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Credit Limit Increase Methods

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I am new to this forum and excited to learn more as I go. I have used the search function but I don't seem to be hitting what I am looking for in particular and would love some advice. I am in the process of raising my scores from 760s-780s in FICO 8 scoring, to 800s+ and it appears my current limitation is my current credit to debt ratio, I have all the other boxes checked off including a credit history of 24 years and watch things closely with myfico.com account. Although my debts are very low, my CCs I have are:

Capital One (5 years) - $9,544 limit

Citibank Rewards (17 years) - $15,269 limit
Bank of America (5 years) - $1,800 limit

I have no other credit cards or retail cards. Possibly applying for an Amex is a good idea as well?


So the main crux, I have applied for CLIs but because I have not used the cards near their maxes a CLI will not be approved. I have considered making purchases with my business merchant provider account with the cards so the money goes back to me and I can immediately pay it back off.  What methods of "moving" funds around to increase credit usage have you found to be successful or are recommended?

Thank you for your knowledge on the matter. 

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Of the 3 issuers you note, Capital One is the one most likely to cite insufficient use as a reason to decline a CLI request, in my experience.  I've largely abandoned attempts to increase my and my wife's C1 limits, given sporadic use.


Please note, though, that the "insufficient use" is not related to how much of a CL you've accessed; it's strictly related to frequency of charge activity.


With Citi, BA, Chase, and others, so long as I place 4-6 non-trivial charges ($25+) on the card each month, they're typically willing to extend reasonably generous CLI's at periodic intervals (usually at 6 mo spacing).


My utilization scheme that generally keeps me in the mid to high 800's (FICO 8 ) is to show utilization of no more than 30% on any one card, and have a total utilization ratio of less than 5% (bal / total CL's) ... I actually target 2% or less here.


Pushing for a low total utilization ratio while reporting some balances is best achieved by holding a portfolio of credit cards with respectable limits (including more than 1 from some issuers), ensuring that each card gets used at least once a year to avoid closure for non-use.


New cardholder promos provide the best strategy by which to acquire additional cards.  Features such as sign-up bonuses (SUB), promo cashback rates, and 0% financing can make any number of cards valuable candidates to add to that portfolio over time.


This is the gist of a CL increase strategy that I would recommend to most anyone.



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Running your card through your merchant account is a very expensive way to accomplish nothing other than getting your merchant account shut down. 


You need at least 5 major credit cards for max FICO scoring. 


Also getting to 800 is pretty much meaningless. You can get everything you want at 760-780.

Edited by shifter

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1 hour ago, shifter said:

Also getting to 800 is pretty much meaningless. You can get everything you want at 760-780.


Technically correct (and I cite the same).   However, ideally you want every score against which you might be evaluated to be at 760+.  My FICO 8's run 820-840 currently.  But my mortgage scores (FICO 2/4/5) run 725-750. 


Just saying that one can't rest on one's laurels just because a FICO 8 comes back at 760+.

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I started getting higher credit limits when I reached a score of 760. I make sure I am under 5% utilized. I also had to apply for a couple of cards when I hit about 720 or so to get to the 5-6 "major' credit card mix that FICO likes. I went ahead at the time and got a VISA with my credit union (credit unions give decent limits usually. I also get a 8% apr which is nice).  I also at that time got the Amazon visa from Chase, which I use all the time for my amazon purchases, and my Whole foods grocery shopping.


Anyway, the cards I chose were a personal preference, but I found that getting two more cards raised my score by 15-20 points pretty quickly (next reporting cycle when they reported). I am usually approved for limits of about 15k. This is probably due to my student loans (which are huge and in income based repayment) I subsequently got a Verizon Visa as well. My FICO 8 scores sit at about 765 across all bureaus. I'm not sure how high a limit you are looking for, or if you are just trying to raise your FICO score. Getting to that 5 card mix should raise your score, all other factors remaining equal in my experience.

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Excellent information! You brought up a great point hdporter, with FICO 8 my scores are high but under the 4/5 system they plummet to the 740s which is part of my concern and I'd like to have some 800 scores by now anyhow for some breathing room under those systems. I found myself scrambling to get over a 740 average in FICO 4/5 last minute for a loan a month ago which was deflating when the entire time I thought I was in the 780s. Fortunately I hit a 746 average under that system in time which got me a .2 drop on the loan rate. Great point on C1 as well and that was where I first encountered the issue. Based on responses, I garner acquiring an Amex or another card from a credit union may be the best approach at increasing my debt to credit ratio, as well as having a 5 card mix, instead of playing the numbers game with transfers.

Thank you everyone! 

Edited by SeattleGuyRepair

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While you're evaluating which additional cards to open, this might be a good time to look at your overall spending and then devise your "ultimate five-card wallet," focusing on maximizing rewards.


You may be able to take a couple of big steps up simply by doing product changes on one or more of your current cards, and then you would choose the two new ones to fill in any gaps.


3 hours ago, SeattleGuyRepair said:

another card from a credit union

You have prime credit.  Aim higher.

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