How To Get An Instant Credit Limit Increase With Citibank

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There are a variety of reasons to get higher credit card limits, including improving your credit score by using a lower percentage of your available credit, and also the ability to get more free money from credit cards, and thus make more interest. Some people say there are disadvantages too, but it’s really easier to decrease your credit limits if somehow you need to.

Sometimes your issuer will automatically increase your limits without asking, like Citibank and MBNA. But many times you need to ask and it often involves a credit check. To be honest, I haven’t very aggressive recently in getting my credit limits as high as they could be. The only thing that I do, because it literally takes 5 seconds to do, is to occasionally request an instant credit limit increase online with Citibank. It doesn’t even hit you with a hard credit pull! Here’s how:

1) Log in your Citibank account
2) On the menu bar, go to Manage My Account > Credit Line Increase Request


3) After that, you’ll get one of two screens. Either you’ll be instantly approved or you’ll have to ask for a manual review.

a. Instantly Approved – Your account will be instantly analyzed and you’ll be offered a specific increase to your current credit limit. Here’s my results from my Citibank Card (click to enlarge):


I got an extra $1,000 to $10,000. Note that it clearly states no credit report was pulled. You can either accept, decline, or ask for a higher increase. Asking for a higher increase is the same as…

b. Manual Review – Here, in order to get a limit increase you’ll have to restate your income and even list some bank account information so they can check your balances. A hard credit pull is also required if you agree to a full review. If you decline then nothing happens.

You can usually get an “free” increase about once every six months. Being rejected usually means you asked already too recently. I usually just try whenever I remember, like today, since rejection does no harm. I’m currently collecting information about the other card issuers.

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  1. EfeMaverick says

    Hey thanks! 2K to 10,200 for me. I knew of this option at Citibank, but thought it was done after a credit report review.

  2. In case anyone is wondering how a denial looks like at Citibank:

    “We regret that we cannot approve your request for a Credit Line Increase at this time. Your request was processed by the credit record we have on file, as well as a credit scoring system, which assigns a numerical value to various items on your credit card account(s).”

    As you can see, it says “credit record we have on file”.

    It goes on to say:

    “Our decision was based in whole or in part on information already on file with us from one of the consumer-reporting agencies listed below. You have a right under the Fair Credit Reporting Act to receive a free copy of your credit report if you request it within 60 days from the date of this notice. ”

    So it’s a good way to get a free copy of your credit report, if you have used all of your free ones already. I’m not how why you’re allowed to get another one if they didn’t pull a current one, but I am not complaining.

  3. As an aside, I called Citi about two weeks ago asking for them to move part of my credit line from one card to another so I would have more money for a zero balance transfer. To this day, no letter or movement of said credit. The account the credit line was being moved to is somewhat new but it has been in existence for over six months now. Now that I don’t really use my Cit Dividend card since they dropped the 5% back, I thought I would move part of the credit line elsewhere. What’s up with Citi on this?

  4. One caveat:

    “Thank you for your request. Your account must be open for at least 6 months before we can consider granting a Credit Line Increase. You’ll receive written confirmation of this message within 7 to 10 business days. During this evaluation, a credit report was not pulled on your account. Thank you for using our website.”

  5. Yes, Citi does do soft credit pulls to check on your credit periodically, which don’t hurt your credit score. I didn’t know they actually gave out flat denials. Hmm.. maybe I should ask more often to try and get a free credit report.

  6. mc –

    CitiCards reallocation doesn’t send you a written confirmation. It usually takes about a 1/2 hour after asking to do it on the phone for it to show up in your accounts online.

    I would call back and ask them again to do the transfer.

  7. You would be able to get the credit report for free, but not the score.

  8. You can try the same thing at American Express as well. Although I’m not sure if they do a hard credit pull, but I’ve done it twice and my credit limit was increased instantly.

  9. In our experiences with Citi we have been able to get an increase about every 3 months.

  10. Hi- Just curious, what is a good % to use as a standard for trying to improve your credit score? Thanks!!

  11. BoA has the same option.

  12. Andrew, thanks for the info. They said it would be 24 hours as I called on a Sunday. I wasn’t in a rush. Will call back. Have done the same with Chase and it was near instantaneous. I am thinking they denied it as it would have allowed me to do a zero % balance transfer for a larger amount. They just didn’t tell me they didn’t want to do it for that reason? We shall see when I try again.

