if you've had your credit card for more than 6 months, ask for a credit increase!

Don't worry, this isn't to go out with your new increased limit and spend money all willy-nilly - it's to help your credit score! I'm coming up on a year with my Sallie Mae Rewards Master Card and it's been a great relationship. Aside from a single incident with my auto-pay, which was resolved, I have had perfect on time, paid-in-full-every-month payments. Thanks to this card, I have increased my credit score from 580 to 740 in just a year.

For being such a highly-rated card, the fact Barclaycard even accepted me with a 580 credit score was a miracle in itself, so it was no surprise when they gave me a credit limit of $1,500. It's not bad, but it's not great either. In the credit card world, it's recommended you utilize no more than 30% of your limit, as it shows you're responsible with borrowing and less of a risk. The lower percentage you use, the better it is for your credit score. Since I am spending roughly $350-$450/mo in gas, groceries, and Amazon purchases, I was getting awfully close to that 30% mark.

So I logged in online and within my settings, found where I could request a credit increase. Many people request increases every 6 months, so after a year of responsible use with my card, I decided to give it a try. The form asked for my income and how long I've been at my current job, but they also asked ME what I would like in terms of an increase - I thought they were just going to give me a number based on my income and history. After some research, I decided to ask them to raise my limit to $10,000 to see where that would get me, as some people said they asked for too little and regretted it later.

Just two hours later, I received a phone call from Barclaycard. The representative on the phone asked me about my new job, confirmed my income, and mentioned some of the dings I currently have on my credit report from past mistakes (late payments). Because of the age of my credit, she couldn't approve the $10,000, but counter offered with $3,500 instead. Considering this would bring my utilization to well under 15%, I was totally fine with this new increase! I figured I had aimed a little high to begin with, so this was a great start.

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If you've had your credit card for more than 6 months, I recommend giving your provider a call or check online to see if you can request an increase! The less credit you use every month, even if you pay it off in full, the better it does for upping your credit score.