Which Credit Card Companies Do A Hard Pull For A Credit Limit Increase?

Big Issuers

American Express

Doesn’t do a hard pull for credit limit increases, in fact it’s quite easy to get large credit limit increases from American Express. Read our in depth guide by clicking here.

Barclays:

Barclays seems to do a hard pull for customer initiated credit limit increases but they also seem to be pretty good at doing automatic increases at the six or twelve month mark.

Bank of America:

According to BofA they are required to do a hard pull by federal law for all credit limit increases. Some people have reported that they have received an automatic credit limit increase without a hard pull being performed. For credit limit increases they’ll usually do a hard pull from TransUnion, whereas for new applications it’s usually from Experian.

Recently, they seem to be doing just a soft pull for reallocations when you call in. YMMV. You can also check for deals/offers and they will sometimes offer a credit limit increase with no hard pull.

Capital One:

You can request a CLI increase online once every six months with your Capital One card, this results in a soft pull. To request:

  • Log into your account
  • Click “Request Credit Line Increase” which is found under “Card Services”
request credit line increase from capital one

Image courtesy of reddit user nmac_mpls

A lot of people will find that they struggle to receive an increase from clicking this button. One person reported that making a complaint with the BBB resulted in them receiving an increase from $500 to $2,000 and had their annual fee removed – but this is an ethical grey area.

Others reported that the only way to get an increase from Capital One is to contact somebody in the executive office of Capital One asking for one. If you do this, we suggest getting in touch with the Capital One CEO Richard Fairbank (richard.fairbank@capitalone.com). You should include why you think you deserve a CLI and what you plan to do if you don’t receive one (e.g cancel your current cards).

  • Soft Pull: 1, 2

Chase:

If you the card holder initiate a credit limit increase, it will always result in a hard pull with Chase.

Citi

Update: You can also request an increase via their app and you’ll also be told if it’s a hard or soft pull.

Update: Citi will now tell you if it’s going to be a hard or soft pull online. To find out how to tell, read this post.

Citi seems to do both soft and hard pulls, usually if they come back with an instant decision a soft pull has been performed whereas if they require more time a hard pull will be performed. If you call and ask the customer service representative should be able to tell you if it will be a soft or hard pull if you proceed, but this really depends on how knowledgeable the phone representative is and you should always be expecting a hard pull and be happy if a soft pull occurs.

  • Soft: 1, 2
  • Hard: 1, 2

Discover:

Even the Discover site itself reports two different things, at the start of their credit line increase application form it says “…which may affect your credit score”, then further down it says “…this request will not affect your credit score”

discover credit line increase request

Photo courtesy of gx240 from the myFICO forums

In reality it depends on how large of a credit limit increase you want. Small increases can be done without a hard pull, large increases require a hard pull. This is how the process works:

  • Enter in the credit limit increase you want and all other relevant information
  • Discover will either give you the increase (in which case only a soft pull is done) or they will counter with another offer.
  • If you reject their offer it’ll give you the option to request further review, if you click this button a hard pull will be performed.

A similar course should be followed if you call up, but this is not always the case which is why it’s best to use the online form.

JCB

You can request a CLI from JCB by calling them. They’ll often ask you for employment and address verification in addition to the hard pull that they do.

  • Hard pull: 1

USAA

You can request a credit limit increase online, this will result in a hard pull on Equifax.

  • Hard pull: 1

U.S Bank

Update: U.S. Bank now does a soft pull for credit limit increases if you use their online request form or if you call them on 1-866-659-6801. The fact they do a soft pull is also clearly stated on the online page.

You can request a CLI from U.S Bank by clicking here. Your account needs to be open for a minimum of six months before they will consider increasing your credit limit. It seems that requests for a credit limit increase of anything lower than $1,499 results in a soft pull and requests above $1,500 will result in a hard pull – but there have been exceptions to this.

  • Soft pull: 1, 2, 3, 4
  • Hard pull: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo seems to be mostly soft pulls, with a few reports of hard pulls. Again, you’re best off calling their customer service department and asking if it’ll be a soft or hard pull, some representatives will be able to tell you – but be willing to cop a hard pull at the end of the day as they might give you incorrect information.