  13. I swear I think of post ideas like two seconds after you do.

  14. Every time I try to use the credit limit increase option in AmEx recently, it says “We are currently upgrading our site to improve American Express Online Services. During this time you may experience intermittent system delays.”

    Am I the only one? Or this their passive-aggressive way to say no? 😉

  15. Jonathan, I get the same message from AmEx when I tried to increase the rate on my business card. My two personal cards, however, seem to go through without a problem. I’m not sure if this is just coincidence….

  16. I have two Citi cards, both with about $13000 credit limits. However, when I clicked the credit increase request link, the page I got was always the same, asking me to provide income and banking information, not the instant approval page. Is it true that once your credit line reaches certain limits, the instant approval option is no longer available? Since I always got the same page with the information that I don’t want to provide, I never get an increase in this way.

  17. BTW, I just logged into my AMEX account and it seems that the credit increase request link works fine. However, they also ask for additional information and there is no mention of whether they will pull my credit history. I didn’t continue with the request.

  18. I’ve increased my credit limit on my two American Express cards several times through their website, and there was no hard pull. Generally I either get a message that I’m pre-approved for $xx increase, or I’m prodded to put in additional information (maybe this would lead to a hard pull?) But I don’t recall getting your error message, maybe you should check with American Express.

  19. I tried this after reading the post, and Citi rejected my request, with the same type of wording as one of the other people on this site posted (“We regret that we cannot approve your request for a Credit Line Increase at this time. Your request….”). However, it seems I got a hard pull on my credit report! I’ve signed up for the Equifax credit alert via Paypal, and it alerted me to an ‘inquiry’

  20. A note about Citibank and their soft pulls… About 2 months ago a (different) creditor incorrectly flagged an account as 120 past-due. This coincided with citibank’s update of my credit report on file and they slashed my limit from $10000 to $500 (understandably.) After getting the report corrected (no past dues at all) I called up citibank to have them take a look and they refused to re-check my file. I was told to wait 3 months for the system to update.

  21. What about MBNA for credit limit increases?

  22. mc –

    They don’t care what the reason is, and I highly doubt moving it for BT purposes would raise any flags. I wasn’t asked, and I didn’t tell.

    However, one rep, when I was calling in about 2 or 3 of my accounts, noticed that I wasn’t using a lot of my credit line and suggested that I move some over for BTs or lower % utilization on that account. So it can be done. Just make sure you clearly tell them you don’t want to close, but you want to “reallocate”.

  23. I have received about 5 additional credit cards to get bonus rewards of various kinds in the early part of the year. Should I continue to hold them and not use them or slowly close them and get some new ones early next year?

  24. Just keep them open unless they have annual fees or another lender specifically asks you to close them. Otherwise there is little or no benefit to closing them.

  25. Is there any reason not to close them?

  26. I’ve done this in the past. Thanks for the reminder! My results this time:

    Citi: Instant increase of $2,000
    American Express: Instant increase of $2,700

  27. If I remember correctly, Citi will usually consider credit increases every 60 days on existing accounts, 6 months for new accounts.

    Just got myself $1500 more from Citi.

  28. Great info! Just got my increase of $200.00 – I have horrible credit but this is one step in the right direction

  29. after 6M of using citi I got a nice 30% increase for a student!

  30. Sun,

    It is true that there are limits to the automatic increases. I reported 40,000 as income, and got increases every 3 months until I reached 16,000 limit. That was two years ago, since then no automatic increases for me. I guess the limit is 40%. As for AmEx, they got me increases up to $19,900 – I guess their limit is just under 50% of reported income.

  31. It does not do me any good since Citibank does not report my credit limit to any of the credit agencies. I have an AAdvantage Gold card with a 30000 limit, but it does not show up on my credit report. Does anyone know why? I cannot get a straight anwser from Citi.

  32. Heavenkittykat says

    After 6 months for college credit card. I got a 160% increase in Citi today!

    well, I have a low starting credit line to begin with because this is my first credit card and I have no previous credit.

  33. The way you can get your new credit limit updated on your credit report is by calling your credit card company to send you a written approval of your new credit limit.

    After that, send a copy of that letter to Experian, Equifax and TransUnion with your own letter asking them to update their records.

  34. Anybody had an experiences with Discover? I recently got the miles card at 0% with no fees for a year, and it’s the lowest limit card i’ve got.. interested in seeing if they’ll raise my limit yet, but not sure if i want to receive a hit on my credit report.

