March 11th, 2013

Credit Q&A Series: How do credit limit increases affect my score?

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How do credit limit increases affect my score?

Welcome to another installment of the Credit Q&A Series on the Credit Karma Blog!

As we shared with you last time Ken Lin our founder and CEO has been making weekly appearances on the Ed Shultz Talk Radio Show. Ken brings credit and finance knowledge to Ed’s listeners.

Lately Ken’s been answering questions from the show’s listeners. Today’s question is all about credit limit increases.

Listener Question

“Is there a severe impact on your credit score if you get a healthy credit limit increase on one of your credit cards and then you subsequently request to close several smaller cards?”

Ken’s Answer

The answer to this question can vary depending on specific situations, but there are some general rules you should keep in mind. Here are four different tips to think about if you find yourself in a similar situation.

  1. Credit limit increases are good. Receiving a limit increase can help lower your credit utilization rate. If you have $1000 of debt and your limit is only $2000 you are at 50 percent of your utilization. But if you can add another $2000 to your limit you’ll be at 25 percent. Credit companies like this since it appears you are not the edge of using too much of your available credit.
  2. Don’t let a higher limit lead to higher debt. Just because you were given an increased credit limit shouldn’t mean you have an excuse to spend more and increase your debt.
  3. Closing too many accounts at once can negatively affect your score. Consumers should always keep their credit utilization to less than 30 percent. If you close too many accounts at once the utilization rate you worked to lower by increasing you limit could go right back up.
  4. If you need to close an account, chose wisely. Another important part of your credit score is your credit history. For example if you have had a credit card that you opened when you were 18 and you are now 30, that card has 12 years of credit history. If you’ve consistently been responsible with that card, it shows lenders you have been a good customer, not missing payments or defaulting on your debt. You probably don’t need a ton of cards so it is ok to close some, but be careful not to close the one with a longest history.

Still not sure how this type of situation could impact your credit score? Sign up for Credit Karma and check out our credit simulator. This lets you see how various financial actions could affect your credit score over time.

Amy

Amy Leone is the Public Relations Coordinator at Credit Karma. Before joining the team in June 2012 she spent most of her career as a TV news producer. When she’s not helping promote Credit Karma on a variety of media outlets, she’s probably out running or exploring her new state of California.

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Disclaimer: All information posted to this site was accurate at the time of its initial publication. Efforts have been made to keep the content up to date and accurate. However, Credit Karma does not make any guarantees about the accuracy or completeness of the information provided. For complete details of any products mentioned, visit bank or issuer website.

15 Comments

  1. > If you need to close an account, chose wisely.

    The ramifications of this do not realize until ten years after you close the account when the credit line falls off your report. Otherwise, there’s no negative harm other than the utilization ratio you mentioned earlier.

    I closed some accounts recently and it did not affect my score. It is true, my utilization ratio went up, but not by much as we pay off each statement and usage is low after becoming debt free.

    Sun at 9:46 am on March 11, 2013
  2. Great answers. The credit utilization factor is something a lot of consumers don’t really take into consideration, despite it playing such a huge role in the overall score. A lot of people tend to run out and simply close their cards, with zero regard to the limits, ratios, and history involved. They do more harm than good and then wonder what happened!

    Dona Collins at 10:15 am on March 11, 2013
  3. I ‘m trying to check my credit score.

    Dorothy Verschage at 1:52 pm on March 11, 2013
  4. A true FICO score will report an account closed in good standing for 10 years. After 10 years your other accounts will have aged long enough that it won’t really be an issue.

    Just because Credit Karma improperly scores closed accounts, doesn’t mean you should be telling people that closing an account is a bad thing.

    So, closing an account in good standing will not lower a FICO score just because the account is closed. The score may go down because you now have less available credit, which may spike utilization.

    If you are paying an annual fee just because you are worried about closing an old account, then stop worrying and close it. Lenders use FICO score, not a credit karma score. So, don’t worry about your credit karma score going down.

    A good way to boost your length of history is to open an AMEX account if you used to have one but now no longer do. AMEX will back date your new account to when you first became a member. For example you had an AMEX back in 1990, but closed it. If you opened a new AMEX it would show as being opened on today’s day and month with 1990 as the year. That will help a true FICO.

    Dustin at 3:47 pm on March 11, 2013
  5. Jenna

    Hi Dustin, Credit Karma pulls all of its scores and information straight from TransUnion. If something’s wrong, you should contact TransUnion directly.

    Jenna at 1:01 pm on March 12, 2013
  6. Jenna

    Hey Dorothy, send an email to support@creditkarma.com and we’d be happy to help you out!

    Jenna at 1:03 pm on March 12, 2013
  7. The above information may be true, but this is not reflected in CreditKarma’s “transrisk” scoring model. I recently increased the limit on 2 cards by a total of 10%. Also, I paid down other cards to bring my utilization to <10%. CreditKarma's transrisk scoring didn't budge with these updates, in fact it hasn't changed a single point in 3 months. Something is seriously wrong with the scoring models on this site and they need to be fixed.

    Beenjammin at 9:35 am on March 18, 2013
  8. Jenna

    Hey Benjamin, we pull our scores directly from TransUnion. If you think something’s wrong with your account, send an email to support@creditkarma.com and we’d be happy to help you out!

    Jenna at 8:28 am on March 19, 2013
  9. This whole credit score thing is Bull Crap. Ran my credit and all 3 biggies had screwed up crap on them. And when I tried to fix it only one company helped. I have paid down my credit cards, and refinanced my house to improve my cash flow and my credit score dropped about 30 points. The whole system is a scam, these credit agencies and credit card companies can kiss my fat ass. The whole system is corrupt! And the banks suck also!

    norm at 3:49 pm on March 25, 2013
  10. Nice post! Increasing your limit can be a great way to boost your credit score, and it is surprisingly easy. As long as things are good (as in, you make your payments on time, aren’t at the edge of your limit, etc), all it can take is a 10 minute phone call and you have an increased limit and eventually a higher credit score. It is definitely a good thing to keep in mind!

    Jon at 8:43 pm on August 11, 2013
  11. I am try to send an email the support email and it constantly tell me it doesn’t seem to be valid e mail can someone help me out

    Mariam at 12:30 pm on January 17, 2014
  12. Mike

    Hey Mariam – I’m sorry to hear about your trouble. I can assure you that we’re here and our email is working. Please email us directly at support@creditkarma.com to get help. Thanks!

    Mike at 1:58 pm on January 17, 2014

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