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:

As of May 2018 Bank of America no longer does a hard pull for credit limit increases.

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.

If you do multiple credit limit increases in the same day it will be combined into a single inquiry.

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 2: They changed the wording on the online request form or by calling. They will usually do a soft pull when using that, but not always.

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, 4,
  • 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. They now give you the option to select a check box saying you agree to a credit pull, you can still get increases without checking this box. More information here.

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)

HSBC

Requires a hard pull to do a credit limit increase: 1,

Requires soft pull: 1, 2,

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.

SDFCU

  • Hard pull: 1,

Synchrony

Update: Newer datapoint says it’s a soft pull unless the account has been opened for less than 60 days.

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, 2,

TD Bank

According to this they do a hard pull.

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.

 

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Dux
Dux

Comenity bank no longer lets you choose to not allow a Hard Pull.

The new wording is: “Please note we may need to access your credit report when considering your request. By submitting this request, you grant us permission to do so.”

CreditBeginner
CreditBeginner

Soft pull for a BoA card 12/07/2020.

Chris S.
Chris S.

Hey DOT, What about with GS (Goldman Sachs) ? With the new Apple card on the market, I figure you might want to add them to the list as well.

Troy
Troy

Soft Pull

Chris
Chris

Awesome, thank you for the confirmation Troy and Mel ! You guys spared me a hard pull lol.

Mel
Mel

It’s only a soft pull. The only time it’s a hard pull with them is when you accept the credit card offer. So usually applying doesn’t hurt and they show you how much the card will be-all with a soft pull. Hard inquiry only hitting accept.

AJ
AJ

Discover DP: Requested a CL increase for P2 with no income but placed $50K on the inquiry and got a $2K instant increase. No hard inquiry as stated above.

Douglas
Douglas

Requested Capital One credit limit increase from $10K to $12K using the link on a business card and was approved for a $1K increase.

John Walker minnesota
John Walker minnesota

Credit cards suck. You can keep them all but one with low limit using it only for emergencies. I say lay niw and that debt sucks

KW
KW

CITI no longer offer credit limited transfer after you opened your card. (They told me they might do CLT at time of opening a new card). I requested a CLT on my Premier card($4000CL – lowest among other Citi cards) and resulted in a hard pull.

gabe
gabe

if I request a credit line increase, and apply for a credit card from chase, at the same time, will it be only one hard pull?

Superman
Superman

I recently applied for a CLI, a business card and personal card. Chase requested 3 HPs, resulted in 2, unable to tell which 1 didn’t combine. Please report your findings here. https://www.doctorofcredit.com/card-issuers-that-combine-multiple-credit-pullsinquiries/#Chase

007
007

Sorry if this is a dumb question – if I request a CLI and have all of my credit reports frozen, can a credit card company with whom I clearly have an existing relationship still do a hard pull on my account? In other words, can you get a new hard pull while all of your credit reports are frozen? Thanks!

midas89
midas89

Companies that have a current account or relationship with you would still have access to your credit report even if you have a freeze in place. The freeze would prevent new companies from being able to access your reports.

Gadget 🕵️

007 I disagree with what midas89 said… or at least he never really answered your question.

No, it will not show up as a hard inquiry if the CRA’s are frozen, but you will most likely be denied of the application. For CC’s that require a hard pull for new credit or CLI, it will not go thru as an HP when reports are froze.

Existing creditors can access your credit, yes, but if the CLI needs a HP or new account, the report(s) they pull cannot be frozen. For new accounts, they need to be able to write the event as an inquiry. THIS IS the MAIN reason freezing was invented! The person who is affected should be able to lock out any new credit requests. Otherwise a bad actor/identity thief could just pick a CC company you already use to get a new account.

midas89
midas89

Gadget, since 007 made no mention of creating a whole new credit card account, I am uncertain as to why that subject was in your reply. The way I read 007’s question is he or she just wanted to know if one of his existing credit card banks wants to run a hard pull because of a credit limit increase request on an existing account, will they be able to do so if the credit report is frozen.

My credit reports are all frozen and I recently requested a credit limit increase. I was advised in advance a hard pull would be required, and that I’d be notified within a small amount of time. I did not unfreeze my reports because I was told since the bank already had a long relationship with me on my credit reports with an existing account, they are permitted to run the hard pull (on that existing account where they have that existing relationship).

The bank got their hard pull, my report stayed frozen, and I got my increase.

If it works out differently for 007 and his or her specific bank, I will say perhaps I should have said YMMV.

I was told the info I posted above to 007 by my credit card bank. If I was given misinformation, sorry about that. But, the info the bank told me absolutely worked out in my case. Hard pull was done even though I had an active freeze.

Gadget 🕵️

In my experience with BofA, they couldn’t do a HP with the reports froze. That is the whole point of the system. Now if you give your bank the freeze PIN and allow the HP… yes, then they pull it.

007
007

Hmm… thank you both for your replies. So it sounds like @midas89 had a hard pull while their credit reports were all frozen while @Gadget was told BofA could not do a hard pull while their credit was frozen. Interesting…

Gadget 🕵️

Bottom line, if they tell you that they need to do a hard pull, either they are going to get that hard pull, or deny the request when they can’t. If their system/procedures can use the PIN, they need that PIN from you, and if you give it to them and they use it, you will get a HP, as that is what thaws the report. AFAIK existing creditors do get to monitor credit thru soft pulls, but that doesn’t give them access to do a HP without the PIN. New creditors can’t even do the soft pulls with the reports frozen. Hence why if you do banking account signups, they do soft pulls all the time to check background info and screen for other products, and I won’t keep mine froze.

This is how it is supposed to work…. if there are loopholes or exceptions, I am not sure. I don’t work for the CRA’s, or a CC, but I tried to find a definitive answer in writing and cannot. The whole point of the freeze is to stop new credit lines and hard inquires.

007
007

Got it. Thanks so much for your thorough clarification!

Gadget 🕵️

No problem. Maybe William Charles could start a new article and we collect some DP’s, specifically on CLI’s with frozen reports. The only problem with that is I imagine some people might not know for sure the report is frozen at the time of inquiry. But now that freezes and thaws are free, I imagine this would happen a lot more now.

I did just find a couple people (very old DP’s from 2011) on the FICO forum saying they got a HP while froze, or said it was possible,… so I guess if the bank says they are doing a HP, you very well might get one. Might depend on how the “reason” code for it to get thru and which bank/CC.

I know if it was me and I legitimately wanted a CLI, I would risk it.

007
007

Thanks for your thoughts. I agree, a DP page for CLIs with credit reports frozen would be pretty interesting.

David
David

Nothing like jumping onto a WAY old thread but…,

Just out of the blue decided to try to up limits on all my CC’s accounts; some being with the same bank, i.e. Chase, CapOne, etc. Before doing so, I’d called into all of the individual issuers and attempted to get a firm ‘yes’ or ‘no’ as to whether or not a hard-pull was necessary. With the exception of Barclay’s and Chase, most confirmed outright a soft-pull was all that’s needed. Being in the very high credit rating category for a number of years now without any negatives that affect ones score, ratios included, I was a bit miffed particularly with respect to Barclay’s and Chase, both of which I use regularly and pay off every bill cycle. With a very decent usage and flawless history with both of these banks, their requiring a hard-pull for a credit limit increase was a bit off-putting; those increase request inquires were without any mention of dollar amounts, by the way.

The only reason I’m likely wasting my time adding to this aged thread going on here is that just in case there is a little life left in it, just wanted to add: Wish I read this first… good information!