Getting a credit card spending limit hike may be easier than you think.
"My husband once got a credit card limit increase simply because he said that I told him to call and ask for one," says Catherine Alford, content manager for www.CouponChief.com. "The customer service representative just chuckled and gave it to him."
Getting a credit limit hike wasn't always so easy.
10 years ago, at the height of the Great Recession, card companies were loath to grant credit limit hikes, often over fears that consumer debt burdens would only grow and the card providers wouldn't get their money back. Yet now, with the economic outlook in a healthier state, credit card companies may be more amenable to allowing card credit limit hikes—as long as you know how to ask.
One approach isn't exactly quick, but it's worth it in the end, one card expert says.
"I have four credit cards, all with $50,000 limits," says Mike Scanlin, the chief executive officer at Born to Sell in Las Vegas, Nev. "But it took me several years to get there."
Here are the two key steps Scanlin took to gain his mile-high credit card spending limit.
1. Charge Something on Each Card Every Month
"It doesn't have to be a big amount of cash," he says. "You just want to show some activity—gas and a couple of restaurant charges are fine. Just pay off the card every month."
Sometimes card providers will boost your card credit limit automatically, usually after noticing you've been payoff your bills, and always on time.
"I've been aggressive with paying down my credit card and one day I randomly received a letter from the bank stating they are increasing my credit limit," says Andre Albritton, a self-described financial junkie and founder of The Millennials Next Door website.
"Banks want to keep good borrowers in the fold and will give rewards, such as credit limit increases to keep borrowers [with] the company. Paying down debt and possibly receiving a credit limit increase is like knocking two birds out with one stone."
2. Once Every Six Months (And Not Sooner Than That) Call Every Card Issuer You Have and Ask for a Credit Line Increase
"They'll often ask you to state your income at that time," Scanlin notes. "Sometimes they'll ask you the reason you need the increase, but more often, they don't." Scanlin usually says he's considering financing a series of larger purchases, like a home remodel or a vacation.
"If your limit is currently low, and your income higher than you need for that limit, then often they will give you an automatic increase because of the prior six months of usage and on-time payments," he says.
Another approach is a straightforward one—just ask for a credit limit hike.
"Although the economy will dictate the criteria for cardholders who are approved and those who aren't, asking for a credit limit increase can be in your favor," Albritton says. "Your bank will want to know basic information such as income, monthly payments and credit limit increase amount."
"All requests should be separated by several months as asking for multiple credit limit increases is not favorable," he adds. Another simple way to get a credit limit from your card company—let them know when you're earning more money.
"I've been able to get a credit-limit increase by notifying my credit card company when I have an increase in pay," says J.R. Duren, a credit card analyst at HighYa.com. "Income is an important factor in credit limit calculations."
Whether you're taking a long-term or immediate approach, know that the card companies are open to lifting your plastic spending ceiling.
Basically, all you have to do is be a smart financial consumer and pick up the phone and ask.
Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer or other company, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. All information, including rates and fees, are accurate as of the date of publication.