There are approximately 16 million credit cards issued in Australia. Nearly one in every two Australians uses at least one credit card. Credit cards are a helpful part of one’s finances. However, consumers aren’t given any professional advice about the best credit limit for their financial goals and circumstances. Take control of an important part of your wallet and find the right credit card limit for you.
What does it mean to increase your credit card limit?
A credit limit is the maximum amount you can spend on a credit card and is pre-approved by the bank. For example, if your credit limit is $5,000, you cannot incur charges that exceed that amount. You won’t be able to use your credit card until a payment is made to bring it back under the limit.
Some cards come approved with a high minimum credit limit, while others start low. The application process for higher credit limits is more stringent than the entry-level cards.
Credit limits depend on the card you choose, your financial situation, current debt and credit score. While credit cards come with a limit, this isn’t a fixed figure — you can increase or decrease it during the years you use it. Increasing your credit limit means having more available funds.
How banks set credit card limits
Lenders set a maximum credit limit based on your income and financial history. Or, you can set your own limit during the application process.
Credit limits between products from the same bank can differ widely. Westpac, for example, offers cards with a $500 minimum credit limit through to a $15,000 limit. The higher limit requires an annual income of $75,000 and good credit standing (up-to-date repayments on all bills and debt). In short, what matters to banks is the income you’re making and your ability to repay debt.
What is a normal credit limit increase?
There is no standard, ‘normal’ credit card increase, as it depends on each consumer’s situation. However, credit limits can range from $1,000 for beginner and student cards to $75,000 for high-end black and metal cards.
It’s illegal for banks to make unsolicited offers to increase a credit card limit. In other words, credit card increases must be initiated by consumers, not lenders. There are no unsolicited or automatic credit card limit increases in Australia.
How to request a credit card limit increase
The fastest and easiest way to arrange an increase is through your online banking. You can also call your bank’s customer service line or go to a branch. If your credit score is strong and you’re using the card responsibly, you could consider a second card to access additional credit. Take the time to reflect on why you want a credit increase. Is it for a specific purchase or purpose, or just to serve as a buffer? Your goal will direct your decision-making.
Here’s the process if you’re with one of the Big Four banks.
Apply for an increase, decrease your limit and set a spending cap, all via the CommBank app or NetBank. As a customer, you can apply for a credit limit increase anytime. If approved, the new limit will reflect immediately in your online banking dashboard.
You can apply for an increase through online banking. It’s an easy online application with an instant response. You can also call 1300 651 089 or visit a nearby branch. Make sure you have proof of regular Australian income, a fixed address, and haven’t been declined for an increase in the past six months.
To apply for a credit card limit increase, visit ANZ internet banking. Select your credit card and follow the prompts. You can also do this via telephone banking on 13 22 73.
For NAB customers, use the app to change your limit. From the Cards menu, select your card, then Usage controls to request a limit change. Have your key documents ready, including current employment, income, assets and expenses. The assessment takes a few days, so don’t expect an instant answer.
» MORE: What affects your credit score?
What to consider before increasing your credit card limit
Depending on your personal situation, a credit card limit increase can be both good and bad. If your credit score is solid, you’re comfortably using and fully paying off your card every month and you are planning to make a big purchase, a higher limit could help you.
On the other hand, if you don’t know your credit score (or it’s not in the healthy range), an increase could hurt you if you tend to overspend and haven’t got the equivalent amount in savings. Ask yourself, why do I want a credit card limit increase, and what will I use it for? Do I want it or need it? If you need it, it’s likely not the best option.
As with all things financial, self-awareness is an underrated asset to have. Before making any big financial decisions, spend time in reflection. Give your finances the same amount of forethought as your other big life choices. Because when it comes to credit and debt, it’ll impact all future goals and decisions.
Frequently asked questions credit card limit increases
In most instances, if you have a history of on-time repayments and reliable income, you’ll have more negotiation power with your bank — as long as it’s a credit card working for you, with a fair interest rate and fees.
If you’re building your credit score, it could help to add another product to showcase you can handle a variety of debt repayments. Talk to your bank before you make a decision.
While there’s no specific rule for when to increase a credit limit, you can review it every six to 12 months, along with your credit report. Credit cards are ‘revolving debt’, so you’ll have various limits over the years with the same card.