How to increase your American Express credit limit
American Express is not like its two big payment rivals, Visa and Mastercard. AmEx is both the brand on its cards and, in any case, for its best-known products, the credit issuer. Visa and Mastercard are brands and payment networks only; your bank or other financial institution is the entity that actually grants the credit.
This means that the company that determines if you can increase your American Express card limit is almost always… American Express (almost always, as the company offers branded cards from outside issuers).
This makes it relatively easy to define the methods and strategies for requesting a limit increase on an American Express credit card issued by AmEx. Fortunately, AmEx credit cards tend to cater to relatively affluent customers, so the issuer is often quite accommodating with limit increase requests.
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What’s a credit limit, anyway?
A card’s credit limit is exactly what it says on the label – it’s the highest amount an issuer will allow you to spend. So if your card has a limit of $ 5,000, you’re hitting the wall at that number (and generally, if it’s not covered by optional over-limit protection, transactions will be declined when you cross that threshold. ).
That being said, American Express has its own rules for going over your credit limit. The company says it can grant temporary approval to exceed the limit, and won’t cost you a fee to do so. This will, however, increase the minimum payment due for the relevant statement period.
What is a typical credit limit?
In the larger world of credit cards, there is no such thing as a “typical” limit. It varies considerably depending on the issuer; some cards for new credit card holders will only go up to $ 1,500 or $ 2,000 at most, while high-end products (like many in the American Express line) hit the five and even six range figures.
Some even have virtually no borders; in fact, American Express is known for it – the issuer’s famous Centurion (or “black”) card, for example, has no preset spending limit.
A credit limit also depends on the financial profile of the card holder. If he has proven himself to be a careful and cautious credit manager, especially if he uses little credit and usually pays card statements on time, the issuer will generally set the figure at a relatively high level. For those who have struggled with the same, most likely a lower limit would be imposed.
American Express Rules for Requesting a Credit Limit Increase
American Express has a few rules governing when a cardholder can officially request an increase in their credit limit. The company requires that:
- The request must be made at least 60 days after opening the card account, unless
- You wait at least 90 days between requests for a credit limit increase
- You wait at least six months to request a further credit limit increase on one of your American Express credit cards
American Express often responds immediately to a request; in some cases, it can take up to about 10 days to render a decision.
Important decision factors for American Express
In deciding whether or not to grant a credit limit request, American Express is quite traditional – at least according to its official statements on the matter. Judging by these, the company especially likes to see:
- Debt compared to overall income. A successful candidate will not have too high a debt compared to the total income. AmEx doesn’t state its purpose, but an accepted rule of thumb is that debt shouldn’t exceed around 35% of your income.
Sources of income for an applicant may include:
- Salary and / or
- Freelance salary
- Bond coupon payments
- Payments of dividends on shares
- Rent of real estate held for rent to third parties
- Spending habits. AmEx qualifies this item with the phrase “if known”. In this case, the company will compare this data to your earnings to determine if it would be appropriate to increase your limit.
- Credit reports and ratings. The most important credit scores are assigned by specialized credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and Transunion are the most important). These, along with the reports from these bureaus, give an indication of your status as a borrower.
- Payment history with American Express specifically (if applicable). Do you usually pay your AmEx bills on time? Otherwise, it could be a dealbreaker for a limit increase request.
How to avoid a decrease in your credit limit
American Express’s credit limit changes don’t just go one way. The issuer also reserves the right to lower the cap. This strongly implies that there are two situations in which he will seriously consider doing this:
- If a customer is late on his payments.
- When a card member begins to systematically exceed their credit limit.
American Express and its customers have a mutual interest in maintaining, and potentially increasing, credit limits.
In order to avoid the aforementioned bad habits, AmEx has the following suggestions. Generally speaking, these reflect the general advice offered by credit card experts, which includes advice such as:
- Monitor your credit on a constant basis; nowadays there are many free tools to do this.
- Accompaniement unnecessary expenses.
- Discipline yourself not to be tempted by impulse purchases.
- Implement automatic payments that disburse sufficiently in advance to meet at least the minimum payment on each statement deadline.
How to request an American Express credit increase
It is not at all difficult to request a limit increase on an American Express credit card. A cardholder can do this the old-fashioned way, talking to the company by phoning AmEx Customer Service at 1-800-528-4800. You will tell the kind voice of the robot assistant that you want your credit limit increased.
You will be guided from there. Just make sure you have your current financial (total income, housing expenses, etc.) and biographical information on hand for this.
Of course, you can also request a credit limit increase in line. Simply log into the relevant AmEx card account (if you have more than one), navigate to “Account Services”, then “Credit Management”, and finally click “Increase Line of Credit”.
The system will guide you through the process. Again, have your current financial and biographical information close at hand while you do this.