Posted by William Charles on February 14, 2019
Credit Cards

Published on February 14th, 2019 | by William Charles

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How To Maximize Your Credit Limits With Each Card Issuer

Page has now been fully updated for 2019. If you see any errors, let us know and we will fix this page. If there is a page you’d like to see updated, let us know in the comments below.

Some of the time it’s useful to have a really large credit limit on a single credit card (whether it be for a large purchase or a one off manufactured spending opportunity). I thought it’d be useful to look at how to maximize your limits with each card issuer.

American Express

American Express does not do a hard pull for a credit limit increase, in fact you can request a credit limit increase of 3x your starting credit limit pretty easily. We’ve detailed how to do this here (including all the relevant rules and tips). It’s also possible to re allocate your credit limits among existing cards with American Express. Again, there are a lot of rules you should be aware of when doing this, so read this post first (especially if you’re going to be going above a credit limit of $25,000).

Bank of America

Bank of America used to do hard pull for credit limit increases, but they now do a soft pull instead. Bank of America does a soft pull for reallocations.

Barclaycard

Barclaycard does a hard pull for credit limit increases, reallocations are a little bit more tricky. It seems to depend on who you call to reallocate and how long each card has been open for, if they do allow the reallocation then it should only be a soft credit pull but make sure you confirm before doing this.

Capital One

Capital One allows you to request a credit limit increase once every six months and it results in a soft pull. You can also reallocate your credit limits online, but we still don’t know if that’s a hard or soft pull (although there is at least one report of a soft pull and none of a hard pull).

Chase

You can reallocate your credit limits with Chase online, resulting in a soft pull as long as your limit is below $35,000. But if you initiate a credit limit increase it will be a hard pull.

Citi

Normally reallocating your limits results in a hard pull, but sometimes it can be processed as soft. You can also ask for a credit limit increase and Citi will let you know whether it’s hard or soft pull before you proceed, this is also available via the appAccording to this comment you’re limited to one increase per six months as well.

Discover

Discover has some weird rules, if you’re doing a reallocation when you open a new card then it’s a soft pull. If it’s for existing cards, then it’s a case by case basis. When doing an online credit limit increase, if it’s processed automatically then it results in a soft pull. If Discover counters then it’ll be a hard pull.

U.S Bank

Need to speak to a manager to do a credit limit reallocation (soft pull). If you ask for an increase our data points say that increases under $1,500 are soft and above that it’s a hard pull. They briefly stated it would be a soft pull only.

Wells Fargo

Reports of both hard and soft pulls for increases, best bet is to call and then get a reference number if they say soft. Reallocation used to always results in a hard pull but all recent reports now indicate this is a soft pull.

Smaller Issuers

Elan Financial Services

These guys issue a lot of different store cards (as well as the new Fidelity 2% Cash Back Visa) and reallocating is a soft pull, although these store cards usually have low limits. Not sure how credit limit increases are handled.

Comenity

Another issuer that focuses on store issued cards (home of the shopping cart trick). You need to have the card open for 9 months first, mixed data points of it being a hard/soft pull. No idea about reallocating limits with Comenity.

DSNB (Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s)

This is a division of Citibank, if you’re eligible under their criteria then it’s soft otherwise a hard pull. You should be able to call in to find out whether you fall into their criteria or not. No idea about reallocations.

FNBO

Don’t have many data points, but soft for increases (apparently hard for online increases) and soft for reallocations.

GEMB (Walmart, Chevron, JC Pennys)

Soft pull for increases, no data on reallocations.

Navy Federal

If you’re making a request for your total available credit to be under $25,000 it’ll be soft, over $25,000 it’ll be hard. No idea about reallocations.

USAA

Hard pull for increases and doesn’t allow reallocation (thanks to reader, Matt).

Our Verdict

As always, you shouldn’t be using credit cards (and definitely shouldn’t be requesting more credit) if you can’t use them in a responsible manner. You should never be carrying a balance on your cards and paying a high interest rate.

 



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Tim
Tim

FNBO is hard pull for online CLI.

