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Looking for credit cards with high credit limits? Whether you want to accommodate a hefty monthly spend, finance large purchases, or pay off a big balance, you’ll find them here.
By Brendan Harkness
What’s a high credit limit?
Let’s start by tackling the definition of “credit limit.”
Your credit limit is the amount you’re allowed to charge to your credit account without having to pay off at least some of your balance. If you exceed your credit limit the issuer will usually just decline the transaction.
$10,000 is generally considered to be a high credit card limit. If you get credit lines like that, it’s clear that the card issuer trusts you to be a pretty responsible borrower.
With most cards the credit limit you get will depend on your creditworthiness, with an emphasis on your credit scores and income. In general, the better your credit and the higher your income, the higher your credit limits will be.
That means almost any card can be a high limit credit card — even those you can get with average credit. But those designed for good and excellent credit are most likely to get the highest limits, because card issuers feel more comfortable extending more credit to people with better scores.
Some cards have minimum required credit limits, which may be revealed by the issuer in the fine print. If you’re approved for a card like that you can be sure you’ll get at least that much. That’s why the Chase Sapphire Reserve® (Review), with its minimum required $10,000 credit limit, is our number one pick.
Out of all the reward cards, premium travel cards tend to come with the highest limits. So our list includes more than a few travel cards, but some simple cash back and balance transfer cards make appearances as well.
By Brendan Harkness
The information related to Hilton Honors Aspire Card has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.
The information related to Amex EveryDay® Credit Card has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.
The information related to Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.
A credit card with a higher limit lets you charge more before you need to pay anything off.
It’s generally best to have credit lines that will let you charge as much as you need to each month, with some extra room to prevent you from getting close to the spending limit.
If you’re only going to charge $500 to your card each month, you’ll likely be fine with credit limits as low as $2,000 or so. If you’ll be spending upwards of $5,000 each month, you would probably want a credit line over $15,000.
Fun fact: In mid-2017, U.S. consumers had a total of over $4 trillion in credit card lines!
The credit limits you get will be based in large part on your credit history and income. Young people, who are just beginning to establish a credit file and generate income, can expect to get relatively small credit limits when applying for new credit cards — often $1,000 or less.
On the other hand, premium travel cards tend to require credit limits of several thousands of dollars. If you can’t qualify for the minimum limit you won’t be approved. Many mid-tier travel cards with annual fees require credit limits of at least $5,000.
No matter what credit limit you get when approved, most cards allow you to request a credit limit increase. We recommend doing this once every 6 or 12 months if you want higher limits, but take note that these requests can often lead to hard inquiries on your credit reports (but not always). If approved, you’ll get what’s known as a “reactive” credit line increase (RCLI).
Sometimes an issuer will automatically increase your credit limit, with no need for a request. This type of increase, known as a “proactive” credit line increase (PCLI), will not result in a hard inquiry on your credit reports.
Card issuers can also lower your credit limits whenever they want. They might do this if your creditworthiness takes a sudden turn for the worse, and they no longer feel comfortable extending that much credit to you. We’ve heard many reports of store cards doing this, sometimes for no apparent reason.
If you’re worried that a large credit line will tempt you into a lot of unnecessary spending, we don’t recommend going for high credit limits. Instead, you can actually ask your credit card issuers to decrease your credit limits if you wish, although this will reduce your available credit and may negatively impact your credit utilization.
But if you’re comfortable with them, high limit cards can be an important asset in your financial toolkit.
Charge cards differ from regular credit cards in a few ways:
The last point is the most important for our purposes here. Rather than having a credit limit, Amex charge cards are advertised as having “no pre-set spending limit.”
However, this does not mean you can spend an unlimited amount with these cards — there’s still a spending limit. It just means that your particular spending limit will adjust over time, based on your use of the card and general creditworthiness (similar to a regular credit limit).
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to see your spending limit with charge cards. But Amex does provide a “Spending Power” tool you can use to test purchase amounts. If you’re planning a large purchase and aren’t sure if you’ll be approved you can use this tool to check beforehand. You can also contact customer support to ask if a purchase amount will go through.
But beware: Overuse of the Spending Power tool may lead to a financial review by Amex, in which they temporarily freeze your accounts to review your activity. Sebastian from AskSebby has reported triggering a financial review by testing the Spending Power tool with big transactions of $20,000, $30,000, and $50,000.
Regular credit cards report their balances and credit limits to the credit bureaus every month, and these data appear on your credit reports. This information is used to calculate your credit utilization, an important factor in your credit scores.
But charge cards don’t have traditional credit limits or available credit. So what gets reported to the credit bureaus and is shown in your credit history?
The answer is easy: Only the monthly card balance is reported to the bureaus.
Since there’s no credit limit to report, charge cards are not counted in revolving credit utilization.
This means you can spend on charge cards without worrying about driving up your total utilization. That can make it a bit easier to keep your credit scores up. But remember the flip side of this equation: You must pay off your charge cards in full each billing period, you can’t revolve a balance from month to month.
In the past, charge cards could be counted in overall utilization by using the highest reported balance as the credit limit. But those credit scoring systems were relatively messy, and prone to abuse. The new scoring methods seem better for the average charge card user because spending won’t affect your utilization.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express Cash Magnet® Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Green Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, please click here.
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The information related to Hilton Honors Aspire Card, Amex EveryDay® Credit Card, Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card, Citi Prestige® Card, Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®, Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card, Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever, Citi® Secured Mastercard®, and Capital One® Secured Mastercard® have been collected by Credit Card Insider and have not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of these products.