What happens if my credit card is over the limit? | Finder

Going over your credit card limit

What happens when you spend more than your credit limit and whether or not you'll be charged.

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Depending on your bank or credit card issuer, an over-limit transaction may be declined, approved and subject to a fee, or approved with the expectation it is immediately paid back.

If you're struggling to make repayments, you should contact your bank immediately to discuss your options. They may be able to organise a repayment plan to help you get your debt under control. Another option is a balance transfer credit card that allows you to pay 0% p.a. interest for a set number of months (usually up to 24).

Over limit policies

As long as your card wasn't opened before 2012, the following apply. If your account was opened before 2012, please contact your bank directly to enquire about overlimit fees.

ProviderNotes
American Express
  • All credit card accounts are allowed to spend over limit with the expectation it is repaid immediately
ANZ
  • Where you consent to being able to go over your credit limit, you will be charged a $20 fee once per statement period
Bank of Melbourne
  • No overlimit fees apply
BankSA
  • No overlimit fees apply
Bankwest
  • If debits to your credit card take you over your credit limit then a $10 overlimit administration fee will be charged in each statement period
  • You can opt for it not to go over the limit - contact the lender to do this
Citi
  • No overlimit fees apply
Commonwealth Bank
  • No overlimit fees apply
CUA
  • No overlimit charge applies. If you do exceed your limit, the minimum repayment for the next statement period is the overlimit amount. If you don't pay this, you'll be charged a late payment fee of $12.50.
HSBC
  • All credit card accounts can be arranged to allow spending over the credit limit and an overlimit charge of $30 will apply
Latitude Financial Services
  • You cannot spend over your credit limit, interest charges may take you over the limit; however, no fee will be charged for doing so
NAB
  • Some transactions will take you over your credit limit, you will not be charged a fee but the amount is due immediately
St.George
  • No overlimit fees apply
Virgin Money
  • No overlimit fees apply
Westpac
  • Whether or not you can spend over your credit limit depends on factors like your history of repayments on your account
  • You can contact Westpac and opt out of being able to exceed your credit limit

How much can I go over my credit limit?

If your bank or lender allows you to overdraw your account and exceed your credit limit, typically, you must repay the overage amount immediately. If your card doesn't allow you to go over your credit limit, the transaction may be declined and you'll be unable to use your card until you pay down some of the balance. If you do need to spend more than your credit limit, contact your bank and discuss your options for requesting a credit limit increase.

Balance Transfer Offers

Data updated regularly
$
% p.a.
Name Product Balance transfer rate Purchase rate Annual fee Amount saved
Citi Rewards Card - Balance Transfer Offer
0% p.a. for 30 months
21.49% p.a.
$49 annual fee for the first year ($149 p.a. thereafter)
Save on interest with 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 30 months with no balance transfer fee. Plus, a $49 first-year annual fee.
Kogan Money Black Card - Exclusive Offer
0% p.a. for 24 months
20.99% p.a.
$0
Finder Exclusive
Save with a $0 annual fee and a 0% introductory rate on balance transfers. Plus, earn $50 Kogan.com Credit and uncapped rewards points.
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
0% p.a. for 36 months
19.99% p.a.
$29 annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
Save money with a 0% balance transfer rate for 36 months (with no BT fee), a first-year annual fee discount and free travel insurance.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Balance Transfer Offer
0% p.a. for 26 months
20.74% p.a.
$64 annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
Get 0% p.a. for 26 months on balance transfers and a reduced first-year annual fee. Plus, $129 Virgin Australia Gift Voucher per year.
St.George Vertigo Classic
0% p.a. for 28 months
13.99% p.a.
$55
Enjoy a 0% interest rate on balance transfers for 28 months, with no balance transfer fee.
ANZ Low Rate
0% p.a. for 20 months
12.49% p.a.
$0 annual fee for the first year ($58 p.a. thereafter)
Save with 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 20 months (with no BT fee) and $0 first-year annual fee. Plus a 12.49% p.a. purchase interest rate.
Bankwest Breeze Classic Mastercard
0% p.a. for 26 months with 2% balance transfer fee
10.99% p.a.
$0 annual fee for the first year ($49 p.a. thereafter)
Save with 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 26 months (with a 2% BT fee) and $0 first-year annual fee. Plus, a 10.99% p.a. purchase interest rate.
Virgin Money No Annual Fee Credit Card
0% p.a. for 12 months
0% p.a. for 12 months, reverts to 18.99% p.a.
$0
Save with an ongoing $0 annual fee and 0% p.a. on balance transfers and purchases for 12 months.
Bendigo Bank Low Rate Credit Card
0% p.a. for 24 months with 2% balance transfer fee
11.99% p.a.
$45
Save with 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 24 months (with a 2% BT fee). Plus a 11.99% p.a. purchase interest rate.
Citi Rewards Card - Bonus Points Offer
0% p.a. for 15 months
21.49% p.a.
$49 annual fee for the first year ($149 p.a. thereafter)
Get 100,000 bonus Citi reward Points (worth $460 in gift cards) when you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days. Plus, a $49 first-year annual fee.
Qantas Premier Platinum
0% p.a. for 18 months with 1% balance transfer fee
19.99% p.a.
$199 annual fee for the first year ($299 p.a. thereafter)
Get 100,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend at least $4,000 within the first 3 months. Plus a discounted $199 first-year annual fee.
Citi Rewards Card - Velocity Points Offer
0% p.a. for 15 months
21.49% p.a.
$99 annual fee for the first year ($199 p.a. thereafter)
Enjoy 100,000 bonus Velocity Points when you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days. Plus, complimentary travel and purchase insurance.
Westpac Altitude Platinum Qantas
0% p.a. for 18 months with 1% balance transfer fee
20.49% p.a.
$149 annual fee for the first year ($200 p.a. thereafter)
Get 60,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $3,000 within 90 days. Plus, a first-year annual fee discount and a 0% balance transfer offer.
Coles Rewards Mastercard
0% p.a. for 18 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
19.99% p.a.
$0 annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
Enjoy 20,000 bonus Flybuys points, a $0 first-year annual fee and 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 18 months (1.5% fee applies).
Bankwest Breeze Platinum Mastercard
0% p.a. for 26 months with 2% balance transfer fee
10.99% p.a.
$0 annual fee for the first year ($69 p.a. thereafter)
Get 0% interest on balance transfers for 26 months, a $0 first-year annual fee, complimentary travel insurance and no foreign transaction fees.
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How to avoid going over your credit limit

