What to Expect When You Max Out a Credit Card

Hitting your credit limit can hurt your credit scores, hike your minimum payments and cause future transactions to be declined.
Melissa LambarenaApr 26, 2021
What to Expect When You Max Out a Credit Card

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A maxed-out credit card can lead to serious consequences if you don't act fast to lower your balance.

When you hit your card's limit, the high balance may cause your credit scores to drop, your minimum payments to increase and your future transactions to be declined.

Here's what to be aware of when you max out a credit card, and how to go about addressing the problem.


Maxing out your credit card increases your , or the amount of credit you’re using compared with the amount of credit you have available. Credit utilization is among the , which help lenders evaluate your credit risk when deciding whether to loan you money. Most financial experts recommend keeping credit utilization below 30% to maintain a healthy credit score.

If you must use all of your available credit — say, if you’re financially squeezed by an emergency —  can bounce back eventually, as long as you pay down the balance and stay on track with payments.


Maxing out a credit card can potentially result in a higher minimum payment, depending on how your issuer calculates it.

Usually, the includes a percentage of your balance. The higher the balance, the larger the minimum payment. If you’re curious, you may find specifics of how your minimum payment is determined in your card’s terms and conditions, or you can contact your issuer for details.

A higher minimum payment can be an adjustment for your budget. It may be harder to manage, especially if you were already struggling to cover the previous minimum payment.


When you max out a credit card, you typically don’t have any room for spending. Depending on your issuer and credit profile, your credit card may either be declined for purchases or you could be allowed to exceed your credit limit, up to an amount.

Either way, though, if you’re already struggling to pay down your credit card debt, will only dig you further into debt. Once you've maxed out your credit card, your best course of action is to craft a plan to pay down your balance.


If you’re having a hard time paying down your balance, you might consider exploring your . Depending on your creditworthiness, you can employ one of these strategies:

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