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Help! I Can't Get a Credit Limit Increase

Christine DiGangi

There are several advantages to having a high credit limit: It can improve your overall debt-to-credit ratio, which is important to keeping a high credit score; it allows you to spend more, which can be helpful for making large purchases, as long as you can afford it; and it enables rewards cardholders to maximize their cash back or points.

For all these reasons, I wanted to increase my credit limit on a store card I have held for several months — the Target REDcard. I spend a lot of money at Target — more than the credit limit allows me to spend in a month. I often choose to not shop there after I have hit a certain self-imposed spending limit each month, because I can’t take advantage of my 5% discount without hurting my credit utilization.

I always pay my bill on time and in full, and a higher credit limit would guarantee I spend more at the store. Most credit cards I have allow you to request an increase online, but this one doesn’t, so I called customer service.

It Can’t Hurt to Ask

“I’m sorry, we don’t do that,” the customer service rep told me. I called again another day, to make sure I had gotten the correct information, and a customer service rep told me the same thing. The only information she added is that I could request a flag on my account, noting my desire for a higher credit limit, so it would be seen the next time my account is reviewed for a potential increase.

Target says customers who would like a credit limit increase can call customer service and that the store “periodically review accounts to determine eligibility for automatically increasing credit limits.”

“The policy is unusual as most banks will at least consider a credit limit increase, unless the card was just opened,” says Jason Steele, a credit card rewards expert and contributor to Credit.com. Target’s REDcards are issued by TD Bank USA, which did not return a request for comment.

My account has been flagged for review, and I’m still waiting on the result.

So You Want to Raise Your Credit Limit?

If you’re looking to raise your credit limit, there are a few things you can try. Explore the cardholder terms, see if the request can be fulfilled online, then call customer service if it can’t be done another way. In the event the issuer doesn’t take such requests, ask for a note to be placed on your account, indicating you asked.

There’s little way of knowing how an issuer will decide whether or not to grant you an increase — they may simply review your account history, or make a hard inquiry on your credit. It’s important to know that a hard inquiry on your credit will temporarily drop your credit scores a few points. Also, your request may be declined if you have negative accounts on your credit report.

If you’re looking to get a credit limit increase, it helps to know what shape your credit is in. Monitoring your credit scores, which you can do for free using a tool like Credit.com’s Credit Report Card, can help you make better decisions if you know what areas of your credit need work.

Ultimately, the most important thing is to never request credit you can’t afford, and don’t use an increase to spend beyond your means.

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