By LaToya Irby. Credit/Debt Management Expert
Welcome to About.com's Credit/Debt Management site, led by your guide, LaToya Irby. LaToya has been the credit and debt management guide since 2007. Read more
Getting approved for your first credit card is tough. If you've made it this far, congratulations. But, if you’ve never had credit before, don’t expect to get a big credit limit. Without a history of using credit cards responsibly, your credit card issuer doesn’t know how much credit you can handle and so they’ll usually start you off with a small limit.
It’s unlikely that your first credit limit will be greater than $1,500 unless you already have an established credit history, for example, if you have a mortgage or car loan on your credit report already.
Don’t be disappointed by your initial credit limit. It’s better to start small until you’re used to handling credit. As you demonstrate you can use your credit card responsibly. e.g. pay your bill on time and refrain from maxing out your credit card, you’ll qualify for more credit. Some credit card issuers will increase your credit limit
automatically after several months of timely payments.
Others only increase your credit limit upon request. Wait until you’ve made about six months of on time payments before you request a credit limit increase.
How to Get a Bigger First Credit Limit
You may be able to get a higher credit limit by applying jointly with someone, a parent or spouse, who already has an established credit history and good income.
Or, if you apply for a secured credit card. you can essentially choose your own credit limit by making a security deposit in the amount of the credit limit you want.
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For example, for a $2,000 credit limit, you would make a $2,000 security deposit. With a secured credit card, your security deposit is returned to you as long as you keep the account in good standing .
No matter what credit limit you start out with, there’s always a chance for an increase as long as you’re not charging too much (less than 30% of your credit limit is best) and you’re making your payments on time each month.