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Card Issuers Don't Care What Credit Limit You "Need"

Credit limits for Balance Transfer Credit Cards


Credit issuers have become quite stingy when offering new credit card limits. But who can really blame them? With unemployment high and the economy still sputtering along, it shouldn't come as a surprise that credit issuers want to do everything possible to reduce unnecessary risk. Likewise, consumers are trying to reduce their own risk by paying down credit card debt and saving more cash. According to the latest report from the Federal Reserve Bank, revolving credit decreased nearly $900 million between June and July of this year. That marks a total annual decline of 1.8 percent and suggests that Americans are truly serious about not only curbing spending but also managing their existing debt.

So, how are they actually doing it? 0% balance transfer credit cards continue to be one of the most popular tools people use to pay down high-interest credit card debt during tough economic times. While these types of card offers aren't as abundant as they were a few years ago, there are fortunately several excellent products still on the market from major issuers like Citibank and Discover. And consumers are taking advantage of them whenever possible by consolidating existing balances and paying off their debt faster with no interest charges to worry about. But what happens when you apply for a new 0% interest credit card and you can't get a credit limit high enough to complete the balance transfer you hoped to accomplish in the first place? We recently received an email from Kenny in Indiana who had just applied for a Citi Platinum Select credit card. His main goal was to transfer approximately $2,500 in high-interest credit card debt to a new card so he could pay it off at 0 percent interest over 18 months. However, Kenny was concerned that nothing on the application asked what kind of credit limit he was looking to obtain. "Shouldn't this kind of information be included on the application", he asked? Ah, if only it were so easy Kenny. Credit issuers frankly couldn't care less about how much credit you want or need. When determining credit limits and assessing your credit risk, they have their bottom lines, not your needs, at heart. However, that doesn't mean you should just give up if you're approved for a new card with a measly credit limit that doesn't meet your balance transfer needs. Even in this current lending environment, it can't hurt to immediately call your credit card company and request a credit limit increase. If you have a great credit score, you may be surprised at the positive response you'll receive. If the answer is no, it's not the end of the world. Wait a few months, show a record of on-time payments, and then request the credit limit increase. After 3-6 months of regular use and on-time payments, most credit issuers will be happy to pump up your credit limits and win more of your business.

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Elisabeth Chan's picture

Elisabeth Chan is Creditnet's resident credit card expert. Elisabeth graduated Magna Cum Laude from Brigham Young University's Marriott School of Business.

When she's not rating and reviewing credit cards, Elisabeth enjoys gushing over her daughter (who is her exact clone), eating out (sushi and Chinese are favs), or attempting to conquer the pilates reformer machine (so far, all attempts have been futile).

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