Credit Limits

Lowering Credit Limit Can Hurt Credit Scores

Dear Experian,

I have heard that requesting lower credit limits can hurt your credit scores. Is this true?


Dear MMB,

Lowering credit limits could hurt your credit scores.

Lowering credit limits while balances stay the same will increase your overall utilization rate. Your utilization rate is also called your balance-to-limit ratio. It is simply a comparison of your total balances on your credit cards to your total credit limits.

Closing an account or reducing your limit makes the utilization rate increase, which will hurt credit scores in most cases.

If you are tempted to overspend by having that available credit, it may be more important to lower that limit to help you avoid debt that you can't afford. It is better to have lower scores than to live with financial stress.

If you don't know how your credit would be viewed in terms of risk, consider ordering a credit score from Experian when you request your free annual credit report at That is a good way to get a clearer understanding of what is affecting your personal credit scores. Experian will provide you a list of factors from your credit report that are most affecting the score. If you need to improve your scores, you can focus on changing those behaviors and all of your scores will improve.

Thanks for asking.
The "Ask Experian" team