  • Soft pull: 1, 2, 3
  • Hard pull: 1, 2

Smaller Issuers

Alliant

Update: According to our contact at Alliant, all credit limit increases are now soft pulls. Update: This is only for those who are part of their credit limit increase campaigns. If you call in then it will be a hard pull.

  • Soft pull:
    • When upgrading: 1
  • Hard pull:
    • When upgrading: 1, 2

Comenity

Comenity is in charge of a lot of store issued credit cards that usually come with low limits. It seems they regularly do automatic credit limit increases if you are putting spend on their cards, this typically happens 6-9 months after the card has been opened.

It’s also possible to ask for a credit limit increase, although there doesn’t seem to be much success unless you wait until you’ve had the card for at least 9 months. When you request this they will ask for your income and some other information as well.

DSNB (Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s)

Department Stores National Bank (DSNB) is the private label arm of Citi Bank, they have a confusing policy when it comes to CLI’s. It seems if you are eligible under their criteria (not sure what they consider under this) a soft pull will be performed, otherwise a hard pull will be performed. It’s best to just assume a hard pull will be done and then be pleasantly surprised if a soft pull happens. You can only request a CLI once every six months.

Some people have reported that if you call they can see if your are eligible based on their criteria, if not you can ask them to stop and no pull will be done. This is obviously a your milage may vary situation though.

  • Hard pull: 1
  • Soft pull: 1, 2, 3

Fifth Third

  • Hard pull: 1

FNBO:

Normally smaller increases will result in a soft pull with larger increases resulting in a hard pull.

  • Soft: 1
  • Hard pull (online): 1, 2

GEMB (Walmart, Chevron, JC Pennys)

GEMB issued cards will usually be a soft pull, there are a couple of examples of them being hard pulls but this is few and far between. They also do automatic credit limit increases, this usually happens after your third statement cuts if you’ve been paying on time.

  • Soft: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
  • Hard: 1 (CareCredit)

Navy Federal Credit Union

They usually do a soft pull for requests that are less than $25,000 (total) and hard inquiries for credit limits that exceed $25,000. But we suggest reading our full guide here for more information.

Synchrony

It can either be a soft or hard pull and there is no way of knowing ahead of time. From one of their representatives:

It is impossible for us to determine if the request for a credit limit increase will result in a hard or soft inquiry as it is completely decided by the system. However, to be on the safe side we assume that it will be a hard check

  • Hard pull: 1
  • Soft pull: 1

USAA:

You are only eligible for a credit limit once every six months with USAA, it will always result in a hard pull.

  • Hard: 1, 2

Big thanks to the myFICO forums for providing almost all of the data points for this post.

 


56 Responses to Which Credit Card Companies Do A Hard Pull For A Credit Limit Increase?

  1. Mike says:

    US Bank data point: fwiw, I received a mailer from US Bank incentivizing me to do a CLI of ~$4,000 (and they would give me some paltry number of points for doing so). I verified with them that no hard pull would occur and did accept the CLI (and they were true to their word–no hard pull).

    • When the card initiates the credit limit increase, it’s always a soft pull. The original post is more about what happens when it’s cardholder initiated. Thanks for the data point though, I’ll think about trying to make this clearer in the original post if people think it’s necessary.

  2. scooter says:

    TYVM! this was very useful.

  3. JB says:

    Re Barclay: I’ve had the Rewards Mastercard with the least CL a World MC can have ($5k) for about 2 years now. Also have the Sallie Mae with a $10k for about 1 year. Never received an automatic increase on either of them (all my other cards are in the $8k-20k range). However, I just asked them to increase my CL on the Rewards MC and they bumped it by 50% resulting in a Transunion HP. Now stupid me I also asked for an increase on the Sallie Mae like 2 minutes later which was eventually declined. The bad thing is they made another Transunion HP – 2 minutes later! Of course I sent them an email asking to remove the 2nd pull which they declined.

  4. Matthew says:

    PNC is a hard pull as well no matter what

  5. Anthony Fantino says:

    I have 2 Capital One Cards and applied for CLI on both same day, I got $100 and 1,000. Not sure what why the difference, I used both and paid both off very quickly, same usage on each. Also do you have any date on World’s Foremost Bank, otherwise known as the parent company behind Cabella’s. I have their Visa card.

