Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
& Kellie Jez
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Sometimes it can feel like the credit limit you’re given when you’re approved for a credit card is arbitrary. Card issuers’ algorithms for determining risk are extremely complicated, and they’re relegated completely to software most of the time.
If, let’s say, you were a big advertising spender and were approved for an Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card with a $5,000 credit limit and were also approved for an Ink Business Cash® Credit Card with a $30,000 credit limit, you’re probably trying to figure out how to move as much credit to the first card as possible to take advantage of the 3x earnings.
This is a very common dilemma in the world of credit cards and personal finance, so this guide will be completely dedicated to shedding light on the step-by-step process of how to reallocate credit limits, also known as shifting credit limits.
Let’s get started.
Reallocating credit limits, also known as shifting credit limits, is the process of moving credit around different cards from the same issuer without changing the total amount of credit you have access to.
It’s important to note this because you’re not getting access to more or less credit when reallocating credit limits. This is in stark contrast to credit limit increases and decreases.
Balance transfers are not the same as reallocating credit limits. A balance transfer is a request to move existing debt from 1 creditor or credit account to another.
Balance transfers are performed on existing purchases that you’ve already made. Reallocating credit limits has nothing to do with your outstanding balance; it affects the total credit limit you have access to.
Reallocating credit limits can be done for many reasons, but these are the most common:
The first situation is most applicable to someone who isn’t seeking rewards. Instead, they’re looking to maintain separate expenses, likely due to accounting reasons. In doing so, they need to spend more on a given credit card but don’t have the initial credit limit to do so.
The solution would be to reallocate credit from a different card to the credit card in question. That way, expenses/transactions can be kept separate, achieving the desired objective.
The second reason is much more applicable to points enthusiasts.
Let’s take the example credit cardholder above. If this cardholder spends a lot on advertising, he/she will probably want to earn as many points as possible.
The Ink Business Preferred card offers a better rewards structure on advertising spending, but this cardholder only has a $5,000 monthly credit limit compared to their Ink Business Unlimited card that has a $30,000 monthly credit limit.
If the cardholder were able to reallocate, say, $15,000 of their monthly credit limit from the Ink Business Unlimited card to the Ink Business Preferred card, then their Ink Business Preferred card would now have a $20,000 credit limit and their Ink Business Unlimited card would now have a $15,000 credit limit.
After performing the credit limit reallocation, they now can spend much more per month to maximize the Ultimate Rewards earning potential.
The third reason you might be interested in reallocating credit limits is also best described with a hypothetical scenario. Let’s say that you’re thinking of closing a particular credit card.
If you close your credit card, the available credit on that card disappears, which will decrease the total credit extended to you, which will increase your credit utilization ratio. Keeping a low credit utilization ratio is one of the commandments of responsible credit practices.
One of the best ways to “keep” the credit on a card before you cancel it is to move as much of it as possible to a different card. Let’s say you have a Citi Prestige® Card with a $20,000 credit limit and a Citi Premier® Card with a $2,000 credit limit. Let’s also assume that you want to close your Citi Prestige card, despite all the benefits it offers.
Losing $20,000 in available credit will damage your credit score, so the solution would be to move as much of the credit limit to your Citi Premier card as you can. So, you can move, say, $18,000 in credit limit to the Citi Premier card.
The result is you’ll have a Citi Prestige card with a $2,000 credit limit and a Citi Premier card with a $20,000 credit limit. Closing the Citi Prestige card with the new, lower credit limit will hurt your credit less than closing the same card with a large credit limit.
Sometimes, you’ll apply for a credit card and you’ll get denied because the card issuer has already given you the most credit that they feel comfortable with.
You can give their reconsideration department a call and offer to move credit around to get approved for the card!
One of the biggest risk factors that banks must account for is their willingness to lend you money. If you’re given a huge credit limit and you don’t use it responsibly, banks will ultimately lose a bunch of money from you.
Some banks consider applying for a credit limit increase to be a risky activity. If done enough times, this can result in a financial review or an account shutdown.
Also, credit limit increases sometimes require a hard inquiry to be performed on your credit report.
For this reason, credit limit increases should be avoided unless you actually need it.
On the other hand, reallocating credit limits doesn’t increase the riskiness of your profile to the banks, since the amount of credit extended to you doesn’t change.
The general process for reallocating credit limits is pretty simple:
There are nuances and bank-specific procedures that we’ll discuss below, but the overall steps will still be the same.
Unless otherwise specified, you most likely will not get a hard inquiry on your account when requesting a credit limit reallocation.
Hot Tip: Every bank and issuer has its own rules when it comes to welcome bonuses, credit limits, and application rules. See our in-depth guide to applying for credit cards!
The first card issuer we’ll be looking at is American Express. American Express allows you to perform credit limit reallocations easily.
Credit limits can be transferred between personal cards and from personal to business cards, but not from business to personal cards.
Also, charge cards are not eligible because they don’t have a pre-set spending limit.
