Update 6/21/22: Capital One now lets you request a credit limit increase every 90 days. Hat tip to Econ0mist
Some of the time it’s useful to have a really large credit limit on a single credit card (whether it be for a large purchase or a one off manufactured spending opportunity). I thought it’d be useful to look at how to maximize your limits with each card issuer.
American Express does not do a hard pull for a credit limit increase, in fact you can request a credit limit increase of 3x your starting credit limit pretty easily. We’ve detailed how to do this here (including all the relevant rules and tips). It’s also possible to re allocate your credit limits among existing cards with American Express. Again, there are a lot of rules you should be aware of when doing this, so read this post first (especially if you’re going to be going above a credit limit of $25,000).
Bank of America
Barclaycard does a hard pull for credit limit increases, reallocations are a little bit more tricky. It seems to depend on who you call to reallocate and how long each card has been open for, if they do allow the reallocation then it should only be a soft credit pull but make sure you confirm before doing this.
Capital One allows you to request a credit limit increase once every 90 days and it results in a soft pull. You can also reallocate your credit limits online, but we still don’t know if that’s a hard or soft pull (although there is at least one report of a soft pull and none of a hard pull).
You can reallocate your credit limits with Chase online, resulting in a soft pull as long as your limit is below $35,000. But if you initiate a credit limit increase it will be a hard pull.
Normally reallocating your limits results in a hard pull, but sometimes it can be processed as soft. You can also ask for a credit limit increase and Citi will let you know whether it’s hard or soft pull before you proceed, this is also available via the app. According to this comment you’re limited to one increase per six months as well.
Discover has some weird rules, if you’re doing a reallocation when you open a new card then it’s a soft pull. If it’s for existing cards, then it’s a case by case basis. When doing an online credit limit increase, if it’s processed automatically then it results in a soft pull. If Discover counters then it’ll be a hard pull.
Need to speak to a manager to do a credit limit reallocation (soft pull). If you ask for an increase our data points say that increases under $1,500 are soft and above that it’s a hard pull. They briefly stated it would be a soft pull only.
Reports of both hard and soft pulls for increases, best bet is to call and then get a reference number if they say soft. Reallocation used to always results in a hard pull but all recent reports now indicate this is a soft pull.
Elan Financial Services
These guys issue a lot of different store cards (as well as the new Fidelity 2% Cash Back Visa) and reallocating is a soft pull, although these store cards usually have low limits. Not sure how credit limit increases are handled.
Another issuer that focuses on store issued cards (home of the shopping cart trick). You need to have the card open for 9 months first, mixed data points of it being a hard/soft pull. No idea about reallocating limits with Comenity.
DSNB (Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s)
This is a division of Citibank, if you’re eligible under their criteria then it’s soft otherwise a hard pull. You should be able to call in to find out whether you fall into their criteria or not. No idea about reallocations.
GEMB (Walmart, Chevron, JC Pennys)
Soft pull for increases, no data on reallocations.
If you’re making a request for your total available credit to be under $25,000 it’ll be soft, over $25,000 it’ll be hard. No idea about reallocations.
Hard pull for increases and doesn’t allow reallocation (thanks to reader, Matt).
As always, you shouldn’t be using credit cards (and definitely shouldn’t be requesting more credit) if you can’t use them in a responsible manner. You should never be carrying a balance on your cards and paying a high interest rate.