Although some issuers give you the option to spend beyond your limit and be charged a fee, it's best to spend responsibly and within your limit. Here are some tips to help you avoid going over your limit:

  • Repay your balance in full each month

You should always aim to pay off your credit card balance at the end of each statement period so that you can avoid interest. If you can't afford to pay it off in full, you should still attempt to clear as much of the debt as you can. Not only will you reduce your interest costs, but you'll also avoid going over your credit limit.

If your balance is close to your credit limit, remember that any interest rates or fees (such as a cash advance fee charged after you use your card for an ATM withdrawal) could push you over your credit limit. This is why it's important to check your statement regularly and stay on top of your balance. Check out Finder's guide to paying your credit card bill on time for more tips.

  • Set up automatic repayments

The simplest way to ensure your bill is paid each month is to set up automatic repayments - so the balance is pulled from your bank account and you don't have to worry about remembering to manually make payments. There are a couple of ways you can easily do this, such as setting up internet banking. If you have a smartphone, you can download the bank app and monitor your balance at any time.

  • Impose a hard limit on your credit card account

If you have a provider that allows you to spend over your credit limit, and you're sick of incurring credit card overlimit fees, the simplest solution is to give your lender a call and let them know that you want to impose a 'hard limit' on your credit card account. This means that once you reach your credit limit, any transaction that would have taken you over limit will be declined.

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8 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    RickOctober 12, 2017

    Can your credit card company allow you to go over your limit by $4,000 and not notify you that you are over your limit?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JudithOctober 13, 2017Staff

      Hi Rick,

      Please note that finder is an Australian comparison website and general information service. While we do not represent any company we feature on our pages, we can offer you general advice.

      Kindly contact the credit card company that you are referring to. You may also chat with us if you need further assistance on general questions that you may have.

      Best regards,
      Judith

    Default Gravatar
    PaulaJune 2, 2017

    If you have an overlimit facility in place with your bank can a merchants own bank setup stop your bank from pushing your card over its limit? Eg $20 available on your card to spend but you have a direct debit with Jane Doe worth $30. You have the overlimit facility with your bank up to $500 but something in Jane Doe’s own setup knows you’re over your limit and will decline the payment? Can that happen?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MayJune 2, 2017Staff

      Hi Paula,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      Basically, yes, a merchant/store can deny a card transaction for a number of different reasons, and one of these is if your card doesn’t have enough funds. If your bank allows you to go over your limit, you would need to contact your bank so this facility is activated. Usually, even this facility is already active, there would be instances that the merchants may still decline your card. So when this happens, the usual immediate solution is that the merchant should call your bank and pass the phone to you so you can verify some details. Best to contact your bank as well to confirm what to do for any future transaction such as this.

      Cheers,
      May

      Default Gravatar
      PaulaJune 2, 2017

      Thanks May. Thank you so much for responding. What would you say if I said that for years prior to a certain date these different merchants did allow transactions to go over the limit but after that date they all started declining them, every time, and all different merchants. And the bank says that nothing has changed with the account and the overlimit facility is still active. How would you deal with that?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MayJune 2, 2017Staff

      Hi Paula,

      Thanks for getting back.

      The acceptance of a card payment is basically depending on the merchant’s discretion, as they are entitled to accept any form of payment they wish for their services. Although I am not really sure why would they not accept your card with an activated over-limit facility, they may have their reasons for doing so. Since your bank has activated your over-limit facility and they have no problem if you will use the facility, it would be best then to maybe obtain an explanation from the merchant why they would decline your card.

      By the way, just to confirm though, as we are comparison website and general information service, we can only offer suitable general advice to any questions you have.

      Cheers,
      May

      Default Gravatar
      PaulaJune 2, 2017

      Thanks May.

      I totally understand it’s general advice and I’ll only take what you say as guidance, not gospel. I’m just at a loss to resolve this and don’t know who else I can speak to. I have spoken to one merchant who said they have no interest in my own situation and therefore would not suddenly start blocking payments. Just to clarify it’s all merchants eg RACV insurance, Apple iTunes, Netflix, Spotify etc. They all would push payments through previously and now they all don’t. I fail to believe that every merchant I deal with have all decided to decline payments at the same time.

      I was hoping to get more an idea on what happens in the back end at the bank because I think it must have to be them somehow.

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MayJune 6, 2017Staff

      Hi Paula,

      Thanks for your message as well.

      I completely understand that you’d want this issue resolved. Yes, best to contact your bank too, they may have implemented some conditions on your over-limit facility that could prevent the debiting of payments for the merchants you’ve mentioned.

      Cheers,
      May

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