit rating limits offer you more tractability when it comes to using your account. But they could besides make it easier to overspend and wind up in debt. additionally, how much of your limit you use can besides have an consequence on your credit scores .
Let ’ s explore how credit limits are set, why they ’ re crucial, how they affect your accredit scores and what you can do to improve your overall credit rating health with your credit limits .

What does a credit limit mean and how is it decided?

As we mentioned, a credit limit is the ceiling of what your credit poster issuer or lender will allow you to borrow from them. They set your limit based on respective factors including those they consider when assessing your accredit scores, like your payment history and credit utilization .
The chart below shows that by and large, Credit Karma members who have higher VantageScore 3.0 credit rating scores besides broadly have higher average credit menu limits .
cced_creditlimit_su0221 effigy : cced_creditlimit_su0221
While each lender has its own method of determining the credit limit for each of your cards, one of the clear considerations lenders factor into their decision is your ability to repay the money that you borrow .
Your requital history can give lenders a key penetration as to how responsible you ’ ve been with handling your money and debts up until you applied to borrow from them. The more immaculate and on-time your payment history is, the better the chance that a lender will think lending money to you is a dependable idea. The more comfortable a lender is with lend you money, the higher your credit specify could be, as the lender may be comfortable with letting you borrow more .
Another factor lenders may consider in deciding your credit limit is how much you make. even if you have perfect credit, there ’ second credibly no way you could pay off a $ 100,000 credit card balance if your income is $ 20,000 a year. If you have a higher income, a lender may be more likely to give you a higher credit limit .
Learn more about the factors that affect your credit scores .

How credit limits can affect your credit scores

We mentioned that lenders will besides consider your credit utilization rate, or the total of money that you owe compared to the sum total of accredit you have access to. A humble accredit utilization mark is another indication that you ’ re able to use your credit responsibly and sends a sign to prospective lenders that you might be a good candidate for their citation products if you meet other criteria. Experts by and large agree that you should keep your credit rating use pace below 30 % whenever potential.

then, how do you know what your credit use rate is ? To calculate it, divide the entire amount of your credit card balances by your full credit card limits .
If your credit use is above 30 %, you may find that increasing your credit limit can give your credit scores a promote. Because if you increase your accredit limit but keep your credit poster usage the same, your recognition use pace will go down. This is a beneficial way to try to improve your credit if you ’ re regularly holding large balances on your cards .
Of path, increasing your credit limits means that you can spend more on your cards, which could make it easier for you to overspend and wind up in debt. This will cost you money and could decrease your credit scores if your credit utilization proportion gets besides gamey .

How to improve your credit with a credit limit increase

You might want to increase your credit limit for a few reasons. For case, you may be looking for more flexibility when it comes to how a lot you can spend .
The easiest manner to try to increase your credit restrict is to simply ask. Most batting order issuers let you request an increased credit specify through their web site or over the phone .
But keep in mind that when you request a credit limit increase from your credit tease ship’s company, they may perform a hard credit question to determine if you ’ rhenium eligible. This could lower your scores by a few points, or it may have a negligible effect on your scores. Each calling card issuer will have its own rules and processes surrounding credit limit increases .
Remember that not all requests will be approved. Your poster issuer will consider your request much like a request for a modern card, considering factors such as …

  • Your payment history
  • Your credit scores
  • Your income
  • Your employment status

If you ’ re looking to increase your overall citation limits rather than your credit limit on a specific card you can besides try applying for a new accredit card. If you ’ re approved, your fresh poster will have its own recognition limit, freelancer of the limits of your other cards — but remember, this will trigger a hard inquiry and potentially affect your credit scores negatively .

What to do if you have an unreported credit limit

While a lender might report on your score bodily process to the chest of drawers, it may not inevitably report your credit limit. And since your citation limits can have a positive shock on your credit scores ( specially if they ’ ve gone up or you ’ re using less than 30 % of your restrict ), you ’ ll generally want your lenders to report your limits to the agency. If you have an unreported credit limit, here are a few options to consider .

  • Request that a credit limit be reported. Call up your menu issuer ’ s customer service to find out if the issuer might change how it reports your tease. Keep in mind that menu issuers aren ’ triiodothyronine required to report to the chest of drawers, but it doesn ’ t hurt to ask .
  • Consider opening a new credit card account. If the card that isn ’ thyroxine reporting a restrict is one of only a few credit accounts on your reports — and you ’ re in a position to take on some extra credit — consider opening a newly recognition calling card. Make sure you find the best credit card for you and research whether the issuer will report your accredit terminus ad quem to the credit chest of drawers. Keep in judgment that opening a new score will decrease your average age of citation and will add a hard question to your credit reports, which could cause your accredit scores to decrease .
  • Decrease usage of the card. While you shouldn ’ t inevitably close your credit card score, it may be knowing to use your poster less frequently while still keeping it active in rate to lower your overall credit use rate .

Next steps

credit limits determine how a lot you can spend using your credit cards and serve as a way for lenders to limit the risk of lending money. Having high credit limits can be a good thing, because it gives you the flexibility to spend money when you need to — and it may help you maintain good credit scores.

But having eminent recognition limits can be dangerous, as overspending on a high-limit card may put you into more debt than you can well pay off .
Aim to have accredit limits eminent adequate that you ’ re only spending 30 % or less of your limit, but not so high that you wouldn ’ thyroxine be able to handle the debt if you ever find yourself reaching those limits. Your credit terminus ad quem should be something to stay far below, rather than a target to hit .
About the author: TJ Porter is a Boston-based freelance writer who specializes in bank accounts, credit, and credit cards. He’s written for Bankrate, CardCruncher, DollarSprout and My Bank Tracker, among others. In his spare time, TJ e… TJ Porter is a Boston-based freelance writer who specializes in bank accounts, credit, and credit cards. He ’ randomness written for Bankrate, CardCruncher, DollarSprout and My Bank Tracker, among others. In his spare time, TJ e… Read more.

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