  35. For Discover you have to call in and make sure the person knows what you mean by “hard credit pull”. If they do ask for whatever credit limit increase is allowable without one.

  36. Here is what I got when I tried at citibank:

    We have received your request for a credit line increase and have forwarded it to our Credit Department for review. You’ll receive a letter from us within 7-10 business days.

    Thank you.

  37. I tried to request for an increase on my Amex Optima account but it asked specifically how much I would like to increase. Should I be greedy and does it hurt to ask for more?

  38. Since opening my AmEx card last August, I’ve been taking advantage of AmEx’s rather liberal credit limit increase policy (you can request an increase every billing period. My older WaMu visa would only allow an increase once every six months). When you make such a request, American Express asks for the desired credit limit increase, and also gathers information on yearly income. This month, I learned that a friend of mine (who has been reporting to AmEx income of $37,000) has been granted successive increases in her credit line, bringing her total line of credit to $35,000! Throwing caution to the wind, I logged in to the AmEx site and requested that they increase my limit from $16600 to $34000. To my amazement, the request was approved in less than 5 seconds. I am incredibly curious to see what kind of effect this will have on my credit score (I have a balance of about $6000).

  39. Just got approved for a citi flex line of credit $12500 from citi bank. I pulled my credit report from true credit and they are not reporting my credit limit only the amount of the check I wrote for 2000 . Im worried about the effect this will have on my credit scores as I have worked so hard the last two years raising them. I called them today and they told me there was no one I could talk to about it?? Should I just send a copy of the original letter they sent stating my credit limit to the 3 agencies?and ask them to update my report. I have a citi bank diamond preferred card and two citi finance cards from them and they report the credit line on all of those. Just totally confused as to why. any help would be greatly appreciated.

  40. josefismael says

    first of all, jonathan – love the site. Great ideas that i put to use every day. One quick question: I currently have a $12k credit line with Chase, but when I recently applied to citi (to take advantage of the 0% BT), they only approved me for an initial credit line of $2300. Is that normal? (I did just buy a car and am in a $14k/48 mo loan – I’m assuming this has something to do with it?).

    any thoughts from anyone would be apprciated…

  41. Does anyone have any experience on what limits they give on the citibank flex line of credit. I got a pre-approved letter, but don’t want the inquiry on my file if they aren’t going to give me a substantial line of credit? Please, anyone out there had luck with this account?

  42. josefismael says

    to update my previous post – I called when I got the card and asked for a credit line increase of 10k. They sent an email yesterday morning saying I was approved. Hooray! Free Money : )

  43. it is important to note that the banks are getting more rigid in their approvals.

  44. I just tried this today with my AmEx account. At first I thought about being cautious but figured I’d try what it seems many others have an voila! My credit limit was doubled. Though it’s still about a third of my yearly income, I’m curious to see if I can pull this stunt again in a month or two…

  45. Citi flex line is really good, but their reporting to the credit bureaus makes it appear as though you are maxed out, even though you might have a $15000 line, and only owe them $2000.00. This lowers your credit score. Don’t waste your time or credit score with Discover since their lines are so low, it isn’t worth while.

  46. I have a 23k credit card with citi, and just got a 12k citi flex line of credit.

  47. I have about $25,000 available from Citi, I often consider borrowing about half to do 0% and collect interest. If I lost my job (not expecting that, but hey) I could use this as an emergency fund until I found another and after 6 months I would sell my house to pay it back…

    25000 would easily cover about 1 year of expenses for me, but 6 months in I would get concerned…

  48. i have a 10 k limit from my BoA amex card, 5500 on citi(these 1 i use rarely) .But on another new citi diamond prefered card I just got a limit of 1800.I always get notification that my new account is not 6 months old. How much limit can I get on the new card in 6 months.Because I dont have much use of a low limit card

  49. I requested cli through the form online. 2.5k to 10k. 4 month old account. hehe, great for me.
    hard pull EQ.
    fico 730.

  50. Just a note. They do a hard pull now it seems. Maybe that changed since this blog entry was originally posted.

    At the bottom of the CLI request it says:

    ‘By submitting this form you authorize Citibank (South Dakota) to check your credit history.’

  51. I didn’t know it was so easy to do. I did this today and was automatically approved for a credit increase of 1,500. So from 6,000 to 7,500.