  6. D G says:

    The last time that PNC gave me a CLI, I know there was no HP. That was more than three years ago. I rarely use it anymore.

  7. Zach says:

    U.S. Bank has a new CLI request website now:
    https://usbank.com/cl

    It clearly says no hard pull.

    I found this link in my latest statement. Not all of my cards qualify though. Not sure if they require >6 months since opening the account.

    • Mark Dominguez says:

      I’ve had a card with US Bank for over 4 years, and I just tried to use https://usbank.com/cl to request a CLI. I input the requested data; last four of social, last four of card account number and zip code, and I received this message “The following message is returned “The information you provided does not match our records or your account is not eligible for this offer. Please try again.” I then tried logging into my account to locate the CLI process, but after locating it, the CLI link is not available to me. My next step will be to call them tomorrow to see what is going on and, if they can indeed, increase my CL without a HP.

  8. jim jones says:

    I showed them my crank and they gave me a $10,000 increase.

  9. Stuart says:

    Have the Virgin/Comenity Visa card- did the request limit increase and it just asked me for updated income information and gave me a $4000 bump, no hard pull!

  10. Themanwhocan says:

    US Bank has always been a SP for $1500 requests when I use the old form you listed. In fact, I submitted 2 requests recently for $1500 on each of my 2 cash+ cards, and received both with no HP. That new site that a previous poster mentioned didn’t work for me, I think that site is for accepting a CLI that US Bank has previously offered you. You need to wait 6 months between requests.

    Discover has a new online CLI system. Enter Gross Income, Employer name, and monthly housing/rent payment. Then it tells you how much of a CLI you can get, all with no HP. If it needs a HP to process a request after that, it will supposedly tell you, but I’ve yet to encounter that so far (I’ve always been getting SP increases). I think Discover is back to requiring 3 months between requests.

    FNBO is a SP if you CALL them every 3-4 months and ask if a “Pre-approved Credit Limit Increase” is available. They then ask the basic income and rent/housing payment question, and then tell you how much you can get. The online system is supposedly always a HP, but I can’t say so from personal experience.

    Barclays is also a SP if you call and ask for a APR reduction first. Once they transfer you to the group that can handle APR reduction, that group can also give a SP CLI. I’ve even had them offer the CLI once before I had a chance to suggest it! the regular CSR’s can’t do it with a SP, and in fact often give erroneous negative information.

  11. Stuno says:

    Just asked for a limit increase from 3.5k to 10k at Wells Fargo. Got the limit bumped up to 6.5k, but also seeing a hard pull from Experian now too.

  12. PBJoe says:

    Over the years ended up with 3 Alaska cards.
    I’ll keep one open. I was offered 1 downgrade to a no AF Cash Rewards card. I was told no pull. I took the downgrade. Then I was offered to combine the other 2 cards CL’s. Each card is 17.5K. I asked about the hard pull. He didn’t know, so I waited. I’d like to keep the line, but it looks like your research shows this would generate a Trans pull?

  13. Yes! Finally something about pc guitar tuner.

  14. John O. says:

    I just requested a CLI on Discovery Card website and they approved me for $1500. But, there was a message saying they will increase the limit without a hard pull, but if they have to pull your credit they will confirm with your first before they proceed. I think that’s really convenient, especially when you do it online.

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  17. Jc says:

    Boa does NOT do a hard inquiry for re allocating the lines on your cards as long as the total limits remain the same. You can transfer almost all of one line to another card with no inquiry. They will do a review however which can result in lower lines or closure if you pose any risk (I.e delinquent payments, collections etc. on any account reporting) so choose wisely

  18. Mr Jones says:

    You should do an analysis of which issuers allow CLIs by automated phone system!

  19. Otis Sito says:

    FNBO is indeed hard online, but over the phone you can ask if there’s a “pre qualified” offer, and if there is, it is a soft. If not, you will be asked for your consent to a hard pull.

