Thinking about raising your card’s credit limit? Ask yourself these soul-searching questions first.
7 Questions to Ask Before Requesting a Credit Limit Increase During COVID-19
Now that COVID-19 has thrown the economy into a tailspin, it’s always good to have plenty of available credit on hand. Thanks to the uncertain end to the coronavirus pandemic, the prospect of sudden unemployment hangs over many people’s heads, and an expensive car repair or medical bill could put many in a financial bind.
Your credit card may serve as a safety net, especially if you have only a small amount in savings – or, like many people, no savings at all. So, asking for a credit limit increase on your card could make your plastic safety net even safer.
Worried that your credit card issuer will just say no? Don’t be too quick to assume denial of a higher credit limit. A 2017 survey by Creditcards.com found that 89% of cardholders who asked their credit card company for a credit card increase received one. Maybe you can, too.
Click or swipe for 7 questions to ask yourself before requesting a credit limit increase.
1. Why do I want a higher credit limit?
If you’re considering asking for a higher credit limit on a credit card, it’s a good idea to check in with yourself on your reasons for wanting a higher credit limit and your ability to manage credit card debt.
Do you want to lower your credit utilization rate, the ratio of your overall revolving credit debt to available credit? A higher credit limit can help. However, you could also achieve a lower credit utilization ratio by paying down the credit card debt you currently have.
Find out: How to Build Credit
2. How much of a credit limit increase should I request?
Asking your credit card issuer to raise your limit from $3,000 to $6,000 probably isn’t wise, since requesting such a huge increase could set off alarm bells warning the credit card company of desperate financial times in your household.
Ask for a smaller, realistic increase instead. Some credit card companies may allow you to specify and amount while others will choose the amount for which you qualify.
3. How will a hard inquiry affect my credit score?
When you ask for a credit limit increase, your credit card company will pull your credit report to check your credit score, payment history and credit utilization rate. That action is known as a “hard inquiry” and may lower your score a few points for a short period but won’t affect your score long-term.
However, if you’ve applied for several credit cards or loans in a short period recently, another hard inquiry could have more of an impact on lowering your score.
4. Has my credit score improved since I opened the card?
One good reason to ask for a credit limit increase is if you now have a higher credit score than when you applied for the credit card.
For example, if your FICO score was in the “good” (670-739) range a few years ago when you opened the card and your score is now in the “exceptional” (800+) range, you probably have a better chance of receiving a credit limit increase.
However, factors also could influence approval. For instance, if a few of your credit cards are maxed out, that could work against approval for an increased credit limit.
6. Should I go online or pick up the phone?
Depending on the credit card company, you may be able to apply for a credit limit increase online. However, if you call your credit card company to make the request with a representative, you’ll have a better opportunity to make your case.
It’s a lot easier to reject a request online than when you’re talking on the phone with a person. Even if you anticipate a long hold time, consider getting on the phone to ask for a higher credit limit.
7. Can I be nice for 30 minutes?
As cranky and tired of the pandemic era we all are by now, make sure you’re courteous, kind, and patient with the person answering the phone when you request your credit limit increase. Chances are, a lot of irritable, anxious, and rude people call him or her all day long.
You’ll have a better chance of winning a receptive ear if you politely make your case and recognize that these are stressful times for all of us, including the credit card company’s representative.
This article by Deb Hipp was originally published on Debt.com.
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