‘How do I get a high limit credit card?’ is a question I've been asked many times. There are any number of reasons someone may be looking for a high limit credit card. Maybe they want it for a big home renovation project, perhaps they need to make a large business purchase, or maybe they want to max out rewards by charging as much as possible on the card.
No matter your reason for wanting a high credit limit credit card, here are some strategies to make it happen.
Before trying to get a high credit limit you should make sure you understand what that means. When talking about credit cards, your credit limit refers to the amount of credit you have available to spend on that card.
According to Experian, the average credit limit across all age groups was a little over $30,000 in 2020. However, credit limits varied significantly by age. Those aged 18-23 had average credit limits of just $8,870 while Baby Boomers had average credit limits of $38,679.
It may seem like having a high credit limit on a credit would be a bad thing, but in reality it can help your credit scores. A credit card with a high limit can help improve your credit utilization ratio, which is a key credit score factor. It also gives you more flexibility if you’re trying to charge as much as possible to your card to earn rewards.
Credit utilization (also called “debt usage” or "debt utilization") is one of the key components used to calculate your FICO credit scores. Other scoring models like VantageScore will take this into consideration as well.
This ratio compares your balance to your credit limit on each card. High utilization can hurt your credit scores. Though there's no specific ratio required, you may want to try to keep it below 25% or even 20% to be safe.
If you keep your balance the same and get a higher credit limit your credit utilization rate drops automatically. Having a lower credit utilization ratio will often increase your credit scores and can make getting credit– including getting a mortgage– easier.
Of course you should always make sure you are following best practices when it comes to using your credit cards:
If you think a high credit card limit would be good for you and your goals, here are a few tips to help you qualify:
Before you do anything, check your current credit scores. Most issuers prefer good to excellent credit scores (at least 680– 720 plus). If you aren’t sure what your credit scores are, check out my article, 138+ places to check your credit scores for free.
Next, don’t cancel current accounts in order to try and go for one big one. Other issuers are going to check your credit scores and how much credit you have available isn’t likely to hurt your scores or affect your chances of approval. Canceling a credit card account may lower your credit scores and is unlikely to boost them.
Then, just ask! If you have good credit your issuers may be happy to increase your credit limits.
Strong income can help you qualify for a higher credit limit so don't shortchange yourself when filling out your application. Issuers won’t know how much money you have in the bank; instead they will rely on the income you list on your application. Issuers often also have minimum income requirements, and high income not only helps you get approved but can help you get a higher credit limit. If you have a spouse or partner who would be willing to pay the bill if you couldn't, you can list their income as joint household income on your application. If your income increases, you can update your profile with that higher number. Many issuers make that easy to do online, but if not, call customer service.
By the way, if you're planning on leaving your job and want high limit credit cards to start your own business, you should ideally secure the card before you quit and your income drops.
Another tip I learned from credit card expert Jason Steele is to consolidate cards. “Apply for a card that offers promotional financing from the same card issuer as some of (your) current cards,” he explains. “Apply over the phone and request that some of (your) existing lines of credit be transferred to the new card. Banks are often willing to do this as it limits their exposure to new debt.”
I’ve used a version of this technique successfully in the past. I had two cards from the same issuer and closed one by asking the issuer to apply the credit limit from the card I didn’t want to the one I wanted to keep. They agreed on the spot and I maintained my same total credit limits, plus I boosted the limit on the other card significantly.
For those who want to try and get a new credit card with a high credit limit, it can be helpful to know which credit cards tend to offer higher limits. While it’s impossible to predict what credit limit you’ll get, generally premium reward cards and business credit cards offer higher limits.
If you have a business (even a side gig), consider applying for a business credit card. This offers a couple of advantages. First, not all business cards are reported to personal credit if you pay the bills. That means if you do have to carry a high balance, you won't inadvertently hurt your credit scores because of high usage. (Here's an article that lists how major business cards affect personal credit.) And of course, the second advantage is that you're more likely to get a higher limit on a business credit card.
Another one of my fellow credit card experts, Beverly Harzog, offers the following suggestions for finding cards with high limits:
"Chase tends to target those with higher incomes and excellent credit. The Chase Sapphire Preferred is known to give high credit limits to those who qualify. And even though Capital One tends to target those with fair-to-good credit, the Capital One Venture Rewards card has been known to give high credit limits. If a credit card appeals to you, test the waters by calling customer service and inquire about the credit limit you might expect."
Finding and getting high credit limits can give you more spending power and help you maintain good credit scores, making it worth the effort.