How to increase your Citi credit limit

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One of the most sustainable and established credit card issuers is Citibank. Citi credit cards are found in many wallets, not least because the big bank is a co-branding partner with several big names in the business world. The company acts as the issuer of the credit cards offered by:

Citi also offers a strong line of its own-brand plastics, so the bank has a strong presence in the market. And each of these many cards can get a credit limit increase if you know how and how. Read on to find out how to maximize your chances of getting a higher limit with a Citi credit card.

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First, the basics: what is a credit limit?

The credit limit on a card is the maximum amount an issuer will lend you. There is leeway here; it is possible to opt for protection against exceeding of limits, a service which, for a small fee, will allow a certain degree of exceeding. Additionally, some cards allow you to switch without penalty, although your minimum payment is adjusted upward to reflect increased spending.

Your issuer will tell you your credit limit when you receive your card. Additionally, every credit card statement will have this number, and it’s usually available on the online account management page.

What is a typical credit limit?

Credit card limits vary widely, even from a single issuer like Citibank. There is therefore nothing “typical”. The credit limit depends on the characteristics of the card and the target customer, as well as the financial profile of the card holder. If the customer is considered a safe credit risk, he or she will likely have a higher limit compared to other holders of the same plastic.

There are a few cards on the market that don’t have any preset spending limits. The most notable example is Citi’s rival American Express Centurion card (also known as “the black card”). As of this writing, Citi does not have a comparable card with virtually unlimited credit (sorry!).

Advice from Citi on how to get a credit limit increase

Typically, for a credit card issuer, Citi does not publish the exact criteria and weightings it uses in deciding a limit increase request. However, it does offer tips and advice on how cardholders can increase their chances of getting a “yes”. The bank offers you:

  • Make timely payments on your card (i.e. pay before the statement deadline; ideally in full). The bank rightly points out that this is the most important part of a cardholder’s credit rating.
  • Do not carry a balance from one survey period to another.
  • Use the card in accordance with its terms and conditions – Citi likes cardholders who play by the rules.

This is pretty common advice in the credit card world. Nonetheless, they are revealing in that they indicate what Citi considers important when assessing a new claim.

The two types of Citi credit limit increases

Citi credit card holders have two different types of credit limit increases available to them (if they qualify, of course). They are:

  • Permanent increase in limit. If approved, your new upper limit will be in effect for as long as you have the card… provided, of course, that you do not frequently violate the three principles in the previous section.
  • Temporary increase. This is the option to go if all you need is more cash flow for a sudden, short-term spike in spending. If approved, a temporary increase lasts no longer than 60 days from the date of approval.

How to request a limit increase for a Citi credit card

There are two main ways to request a temporary or permanent limit increase on any Citi credit card. Let’s go through them:

Telephone. The classic method; simply call 1-888-248-4226 for the bank’s customer service. Provide your card number or Social Security digits when prompted, then let the system walk you through the process.

In line. Log into your card account and navigate to “services”. From there choose ‘card services’. You will then have to choose a temporary or permanent increase in the credit limit. Citi will ask you for the following information:

  • Card number
  • Credit limit requested
  • Effective date
  • Reason for request

How to increase your chances of increasing your credit card limit

Ultimately, an issuer-cardholder relationship is simply a relationship between creditor and borrower. Therefore, despite their differences, all issuers essentially assess applications on the basis of similar criteria. In short, they want to see compelling evidence that you are being careful and will pay back at least some of their money on time.

In addition to the factors mentioned above (deadlines and full payment), here are some good habits to take to build this type of profile, regardless of the issuer to which you apply. Some of the most critical are:

  • Keep your credit utilization rate low. This ratio is simply the total amount of credit you used compared to your current credit limit. This is often the key to deciding whether an issuer will accept a new card application … or grant a request for a credit limit increase. A prudent borrower’s credit utilization rate should be less than about 40 percent.
  • Look at this DTI. A red flag is raised for a claimant whose debt has grown too high for their income. Credit experts advise that your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) ideally does not exceed around 35%.
  • Do not be tried to spend too much when more income comes in. It’s okay to increase a budget after such a happy occasion, but the usual and unnecessary overspending can wreak havoc on the credit utilization rate and DTI.
  • Keep an eye on your credit rating. You should be aware of the evolution of this very important number, as well as the practices and habits which can improve it.

Fortunately, some Citibank cardholders receive free monthly FICO score updates. Other free services go further, analyzing your score and making recommendations for improving it.

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