How To Maximize Your Credit Limits With Each Card Issuer

Update 6/21/22: Capital One now lets you request a credit limit increase every 90 days. Hat tip to Econ0mist

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 90 days 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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Mark
Mark

These posts every few months are great to remind me to submit for amex, the only issuer which is not a hassle.
Requested my limit on blue business by roughly 20k to get up to 75k. For first time, they asked me for last 3 monthly statements of a bank account for their review. Very interesting. Will report back and see what happens. Goal is to someday get $100K on one card, lol.

Richard Toscano

Good morning,
I received the X1 Credit Card right after it first came out a few months ago. Despite what I saw online about new cardmembers hard pulls, I have yet to have any credit reporting hard or soft pull from any of the 3 bureaus for this card. Is this odd from your experience?

Onsale
Onsale

Why would a reallocation of credit b/t cards at the same credit card company result in any sort of pull?

P
P

Try spending within a dollar of your credit limit and that might get them to auto-increase your credit limit.

Pete
Pete

Any info on Goldman Sachs / GM card?

Demi Moore
Demi Moore

I always imagined (in my head) that credit lines too big would make it harder to open new cards?

Jenny
Jenny

YMMV

tassojunior
tassojunior

Chase shutdowns for too much credit in rough economic times. Not fun. I keep mine low.

Gerald
Gerald

My wife got a letter from Chase a while ago saying they were reducing the credit limit because they determined she didn’t need such a high limit. IIRC this was on a seldom used business card.

tassojunior
tassojunior

Headed into the 2008 recession hundreds of us with high total limits had all our Chase accounts closed and had to fight to get our Chase points out. Some were asked for income verification some just closed down. Slowly most of us got back in. AmEx has also been known to do audits and demands for income verification in risky times.

My theory with SUB-hunting is to stay under the radar for risk.

Gerald
Gerald

This was within the past year.

sybloc
sybloc

Not just Chase. Barclays is particularly bad. 2009-2012 was rough for CL’s.

Prologer
Prologer

BC: Have Arrival card for 4 years and only got CLI after 6m to $8000. Now, I had a balance of $7500 posted in the end of the month and got auto CLI to $10000. So, the high closing balance might have trigered that.
Of course no HP.

RoyalGreen

Synchrony Bank’s Amazon store card doesn’t do hard pull for CLI. If you search for “credit line increase hard pull” in their chat bot it says: Typically, a request for a credit line increase does not result in a hard inquiry on your credit bureau report. However, if the account was opened within the last 60 days, a hard inquiry may be reported.

Jeff
Jeff

I called US Bank and asked to speak to a supervisor and then asked to speak to a manager to request a credit limit reallocation between my 2 credit cards. The manager said they stopped doing credit limit reallocations 3 years ago.