How Often Does Capital One Increase Credit Limits?
by Elizabeth Aldrich | Jan. 14, 2019
Increasing the credit limit on your Capital One credit card can be a great way to add more flexibility to your budget and possibly increase your score. Capital One does allow credit limit increases, but only to eligible cardholders. Luckily, even folks with an average credit score may qualify for a high credit limit.
Find out whether or not you're eligible for a credit limit increase with Capital One, how often you can request a credit limit increase, and how it will affect your credit score.
Does a credit limit increase affect your credit score?
Increasing your credit limit or getting a good high limit credit card can be a good way to increase your credit score, but it doesn't always work that way. There are two factors at play here: your debt-to-credit ratio, and your recent inquiries.
Your debt-to-credit ratio, also known as your credit utilization rate, is the ratio of debt you have to your available credit. This is calculated across all accounts and on each individual account. If you have a balance of $3,000 across all of your credit cards and a total available credit (the credit limits of all your credit cards added up) of $10,000, your credit utilization rate is 30%. This is a good credit utilization rate.
This number is a major factor in calculating your "Amounts Owed," which makes up 30% of your FICO Score®. The general rule of thumb is to keep this number below 30%, although there are no official published guidelines. We do know that a lower credit utilization rate is always better. Keep in mind that this number is updated continually, so if you tend to bump up against your credit limit each month, using all of your available credit could still be hurting your score even if you pay off your balance in full each month.
"New Credit" is a category that makes up 10% of your FICO Score®, and a major factor in calculating this number is the amount of recent inquiries you have on your account. Each time a lender pulls your credit report, it results in an inquiry. If it's a soft inquiry, it won't affect your credit score. If it's a hard inquiry, it will show up on your credit history and could decrease your score slightly and temporarily. Some lenders process credit limit increase requests as a soft inquiry and some process them as a hard inquiry. One or two hard inquiries won't make a noticeable dent, but having a lot in the past year can hurt your credit score.
Overall, requesting too many credit limit increases in a short period of time can drag down your score, and if you're denied, it will do nothing to help your score. However, if you're approved for a credit limit increase, your credit utilization rate will decrease, which will likely more than offset any dip caused by an inquiry. The takeaway here is that requesting a credit limit increase can boost your credit score, but it's important to make sure you're eligible before applying in order to minimize the chances of a rejection.
When should you ask for a credit limit increase?
Given the information above about how a credit limit increase can affect your credit score, you should only request to have your credit limit increased if you meet the following circumstances:
- You're eligible according to the rules of your credit card issuers AND
- You're currently using a significant portion of your available credit on a regular basis OR
- You plan to close a credit card in the near future
If your credit utilization rate stays below 10% each month, there isn't much reason to request a credit limit increase. However, if you plan to close a credit card in the near future, you might want to request a credit limit increase on a credit card you plan to leave open in order to offset the available credit you'll lose by closing a card.
What you need to know about requesting a credit limit increase from Capital One
Now that you understand how credit limit increases affect your credit score and when you should request one, it's time to get into the details of how credit limit increases work with Capital One.
How often can I get a credit limit increase from Capital One?
Capital One lets you request a credit limit increase online as often as you want, but you can only be approved once every six months. If you've received a credit limit increase or a credit limit decrease in the last six months, you won't be approved for a credit limit increase.
Additionally, if your account is less than three months old, you won't qualify for a credit limit increase. Even if your account is older than three months, you still might be denied for having a new account. People with accounts that are at least 12 months old have the best chance at receiving approval.
Does a credit limit increase with Capital One result in a hard pull?
The good news is requests for a credit limit increase with Capital One are processed as a soft inquiry, meaning they won't damage your credit score.
Eligibility requirements for a credit limit increase with Capital One
In order to qualify for a credit limit increase with Capital One, your account needs to meet the following requirements:
- It must be at least three months old.
- You can't have received an increase or decrease in your credit limit within the past six months.
- Your account must be unsecured (in other words, secured credit cards don't qualify).
Of course, meeting these qualification requirements doesn't guarantee that you'll be approved for a credit limit increase. Here are the factors that Capital One considers when deciding whether or not to grant you a credit limit increase.
- On-time payments
- The amount of your monthly payments
- Your credit score
- How much credit you use -- if you rarely use your credit card, your chances of approval are lower
They will likely also consider your disposable income and employment status in relation to the amount of credit you have available. Banks don't like to extend more credit to you than they think you can handle.
How to increase your chances of approval for a credit limit increase with Capital One
According to Capital One, there are a number of steps you can take to increase your chances of approval for a higher credit line in the future. Of course, even if you follow all of these steps, you are never guaranteed to receive approval.
- Pay your bills every month on time.
- Make more than your monthly minimum payment. Ideally, you should be paying off your balance in full each month.
- Make sure all of your accounts, whether with Capital One or another bank, remain in good standing.
- Update your employment and income information regularly.
- Use your Capital One credit card often. If you only charge $30 to your credit card each month, your chances of approval for a credit limit increase are lower.
How to request a credit limit increase from Capital One
The process of requesting a credit limit increase with Capital One is quick and easy, and everything can be done completely online. The following steps explain the process.
- Log into your Capital One account and click on Services. Click on Request Credit Line Increase.
- Fill out the request form. It will ask for the following information: annual income, employment status, monthly mortgage/rent payment, and monthly spend with credit cards.
- Submit your request.
You may receive an immediate decision, but more than likely, you'll be sent to a "Request Received" page. You'll get a decision within two to three business days if you have a paperless account or 10 days by mail.
Requesting a credit limit increase by phone
If you'd prefer to call Capital One and request a credit limit increase that way, you can give them a call at 1-800-955-7070. You'll be able to submit your request through an automated response, so you don't have to speak to a customer service representative.
Remember that while increasing your credit line can help your credit score, having more available credit can also do serious damage to your credit score if you don't use it responsibly. Maintaining an excellent credit score will help you qualify for some of the best credit cards on the market. Make sure you always make on-time monthly payments and pay off your balance in full whenever possible to avoid interest charges.
Our credit card expert uses the card we reveal below, and it could earn you $1,148 (seriously)
As long as you pay them off each month, credit cards are a no-brainer for savvy Americans. They protect against fraud far better than debit cards, help raise your credit score, and can put hundreds (or thousands!) of dollars in rewards back in your pocket each year.
But with so many cards out there, you need to choose wisely. This top-rated card offers the ability to pay 0% interest on purchases until late 2021, has some of the most generous cash back rewards we’ve ever seen (up to 5%!), and somehow still sports a $0 annual fee.
That’s why our expert – who has reviewed hundreds of cards – signed up for this one personally. Click here to get free access to our expert’s top pick.
About the Author
We’re firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers. The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.