You’ve been paying your Chase credit card bill regularly and haven’t maxed out the card. Is now a good time to ask for a credit limit increase? Requesting one can be beneficial in certain circumstances, especially for those who are able to successfully manage their spending.
Card issuer policies can vary on how to request a credit limit increase, as well as the criteria that companies use to approve or decline a request. Learn the process for getting a Chase credit card limit increase, how to qualify and whether or not it’s a good move.
How to Get a Chase Credit Card Limit Increase
Getting a Chase credit card limit increase can happen in one of two ways:
1. Chase can increase your limit without prompting.
2. You can request a Chase credit card limit increase.
While some issuers have an online credit limit request function, Chase does not; you have to get on the phone. “Just call the number on the back of your card and request a credit line increase,” says Kristen Bowdoin, general manager of Chase Freedom and Slate cards.
When you get a representative on the line, simply ask if you’re eligible for a credit limit increase. After verifying your identity, the rep may ask if there have been any changes to your finances — maybe your income level has changed since you first opened the card.
The representative will then review your account history, check your credit, and within a few minutes, you’ll have a decision. It’s that simple.
[Read: Best Cash Back Credit Cards.]
How Often Does Chase Allow a Credit Limit Increase?
Chase card members can request credit line increases every six months, says Bowdoin.
In fact, one of the key selling points of Chase’s newest card, the Slate Edge, is that new cardholders will automatically be eligible for a credit line increase if they spend $500 in the first six months and make timely payments. “The high majority of card members will receive the credit line increase after the period of timely payments,” says Bowdoin. After that, any future line increases must be requested.
Six months is a good rule of thumb when it comes to requesting increases to your credit lines (or seeking any new credit), says Rod Griffin, senior director of consumer education and advocacy for Experian, one of the three major credit bureaus. “Generally, we say don’t apply for a lot of credit all at once, and give some time between,” he says. That’s because asking for credit in a short period of time can signal to the credit scoring models that you may be having cash flow issues and pose a higher risk.
What Is the Credit Limit Maximum for a Chase Card?
Chase does not disclose specific credit line maximums; it depends on the particular card program and your history.
Factors that go into the decision to raise your limit across issuers are things like your current limit, age of your account, when your last increase was and how you’ve managed that account overall, Griffin says.
How to Qualify for a Chase Credit Card Limit Increase
Qualifying for a Chase credit card limit increase really comes down to your personal credit behaviors. “After a card member’s request, we would make a determination based on a number of factors, but not limited to account history, creditworthiness, payment history and more,” says Bowdoin.
For example, if you have late payments on the account, Chase may be less inclined to give you more credit. The issuer is also going to want to see that you use the card regularly. Ultimately, the review could get into a wide breadth of factors, says Bowdoin — “everything ranging from payment, utilization, as well as credit history.”
Before initiating a credit line increase request, Griffin recommends taking a look at your credit report, which you can do for free, to see where you stand. “That way you’ll go in armed with the same information that they might review, or maybe even more than they’re going to look at,” he says.
Along those lines, Bowdoin recommends that Chase cardholders take advantage of Chase’s free Credit Journey tool, which offers a free credit score check and personalized insights with specific suggestions for improving their utilization and overall credit.
If your credit report and/or Credit Journey profile indicate that you’re in a solid position, the odds of your credit limit increase getting approved will be better.
What to Do If You’re Denied a Chase Credit Card Limit Increase
Getting denied for a Chase credit card limit increase isn’t the end of the world. It likely means one of two things: Your timing is off, or your financial status needs improving. If you’ve had your card less than six months, or your last limit increase was recent, then you may simply need to wait a bit longer.
On the other hand, getting denied could signal that you have some financial maintenance to do. It’s in your best interest to figure out what your credit shortcomings are, says Griffin. “If an issuer makes its decision based on your credit history and a credit score, they would have to provide you a declination notice or an adverse action notice that explains why they declined your application,” he says. That document will specify the reasons that it declined your request.
If the credit limit increase process is based on an internal review only, even though there is no requirement for the card issuer to tell you why it was denied, you can certainly ask. “It never hurts to see why,” says Griffin. “And they would likely explain or give you some reason.”
What to Consider Before Getting a Chase Credit Card Limit Increase
Before you request a higher credit limit, it’s important to understand the relationship between credit limit and utilization. Utilization means the percentage of your limit that you’re using each month. The credit scoring algorithms weigh credit utilization heavily — it’s the second-biggest factor right behind payment history. Experts recommend staying below 30% utilization to maximize your score.
“If you’re maxing out your credit card or carrying high balances, regardless of the credit limits you have, it’s going to hurt your credit scores,” says Griffin. “If you’re keeping the balances low as compared to your credit limits, it’s going to help your credit scores.”
Reasons to Request a Credit Limit Increase
Requesting a credit limit increase is a straightforward process, and there are a few instances when it can benefit you.
To spend more without hurting your utilization rate. If you have a $500 credit limit and you charge $100, you’re utilizing 20% of the limit on that card. But if you had a $1,000 limit, you could spend $200 to stay at that same 20% utilization rate. Especially for people who like to use their cards to earn rewards or cash back on everyday spending, higher limits give you more flexibility.
To access more spending power. Say you’re planning a trip overseas, and you want to use one card to make all of your purchases. That could be a good time to request a credit limit increase, says Griffin. “It makes a lot of sense because you’re using that card as a means to not have to carry a lot of cash, which is a safety issue, and it helps protect you from fraud if you’re making charges.”
To cash in on your good credit behavior. If you’ve made big improvements to your credit score recently, the card issuer might not have gotten around to providing an automatic credit line increase yet. If things are going well, then go ahead and ask.
Reasons Not to Request a Credit Limit Increase
Too often, people think requesting a higher credit limit is an easy way to improve their credit scores, but it’s not that simple.
You’ll see a hard credit inquiry. If Chase increases your credit limit automatically, it won’t do a hard check of your credit. If you request the increase, however, Chase will make a hard credit inquiry. This will lower your score temporarily, which can offset any utilization benefit.
You’re desperate. Consider why you’re asking for a limit increase. “If you’re trying to increase your credit limit because your cards are maxed out or you have very high balances, that’s the wrong time to do it,” says Griffin. In fact, you may not even get approved. The better option is to work on reducing your balances, review your credit standing, and then request a credit limit increase when you’re in the best position to get approved.
Your debt might grow. A larger credit limit could lead to more debt. “Too often, I see people in that situation get the credit limit increase, and then they continue to make the same mistake and they end up maxing it out again,” says Griffin.
Requesting a credit limit increase with Chase can work in your favor under the right circumstances. If you keep your credit healthy and time it right, you could end up with an approval that expands your credit power.
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