  52. hey, thanks…
    i received a card from wamu for 1000$. but i cancelled it and did what u said with citi bank. i got a 2000$ raise..(ofcourse its not 0% APR) but still i prefer to stick to citi bank fellas. they understand us…

  53. I requested for increase in credit line on my citi card. limit is raise from 1800 to 8000 straight. hard pull required .equifax

  54. I wanted to do an online credit increase with my AMEX Blue…I have been a member with them since 1999, but they have never increased my credit automatically…Perfect credit history.
    i have a 5700 line, how often can u request a CLI online..every billing period or every few months?

    Regards, Sam

  55. Yes, go for it! You’re due an increase. Call them up on phone rather than on-line if you don’t want a hard inquiry on credit report, and ask them if they can check to see if you are eligible without a hard pull and they will tell you within 30 seconds.

  56. ptiemann is right, I tried at Citi and they gave me a form to fill out online. Either they do this for everyone or they don’t find me workthy of a soft-pull credit line increase :/

  57. I just increased my citi $2,100 with no hard pull on it, got approved within seconds. I believe you can increase your citi every 3 months under 2,000 with soft pull. I just open Amex last month and the initial was $1,200, no APR and no annual fee for a year, but starting point was low because they are not making money on the first year. I asked the rep. to increase the limit and he replied that i have to wait about a month for a request. I read the post and pple being making ridicules increase on Amex i guess i will try it out next month or so, i am pretty sure they will do a hard pull on my credit score..

  58. Thanks, It worked for me.

  59. SanDance says

    CitiBank Changed the website design this month and this option no longer shows up in their menu structure. I was able to take advantage of automatic increase of $1800 before it was gone though. If anyone finds it on Citi Card’s website, please let us know. Thanks!

  60. Same as SanDance, the website design has changed and now the option is gone.

  61. Since the CLI option is not available on the new citicards website, I called the citicards customer service number to find out about the a CLI w/o a hard credit inquiry.

    The rep. put me on hold for a few secs and came back with an instant $2500 increase for me … specifically stating that “we did not check your credit report for this”.

    Just to make sure that “no credit inquiry was done” I requested him to note this down on my account (in case I see a discrepancy later on) and also send me a confirmation letter stating this, which he is sending out.

    He also mentioned that the CLI option will be back on the website in a couple of months… the current situation is temporary.

  62. ^Hey thanks. I was wondering about that.

  63. Tried last week on site got instant $1000 increase , no hard pull. First time trying had card 1.5 years.

  64. just did it student citi card from 4000 to 5500 instantly with no credit pull thanks!

  65. The Manage Account link doesn’t appear for me.

  66. Do NOT ever do this unless you have at least 800 credit score with no debt at all. I did this just this week and I have flawless credit with zero late payments in 7 years. My balances have been high though for that whole time but my rating is over 720. Perfect credit high balance.

    They closed my account. Paid them $15,000 in interest over 15 years with no late payments. That is what they will reward you with.

    So if you want to lose your account go ahead and ask for a limit increase. They are closing accounts to get their cash reeled in because they know they are in trouble and they are trying to stay afloat.

    Do not ever ask for a limit increase unless you absolutely must have it and can risk losing the card.

    Don’t help these companies out any longer. Go with your debit card and keep only a small credit card. A few thousand maybe.

    Let’s get America out of debt here. This is our last chance. I am done giving these people money.

  67. I recently applied for a credit limit increase for my Huntington credit card to match the credit line offered by my new Chase credit card ($125 bonus, 0% APR on balance transfers for 6 mo.).

    Unfortunately, Huntington declined my credit limit increase request (probably because I am carrying a relatively large balance on the card at this time). However, I do not keep balances on my credit cards at the end of billing periods, and I have good credit. I will be paying the entire balance off, as usual, closer to the end of the billing cycle.

    Should I re-apply for a credit limit increase after they have received my payment? Does it hurt your credit score or cause any other adverse effects to request a credit limit increase twice in the span of a month? Thanks so much for your insight.

  68. How reliable are reports that you need a certain credit score and debt-to-income ratio to get an instant credit line increase? It seems like it’s all over the board, esp. these days with banks being more careful with lending. I currently have a credit score in the mid 700s w/all 3 credit bureaus, am carrying no credit card debt, but am carrying a student loan under $10K, and I have been repeatedly declined for credit line increases and lower APR rates on my only (Citi) credit card. I’ve even tried getting new credit cards w/lower APR but have been declined. I’ve been doing these things to build credit and save myself some money, to no avail. Admittedly, I only recently eliminated all of my credit card debt, which was at an embarrassingly high rate, using almost all of my credit line. How long should I wait or should I even bother trying to get my credit line increased?

