Increase your spending power by requesting a higher credit limit on your credit card.
If you use your credit card regularly, requesting a higher credit limit could help you increase your financial flexibility, avoid overlimit penalty fees, earn frequent flyer points on big ticket items or allow you to consolidate balances onto one card. Use this guide to find out how to request a credit limit increase with your bank, and learn the factors to consider and some tips to improve your chances of approval.
What you'll find in this guide
How to increase the credit limit on your credit card
The first step is to ask your bank for a credit limit increase. Here’s how you can initiate an increase to your credit limit with different credit card issuers:
|Bank||How to increase the credit limit|
|American Express||Log into your American Express account or call the number on the back of your card and make your request. Processing is immediate and your credit limit will be increased within the hour if approved.|
|ANZ||Sign into ANZ Internet banking, select your credit card account, then select "Apply for a credit card limit increase". You will then be prompted to fill out an online application form. This online service is only applicable to personal credit cards and you must be the primary credit cardholder. For business credit card requests, visit an ANZ branch or call 13 22 73 at any time.|
|Bank of Melbourne||Log into Bank of Melbourne internet banking, look under "Manage my accounts". Under the "Card services" heading, select "Increase credit card limit" to make your request. You can get an instant response when applying online. Otherwise, call 1300 784 934 and say “increase card limit” when prompted. Bank of Melbourne stipulates that you can only apply for a credit limit increase six months after your account opening date or last requested increase.|
|Bankwest||Log into Bankwest online banking, select "forms" under "self service", and register for credit card limit increase invitations. Otherwise, visit a Bankwest branch or call 13 17 19.|
|Citi||Log into Citi Online, and go to "My offers" to accept an increase or call Citi on 13 24 84. Citi stipulates that you can only request a credit limit increase nine months after your account opening date or last requested increase. Your credit limit cannot be increased by more than 50% of your current limit, or beyond the product maximum.|
|Coles Mastercard||Call 1300 306 397 to apply. You will be asked a few questions over the phone regarding your current income and expenses, and your credit limit will be increased on the same day if approved.|
|Commonwealth Bank||Open your NetBank to register for credit limit increase invitations, or complete the physical form for submission at any branch. The bank will send you an invitation when you are conditionally approved, and you can then apply for your limit increase through a much shorter process. Otherwise, visit any CommBank branch or call 13 22 21 for assistance.|
|HSBC||You will need to download and complete the "Credit Limit Increase Request form" to be submitted by fax to 02 8987 5923 or by post to HSBC Card Services, Reply Paid 4263, Sydney NSW 2001. You can also call 132 152 to request a credit limit increase. HSBC stipulates that you can only apply for a credit limit increase six months after your account opening date or last requested increase, provided your account has been kept in good order.|
|NAB||When you log into NAB internet banking, open the "Apply now" menu, select "Credit card credit limit" and make your request. Otherwise, you can download and complete the "Credit card limit increase/decrease application" for submission at any NAB branch, by fax to 1300 363 689, or by post to Consumer and Commercial Cards, Reply Paid 9992, Melbourne VIC 8060. Alternatively, you can call 13 22 65 (8am-7pm Monday-Friday, 9am-6pm on weekends AEST/AEDT) or +61 3 8641 9083 from overseas.|
|St.George||Log into St.George internet banking, look under "Manage my accounts", select "Card services", then select "Increase credit card limit". You can get an instant response when applying online. Otherwise, call 1300 784 934 and say “increase credit card limit” when prompted. You can also request a credit limit increase at your nearest branch. St.George stipulates that you can only apply for a credit limit increase six months after your account opening date or last requested increase.|
|Westpac||Log in to Westpac online banking and select "request a credit limit increase". Alternatively, visit any Westpac branch or call 1300 130 961. You can also register for credit limit increase invitations online or call 1300 651 089 (8am-8pm, Monday to Friday).|
Credit limit increase offers
Your credit card provider may also offer to send you invitations to increase your credit limit. This service is only available if you opt-in to receive the invitations. Contact your provider directly to find out more.
What should I consider before requesting a credit limit increase?
When you first get a credit card, your bank or provider will usually assign you with an affordable credit limit for your circumstances. This limit is based on factors in your credit card application including your income, expenditure, existing debt and credit score or credit rating.
If you get a credit limit that's too high, you'll increase the risk of ongoing debt. Submitting a request for a credit limit increase also impacts on your credit history. So before deciding if you want a credit limit increase, it's a good idea to consider whether or not these circumstances have changed.
Consider the following reasons why you should or shouldn't request a credit limit increase for more information.
Reasons why you might want to increase your limit
- It could help your credit score. If you can afford a higher credit limit, it could help improve your credit score by providing you with a lower credit utilisation ratio (the amount of credit used compared to the amount of credit available).
- Increased spending potential. You’ll enjoy greater spending power because you can make larger purchases without worrying about maxing out your card.
- Greater rewards earning potential. A higher credit limit means you can use your card for more purchases and maximise the points you earn per $1 spent on a rewards or frequent flyer card
- Emergency funds. You’ll have a bigger safety net in case of an emergency.
Why you shouldn’t request a limit increase
- If you have a bad credit history. When assessing your application, the bank will make an inquiry into your credit history. This credit inquiry is then recorded on your credit report and can negatively affect your credit score.
- Potential rejected application. If your request is denied, it will impact your credit score and you’ll have to wait longer before your next application. Lenders tend to get suspicious when they see many credit inquiries made within a short period of time listed on your credit report.
- Meeting monthly repayments. A higher credit limit and larger debt also means higher minimum monthly repayments.
- Increased debt risks. Having more credit could increase your spending and lead to more debt if you’re not disciplined.
What happens if I go over my credit limit?
Although your credit limit generally sets the ceiling for your credit card spending, some card companies may let you exceed that limit and some may also charge you a penalty for going over your limit. Make sure you check these details with your credit card company so you can avoid additional fees if you max out your card.
How to increase your chances of being approved for a higher credit limit
- Use your card regularly. Card providers generally favour cardholders who use their cards frequently and pay off their balances on time. This shows them two things: that you have a need for a higher credit limit and that you can handle credit responsibly.
- Make payments on time and pay your balance in full. Timely payments can improve your chances for approval because they show the bank that you are a responsible and low-risk borrower. Paying off the full balance also shows the bank that you’re capable of managing a higher credit card limit.
- Optimise your credit score. Always protect your credit score by making payments on time. Even late payments on phone and utility bills, car loans or personal loans can hurt your credit report and deter the bank from increasing your credit limit.
- Don’t ask too soon or too often. Unless otherwise stipulated, credit card providers typically review your account after six months. Asking before that time could raise alarm bells and hurt your chances of a future credit limit increase. Asking again too soon after a previous request can have a similar outcome.
- Don’t ask for too much. Prudence can go a long way when it comes to requesting a credit limit. It is better to ask for a conservative 10-25% increase than to wildly shoot for more. Unless your circumstances have drastically changed, your request should be capped at 30% more than your current limit.
- Apply for a card with a high minimum credit limit. Premium credit cards typically offer higher minimum credit limits than standard cards. If you meet the eligibility requirements for these cards, you could compare your options and apply for one that suits your spending habits and needs.
Even if a credit limit increase isn’t on the cards for you yet, all the above suggestions are good habits to practice. The underlying principle is to establish a healthy credit history by borrowing and repaying responsibly. A credit limit increase may be good to have but it shouldn’t increase your spending dramatically, or negatively impact your ability to repay. You should only apply for a credit increase if you can afford it, and spend responsibly.
Comparison of high credit limit credit cards