Published in: Credit Cards | Dec. 17, 2018

How to Increase Your Chase Credit Card Limit

By:  Lyle Daly

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Find out everything you need to know on how to increase your Chase credit card limit, including the steps to take, how much of an increase to expect, and the impact it could have on your credit score.

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A low credit limit can be a constant inconvenience. It’s harder to keep your credit utilization below 30%, so there’s the risk of dinging your credit score if your balance is too high. And if you end up reaching the limit, your transactions could start getting declined.

The obvious solution is to ask the bank to raise your limit. If you’re interested in doing this with a Chase credit card, I’m going to explain the ins and outs of that process.

What you need to get started

First, you should make sure that there’s a realistic shot of Chase granting your request. The two must-haves for this are:

  • At least six months of account history
  • A track record of on-time payments

It also helps if you’ve been paying more than the minimum and keeping your credit utilization low.

When you’re a new cardholder, you’ve made late payments, or you’ve been carrying a large balance, Chase probably isn’t going to raise your credit limit. All those are red flags indicating some degree of risk.

3 steps to increase your Chase credit card limit

Assuming you’ve had your card for over six months and you’ve been making on-time payments that cover all or the majority of what you owe, here’s how to request an increase:

1. Call the number on the back of your Chase credit card.

Although Chase has a page for credit limit increases on its site, this is only an option for cardholders who have already received an increase offer. When you don’t have an offer, you need to call Chase.

2. Make your case for a credit limit increase.

Start by telling the representative that you’d like to request an increase to your credit limit. The representative will usually ask you why you want that increase.

The best way to go here is to point out anything demonstrating that you’re a responsible cardholder who can handle more credit. Examples include paying on time, making more than the minimum payments, and maintaining low credit utilization. If you’ve recently increased your income, you should mention that as well.

If you’re planning to do a balance transfer and need a higher credit limit to make it work, make sure to say so. Banks like when you transfer balances to their cards, because they can make money on fees and any interest you incur.

3. See what the representative says.

The best-case scenario is that they agree to raise your credit limit right away. They may, however, tell you that they need to run a credit check. In that case, it will be a hard credit check, just like what banks run when you apply for a credit card. They’ll use the information from the credit check to decide whether to approve your request.

You have a good chance of success if you met the prerequisites I mentioned above. If your request is declined, the representative will explain why.

The ceiling on credit limits

The amount of a credit limit increase can vary substantially depending on the situation.

If you’re requesting an increase six months after getting the card without any major changes in your credit score or income, Chase may bump your limit up 10%. On the other hand, if you’ve had the card for two years and obtained a much higher salary in that timeframe, Chase may double your credit limit.

Conventional wisdom says an increase of 10% to 25% is a standard amount, so if your financial situation hasn’t changed much, that’s typically what you should expect.

Can you request a larger increase?

Let’s say Chase agrees to increase your credit limit, but for a lower amount than you’d like. Don’t be shy about requesting more, as it can’t hurt to ask.

While this doesn’t always work, there are reports of cardholders who have gotten a larger increase by asking for it.

Do credit card limits increase automatically?

Yes, Chase and other banks review their credit card accounts periodically. If you’ve been a responsible cardholder, you could receive an increase without needing to ask. There’s usually no notification when this happens, so before you call about an increase, check your credit limit to make sure it hasn’t already happened.

How long does it take?

The rule of thumb is that your Chase credit card account must be at least six months old before you can have the limit on it increased.

It wouldn’t make sense for Chase to increase your limit any sooner than that. After all, they ran a hard credit check on you, evaluated your financial situation, and set a credit limit when you applied for the card. If that wasn’t very long ago, they have no reason to adjust their decision.

How credit limit increases affect your credit score

There are two potential ways a credit limit increase can affect your credit score:

  • If Chase runs a hard credit check on you, that can decrease your score a small amount
  • If you had high credit utilization, an increased credit limit can lower that and boost your credit score 

A hard credit check isn’t a big deal, as it’s typically only a ding of about five points, and your score can recover completely within six months to a year. The only time when you’d want to avoid a hard credit check is before applying for a loan or mortgage, because with those, even a minor drop in your credit score can mean a higher interest rate.

On a positive note, a higher credit limit will always mean a lower credit utilization, and that’s a much more significant part of your credit score.

Alternatives to a credit limit increase

Increasing your credit limit probably isn’t your only option. Here are two alternatives that could be just as good or better:

Apply for a new credit card -- If the goal is simply to have more available credit, then you could always apply for a new credit card, either with Chase or another bank. One advantage of this method is that the credit limit on a new credit card could be much greater than what your increase would have been.

You can also take advantage of sign-up bonuses and other introductory offers when applying for a new card. This is especially smart if you’re interested in transferring balances, since there are cards with introductory 0% APRs.

Shift your credit -- If you have multiple Chase credit cards, you may be able to shift your credit, which is when you reduce the credit limit of one card, and then add that same amount to the limit of another card. This is a smart strategy when you only care about changing your credit limit on one card and Chase isn’t willing to increase it for you.

When shifting credit, remember:

  • You can’t shift credit between personal and business credit cards
  • Each card has a minimum required credit limit depending on the type of card it is, so you can only reduce a card’s cred 

Making the most of a higher credit limit

A higher credit limit is a useful tool, but only if you use it correctly.

You should still focus on paying off any credit card debt and not carrying a balance from month to month, regardless of your credit limit. Don’t fall into the trap of seeing a higher limit as an invitation to spend more money.

Where a higher credit limit helps the most is the flexibility and freedom it provides. You can put more of your normal expenses on your credit card to earn more cash back or travel rewards. You don’t need to micromanage your balance after every purchase. And when you continue using your credit responsibly, banks will see that and be more willing to approve you for new cards and more credit increases in the future.

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