How to Get That Higher Credit Limit When You Need It
By: Brian O'Connell

NEW YORK (sbup) — The average consumer’s credit card debt is at $15,480, with the total amount due on credit card debt nationwide at $82 billion.

Even with all that debt, credit card providers are loosening the reins on credit card approvals, according to Creditnet.com.

But getting a credit card approved and getting a higher credit card limit are different.

Higher card limits allow you more options and flexibility, and it means creditors view you as a better credit risk than someone who doesn’t qualify – bringing access to lower interest rates on things such as cars, homes and big-ticket items such as consumer electronics.

How can you qualify for a higher credit card limit and improve your financial standing? Creditnet.com offers three key tips:

Know your score: Knowing your credit score before asking for a higher card limit is critical. Any FICO credit score below 700 decreases your odds of getting approved (but doesn’t mean you won’t). Get a free copy of your credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com and, once you know your score, take direct steps to address unpaid bills, mistakes on your report or other issues that threaten your good credit. Wait a month or two and then apply for the higher limit.

In general, though, if you have good credit and pay your bills on time, you’ll likely qualify for a higher card limit.

Make your case: There are a few tricks to helping build a case for your higher credit limit approval, starting with letting the card provider’s customer service representative know you’ve always paid your balance in full — a big issue for card companies — and giving a reason for the request. For example: You’ll be traveling more for business and need a little more wiggle room with your card. Finally, aim lower rather than higher with your request. If you ask for too much of a credit limit, the card company may flag your card account for review. The idea is to get the approval right away, over the phone, without an extended review.

Call directly: While you can apply for higher credit online, make it a point to talk to a customer service representative over the phone. That way you get to make your case and can talk to a card company supervisor if necessary.

—For more ways to save, spend, invest and borrow, visit MainStreet.com.

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