Matt
Matt

USAA does not reallocate credit limits. They also do not do product conversions.

Kate
Kate

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JB
JB

I apparently got lucky with Citi. When I asked a couple months ago to increase the limit on my Double Cash Mastercard, they bumped me from $6,000 to $20,000 instantly with no HP. At that time this was the only (and first) card I had with them.

BofA/FIA is quite intriguing as they state on their sites that they are “required by federal law” to make a hard credit inquiry for any changes. It’s an outright lie but they seem still to get away with it…

Ali
Ali

I requested a CL for 2 of my Barclay Card (Arrival+ & Wyndham Rewards) via Twitter in Nov 2015. The Rep called me and checked if I qualified. Similarly, I did and told me If I would like to Accept/Decline the offer. Both of my cards were eligible and accepted the increase. There was no Hard Pull done.

barthooper
barthooper

It’s worth noting that there’s a different method to getting a soft pull credit limit increase for Barclays, which isn’t guaranteed to work. If you call customer service and ask about lowering your APR, you should be transferred to a specialist. Regardless of the APR answer, which may even be lowered, you can ask for a soft pull credit increase.

Sometimes they will say it is not possible but there are numerous reports of soft pull CLIs using this method.

Michael
Michael

Any insight in BBVA Compass (ie NBA 5%) Bank?

I’ve been trying for the last year after getting a measly CL? Always call in, always get no, with vague reasons similar to why one could get declined for any credit card.

Dillon Welch
Dillon Welch

Back in August 2015, I got an email from BofA offering a no hard pull CLI on one of my BBR cards (which was at $600 credit line at the time). I went ahead with this, and got bumped up to $1,300 if memory serves. No hard pull from what I can tell.

I also reallocated credit lines for BofA in early Jan 2016 after getting approved for an Amtrak card (applied in December 2015, failed phone recon, wrote a letter and got approved). I haven’t gotten a notification about an extra pull yet, but I need to double check on that!

aaa
aaa

For the various limits, like $35k across Chase is that number just personal cards or both personal and business cards?

Jose
Jose

William, i requested a credit line increase
As you suggested and it was granted immediately. Do I need to wait to request
An increase on my other two accts with amex?

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[…] reference post on how to max your plastic limits with each card issuer. Some of this stuff I didn’t know…and just when you thought you knew everything […]

Dave
Dave

Wow, all this is news to me!

I recently opened a Citigold checking account and wanted to fund it with one of my BoA Alaska cards. I have 4 Alaska cards with CL of $20K, $20K, $5K, $5K, respectively. I wanted to maximize the reward so I called BofA to transfer $15K from one of the $20K cards to the other so that 1 card now has $35K and the others all $5K. You’re saying I was hit with a hard pull for that??

Also, I opened the Citi Prestige a few months ago and it went to pending so I called in. Thinking I would use this card to fund my upcoming CG app, I transferred the CL from my old HH card to the Prestige so it now has a CL of $35K. All this happened minutes after my Prestige application. Did I get a 2nd hard pull for the credit allocation?

Bodiddely
Bodiddely

In October I was able to raise the limit on a Citi card without a hard pull at the website (it displayed the message saying no hard pull would be required). Tried again last week for another increase on the same card (since it again said no pull would be done). Declined – letter stated it was because they only allow limit increases once every 6 months. So just FYI, apparently that is a rule with Citi (at least on soft pull increases).

CGID
CGID

Bear in mind that raising one’s CL to a monster high level can cause FICO to drop that card altogether from its utilization calculation.

Thus in extreme cases, raising one’s CL can actual cause one’s utilization to go up rather than down. An example might be raising a card’s CL from 25k to 75k.

Where the line in the sand might be appears to be dependent on the model. For earlier models it might have been as low as 29k. For FICO 8 it appears to be a good bit higher.

Yet Another Redditor

The URL for this – “How To Maximize Your Credit Limits With Each Card Issuer” still refers to Citi Gold. I know changing it may break a lot of of links but any other way to do it?

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