  69. xtine, how did you “eliminate all of your credit card debt… using almost all of your credit line?” You used a balance transfer? Probably not, so please clarify. Also, I’d wait at least a month between when you paid off your CC balance and when you apply for a higher credit limit. I did that for both my Huntington and Chase CCs and got immediate credit line increases over the phone. Looks like you’re on top of your finances and credit profile. Keep up the good work! Try a Chase credit card application at a local branch. They may be able to help you get an application approved. Their rewards program with the Freedom card is amazing…

  70. @Samir: Well, I basically had 3 different lines of credit, all of which were maxed out, and I paid them all off in the last 4 months. I actually stayed committed to my new year’s resolution! In doing so, I started to take careful note of my credit card statements and realized that my APR was too high (mid 20s) and tried to get them lowered. I closed one since they flat out refused and another card was reduced from the penalty APR of 29.99% to a frustrating 29.74%. I was told to wait 6 months but until then, I’m left fussing over my finances and making sure I don’t pay any interest! I just don’t want any more knicks on my credit score/report since I’m currently home shopping but again, with an embarrassingly high APR rate.

    Anyway, thank you for the encouragement and the tips! I’ll def check Chase credit cards out.

  71. I have had a Citi Forward car with a 4k limit on it for almost a year now. I’ve never gotten a credit line increase, and the few times i’ve asked, I’ve gotten denied!! I’m not happy, and I want my credit line increase.

  72. Woohoo! I just raised my CL by $500. Although it’s a modest increase, I didn’t want to risk getting declined. I tried the Credit Limit Increase option in this article and it worked. Just a note: I had to input my desired CL increase, my annual wages/salary, and rent/mortgage payment info into an online form. There was the “You are authorizing Citibank to check your credit history” message but once I clicked submit, it said “approved: do you accept your new CL” screen, then it said no hard credit pull was done. It may be a little intimidating but it’s worth a shot if your credit report/score is in good shape. I’ll try again in 6 months.

  73. I have called twice now to Citi bank for a credit increase on my card. I have had my account open for 2 years and 11 months, pay my balance in full every month, and have NEVER had a late payment. I make $74,800 a year, with rent at $800 and no other debts or credit cards and a credit score of 700. When I called to get an immediate credit increase (without a hard inquiry) they said I was denied, but that the system does not give them enough information on why I was denied. So frustrated with CitiBank. I am just going to open an AmericanExpress, even if it temporarily hurts my credit score. I can’t understand what’s not good enough here.

    • on your way to 720+ says

      you need to have at least 3 major credit cards. (cars with Visa, master card, discover or carteblanche logos)
      apply for two more cards.

  74. I requested a modest amount, $500, to go from my starting of $4,200 to $4,700. My 6 month period just hit, good bank so far!

  75. I been with Citibank’s credit card for 14months and just requested my first credit increase. It seemed so easy on how to do it so i tried it and there was a instant approval for a $1000 to bring it up to $2200.

    Not as much as you guys on here with your $4000+ limit, but hey, a $1000 increase helps just as much.

  76. Hung Schoung says

    Can we used combined salaries from myself and my significant other to answer “Annual Salaries and Wages?” Or should I just include what I make?
    – thanks

  77. Just a warning: if you navigate to the “Request a Credit Line Increase” under the Services menu and you click on it, even though you may not have filled out any of the fields with your info about your wages and rent/mortgage payment, they will pull your info from your previous CLI request. It’s important to hit cancel instead of just navigating to another area of the website. I did that this weekend and I got an email saying they declined my CLI request. However, I didn’t input any information. I called to let them know that but the representative said they used my previous info. This is important, since I was going to request a CLI on the 9th of this month, which is 6 months from my recent CLI. Now I have to wait another 6 months!

  78. Sly_chi_town says

    Thank guys for help.
    I requested a CLI from a Citi web site and my simpliciti got an increase from $16000 to $17900 without a hard inquiry. They asked only for an yearly income and my monthly rent payment. Its an extra cash for free.
    Not too much I asked for a $4000 more and got $1900 only but it works.

  79. Hello I opened my Citibank 14 months ago no increases yet. they gave me an initial limit of 1500.00 I am trying to improve my credit my score is just at 700 what are the chances of an increase? Thanks

  80. Hi
    How to get an instant credit limit increase with citibank

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