To request a credit limit reallocation, follow these steps:
Sometimes, your credit cards are spread out across different online accounts. If the 2 credit cards you’re looking at reallocating credit on are on separate accounts, you’ll need to give American Express a call via the number on the back of your card to process a credit limit reallocation.
Bank of America allows transferring credit from 1 card to another. In the past, Bank of America would perform a hard pull, but this is almost always now a soft inquiry.
You can freely move credit between business and personal credit cards, with the only condition being that each card must have a minimum credit limit of $100.
To reallocate your credit, simply follow these steps:
Barclays is a somewhat fickle card issuer when it comes to credit limit reallocation policies. In general, credit limits are easiest to perform on a card that has been opened within 30 days of approval.
Barclays should only perform soft pulls on your credit report, but it’s worth confirming with them directly before you commit.
To transfer credit limits across Barclays credit cards, you can follow these instructions:
Capital One used to allow online credit limit reallocations, however, this has since been discontinued. It is now impossible to reallocate credit limits with Capital One.
Chase offers credit limit reallocation through 2 avenues:
Also, the upper credit limit for any particular card without performing a hard inquiry is $35,000. Anything above that will result in a hard inquiry.
You can’t move credit across business and personal cards; you may only move credit from business cards to business cards or from personal cards to personal cards.
Credit limit reallocations are usually reflected instantly on your online Chase account. However, it can take up to 24 hours after the request is made to occur.
To perform a credit limit reallocation over the phone, follow these steps:
To perform a credit limit reallocation via Secure Message, follow these steps:
Citi requires both credit cards to have been open for a minimum of 6 months. Also, a hard inquiry is performed for any reallocations.
Reallocating your Citi credit limits can be tricky. Normal customer service representatives can’t move credit limits. The main department that can handle this is the credit analyst department. Even so, the credit analyst department can be extremely difficult to reach.
To reach them, follow these steps:
Hot Tip: Citi is pretty flexible when it comes to credit limit increases. If you’re having difficulty getting a credit limit reallocation done, it might be worthwhile to just request a credit limit increase. When Citi performs credit limit increases, they can give you a certain increase with a soft inquiry or a bigger credit limit with a hard inquiry (that they’ll warn you about beforehand).
Discover is also a popular bank, despite not offering many strong rewards credit cards.
Discover does allow credit limit reallocations, but you actually need to request a credit limit increase before performing a reallocation.
Also, each of your cards must have a minimum credit limit of $500. Lastly, both of your cards must have been opened for a minimum of 3 months. You may also get a hard inquiry on this activity.
The process looks like this:
HSBC does not currently allow credit limit reallocation.
Synchrony Bank does not currently allow credit limit reallocation.
U.S. Bank doesn’t allow for credit limit reallocation anymore, though they have allowed it in the past.
Wells Fargo allows you to reallocate your credit limit. Also, Wells Fargo usually performs a soft inquiry, not a hard inquiry. You can confirm directly with the representative before performing the reallocation.
You can follow these steps to reallocate your Wells Fargo credit limits:
There are several reasons why you might want to reallocate your credit limits, including, but not limited to: being able to spend more on a specific card while keeping transactions separate, being able to earn more rewards, being able to continue accessing credit after closing a card, and also being able to open a card when a bank has extended you the maximum credit they are comfortable with.
Importantly, credit limit reallocation is not the same as balance transfers, credit limit increases, or credit limit decreases.
Reallocating your credit limits between different cards is a mostly painless activity. Once you’ve figured out whether or not you can do it for your specific cards, you can move credit around by calling the banks.
Sometimes, with banks like American Express and Chase, there are other ways to reallocate credit limits, such as submitting an online form. With other issuers, you may need to speak with a phone representative.
Shifting credit around sometimes results in a hard inquiry, though most of the time, it does not. Instead, only a soft inquiry is performed.
Now, you have the most detailed guide on how to move around and transfer credit limits on your cards!
The information for the Citi Prestige® Card has been collected independently by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
In many cases, you can easily transfer available credit to other accounts.
If you have 2 credit cards with the same bank such as Chase, you can usually easily move credit from 1 card to the other.
To transfer your credit limit, you can either call Chase or submit a secure message after logging into your online account.
Keep in mind that there are restrictions, including minimum credit limits on each card, that you can’t tap into.
Based on the most recent information, you cannot shift/reallocate credit limits across Citi credit cards.
However, you can always request credit limit increases or try to product-change your card with the higher credit limit to a different card with different benefits.
In general, you can combine credit limits. Different banks and credit card issuers have different policies and restrictions for this.
For example, some banks require a minimum account opening time to be eligible for credit reallocation.
Usually when the economy is doing well, Chase, Barclays, and Citi will automatically increase your credit limit based on your spending habits, payment history, and risk profile.
It depends. Credit limit increases and credit reallocation achieve different goals. With credit limit increases, you’re asking for more credit to be extended to you.
With credit reallocation, the total amount of credit you have stays the same. Instead, you’re moving a percentage of the available credit from 1 card you have to another card you have.
Usually, the credit limit request is processed instantly. In some cases, it may take 1 business day to process these requests.
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