  20. Trialcritic says:

    I did a credit limit increase in Barclays and have a warning setup in TU bureau (Barclays uses this) if anyone does a hard pull. I got a mail within 6 hours from TU.

  21. scooter says:

    Barclays does quarterly reviews for increases based on soft pulls but you usually have to call to ask if there are any “unpublised” offers on your account which can also include APR decrease. Make sure you get the right CS.. not the front line.

  22. ERIC says:

    Navy Federal Credit Union did a hard pull for my cli request. 1k increase, from 3,500 to 4,500

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  24. Clear-Eyed 212 says:

    27 Oct 2016, RE: Amex credit increase, hard vs. soft pull:

    I’m a 10-year Amex (SPG) cardholder with a credit score of 820 and no credit card debt. I would like to get a higher Amex credit line (for utilization ratio purposes) but don’t want to take ANY chances with Amex doing a “hard pull” that might damage my credit score.

    Based on guidance here that a cardholder can often get an AMEX line increase with only a soft pull, I CALLED Amex Customer Service to be absolutely certain. I requested that they specifically inform me as to what kind of credit pull they would do if I requested only a 20% increase in the size of my limit (to $24K, from $20K). The phone rep told me that there is no way that Amex can guarantee any particular customer asking for any limit increase of any size that Amex will not pull a hard credit inquiry. So… if you’ve got a good credit score, and based on advice from this blog, you were thinking of requesting an AMEX limit increase of ANY size to help improve your credit utilization (& therefore your credit score), I suggest you proceed with caution.

    • scooter says:

      That is strange. I have gotten all my increases via the website and SP only.
      I went from 4500 to 12k to 35k in under 2 years with no HP

      • Marie says:

        Scooter, I started with 10k limit with their Everyday CC in Nov2015 I am currently at 20,050 I request a limit of 33k a few days ago and they asked for tax return. Where you asked to provide this information for your 35k limit?

  25. D H Salisbury says:

    FNBO will be a hard pull virtually all of the time. Their customer service is very rigid and leaves much to be desired.

  26. Sonya says:

    I have 2 capital one cards. I recently asked for increase on both via website, was approved, did not take both, took one 1 and declined to on other at that time…two weeks later i applied again on 2nd and was denied w/letter via website that referenced the other card # saying i had already had a recent increase to card…. called, spoke to rep, said to try automated…did automated request, same thing happened. Called, spoke go rep another day and said they could not understand what was going on…they could not see my info. On website…on phone for an hour…never resolved…rep said it should denied because of lack of payment history….i have had both cards for over 3 yrs..maybe longer…on top of that their function of creditwise has not worked for me since having it on website and nothing still..i just wrote this a praise letter in May, 2016. I don’t know what happened that changed

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  28. Colin C says:

    DP for US Bank has US Bank Cash+ and US Bank Platinum requested CLI of 1500 for the latter using link here. Approved but an HP to TU

  29. LATEISHA M says:

    NAVY FEDERAL DOES A HARD WHEN YOU JOIN AND WHEN YOU APPLY FOR A CREDIT CARD

  30. DGS says:

    5/3 Bank does hard pull for CLIs

  31. Austin says:

    Requested a cli on my Sams Club personal Mastercard a while back. Had a 4k limit, requested to double it to 8k. I got an instant approval for the increase. This was back in February of 2017. No hard pull was done. Synchrony is the issuer.

  32. Randy says:

    Does Elan Financial follow in the footsteps of US Bank or do they have their own criteria?

  33. DH says:

    FNBO is always a hard pull.

  34. Chuck says:

    Just called in and did a CL reallocation with Bank of America. Regular front-line rep did it without a problem and no hard pull.

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  36. Tom says:

    DP:

    I did 3 CLIs on Citi 57 days ago, got 1 approved, 2 rejected. And did another 3 today, got 2 approved (the ones rejected on previous try.)

    It seems they no longer require 180 day wait between ALL accounts.

    😀

  37. Pat says:

    Just requested a CLI on the CO Plat card and was declined. Not enough recent payment history. This is justified. I really don’t use the card much, just for free $1 Amazon GC reloads which I don’t think count as card activity anyway since I’m not paying the balance. (It’s being forgiven.)

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