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Reducing your credit limit: Is it a good or bad idea?

From increasing your borrowing power for other loans to decreasing your temptation to overspend, discover the pros and cons of reducing your credit limit.

Depending on the situation you’re in, reducing your credit limit could either limit your spending power or help you take control of your finances. If you're unsure, this guide breaks down the potential positive and negative impacts of lowering your credit limit. You'll also discover the steps you need to reduce your credit limit and find a list of the contact details for the major credit card issuers in Australia.

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The positive and negative impacts of reducing your credit limit

Here are some of the pros and cons you should consider before you contact your credit card issuer to lower your credit limit.

Positives of reducing your credit limit

If you've maxed out your credit card in the past or find it hard to stick to a budget, you can curb the temptation to spend by reducing your credit limit as you pay off your balance. Instead, you can request a more reasonable credit limit that will prevent you from overspending and collecting a debt that you may struggle to repay. If you are having trouble clearing a large credit card debt that's collecting interest, you could consider transferring it to a card with 0% on balance transfers to pay it off interest-free for an introductory period.

If you're planning to apply for another line of credit (such as a credit card, loan or mortgage), reducing your credit limit could help you apply for a higher limit on your new product. This is because lenders consider your existing debt when assessing your application and determining your approved credit limit.

Downsides of reducing your credit limit

Lowering your credit limit can restrict your spending power, which could be inconvenient if you need to cover large purchases or emergency costs in the future. If you want to give yourself the option of a larger credit limit in the case of emergencies, you should stick to a monthly budget that you know you can repay in full each statement period. That way you'll have access to a higher credit limit if necessary, but can keep your regular costs under control.

In Australia, lowering your credit limit and your 'credit utilisation ratio' don't impact your credit score because your balances aren't recorded on your credit report.

How to reduce your credit limit

If you've weighed up the pros and cons and decided to reduce your credit limit, these are the steps you can follow to get started:

  1. Contact your bank provider (online, over the phone or in-branch)
  2. Request the credit limit decrease
  3. Your credit limit will be updated within 24-48 hours

Contact details for major credit card issuers in Australia

You can use the contact details below to request a credit limit decrease:

BankPhone number
American ExpressNumber on the back of your card.
ANZ13 22 73
Bankwest13 17 19
Bank of Melbourne13 22 66
Bank of Queensland1300 55 72 72
BankSA1300 784 934
Citi13 24 84
Commonwealth Bank13 22 21
HSBC132 1521300 301 168 (HSBC Premier)
Latitude Financial Services1300 552 079
NAB13 22 65
St.George1300 784 934
Westpac1300 130 961

If I reduce my credit limit now, can I apply for a higher credit limit later?

Yes, you can but most Australian financial institutions limit you to one application for a credit limit increase every six months. Please note that you'll need to go through a credit check each time you apply for a credit limit increase.

The other option is to complete and send in a credit limit increase application form. You can find this document on your credit card provider's website.

Reducing your credit limit can be an alternative to cutting up the card. Keep in mind you can only apply for a credit limit increase every six months with most cards so make sure you don’t need the money before you make the call to lower your limit – it may be a while before you can raise your limit again.

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Sally McMullen

Sally McMullen is an editor at finder.com.au who is a credit cards and frequent flyer expert by day and music maven by night.

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8 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    williamApril 24, 2018

    I have just checked up on my credit score and I find that I am a bankrupt which is incorrect
    is it possible for me to find out who made me bankrupt ?? Many Thanks.

    • Default Gravatar
      April 24, 2018

      Hi William,

      Thank you for visiting finder.

      You may request for your current Credit File at this page. Then you can read this page for your guide in identifying the incorrect entry on your file.

      Moreover, on this page you can follow the instructions on how you can remove the wrong information from your Credit File.

      I hope this helps.

      Let us know if there is anything else that we may assist you with.

      Cheers,
      Ash

  2. Default Gravatar
    RachelDecember 13, 2017

    If my credit card is already at the minimum 6000 product limit is there any way to lower it or should I transfer to another card that has a lower product limit if I’m wanting to lower the limit as I pay it off?

    • finder Customer Care
      RenchDecember 14, 2017Staff

      Hi Rachel,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      Unless you agree to receive credit limit increase invitations, the power to raise or lower your credit limit is up to you. If you’ve maxed out your credit card in the past or find it hard to stick to a budget, you can curb the temptation to spend by reducing your credit limit as you pay off your credit card.

      You may follow these steps to reduce your credit limit:
      1. Contact your bank provider (via phone or local branch).
      2. Request the credit limit decrease
      3. Your credit limit will be updated within 24-48 hours

      Hope this information helped.

      Best regards,
      Rench

  3. Default Gravatar
    PaulFebruary 17, 2016

    Does it increase my credit score on websites like GetCreditScore to decrease my limit on my current cards?

    I read somewhere that they consider your current available credit limit when determining if you are able to get a new card and the more credit you can already access to worse off they rate you.

    Can you clarify?

    • finder Customer Care
      SallyFebruary 19, 2016Staff

      Hi Paul,

      Thanks for your question.

      The impact that decreasing or increasing your credit limit will have on your credit score will depend on your credit history and ability to repay.

      If you’re struggling to repay your balance, reducing your credit limit to curb your temptation to spend more could help. So long as you’re able to make timely repayments and demonstrate that you’re a low risk applicant, reducing your credit limit could help improve your score.

      For more tips on improving your credit score, please see our guide.

      I hope this has helped.

      Cheers,

      Sally

  4. Default Gravatar
    PhilFebruary 16, 2012

    Hi, How do I go about reducing my credit limit on current credit card? Have tried via websites but can’t find how !! Do I need to go into a Westpac branch? Comments appreciated. Thanks Phil

    • finder Customer Care
      JeremyMarch 2, 2012Staff

      Hi Phil,

      Please contact your financial institution by phone or in person.

      Cheers.
      Jeremy

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