What is a credit limit?
Your credit limit is the amount that your card provider is willing to make available to you – in other words, it’s the maximum amount of money that you’re able to borrow.
Your 'available credit' is your credit limit minus any outstanding balance on your card. For example, if you have a credit limit of £1500 and make a purchase of £500, you will have £1000 still available. If you make a purchase that puts you over that limit, there’s a chance it will be declined.
Your maximum credit limit will be decided based on a number of things, such as how long you've been a customer and how you’ve used credit cards in the past.
When you apply for a credit card, you won’t usually know what the credit limit will be. You’ll find your credit limit on the approval letter that accompanies your new Barclaycard. You can also find it on your statement, on Barclaycard online servicing and on the Barclaycard app. Terms, conditions and restrictions apply.
You must have a Barclaycard account and be aged 18 or over to apply. You can sign up to text or email alerts that’ll keep you up-to-date on your balance and available credit.
When you download the app, you agree to receiving your statements online. You can view these in the app at any time. If you’d like to receive paper statements, you can change your statement settings in the app.
Read our guide on lower credit limits PDF (209KB)
How your credit limit is set
Your credit limit is based on a number of factors related to your finances. These include:
- your earnings and disposable income after paying your household bills and other regular costs
- outstanding debts like mortgages, loans and other credit cards
- your credit score and credit history. Here’s how to check your credit score
- how many other sources of credit you already have (i.e. how much you already owe)
- your payment history with the lender you’re applying to
- If you want to dig a little deeper into how your credit score and credit limit are set, you can find more information at The truth about your credit rating: Six common myths busted.
Your credit limit can increase or decrease from when you first get your card. This can happen either at your request, or because the bank needs to make a change due to a change in circumstances. Here are some of the possibilities.
Occasionally we may have to reduce your credit limit. This usually happens because of how you’re using your Barclaycard or credit from other lenders, and from information we’re sent from Credit Reference Agencies about your credit history. Reasons can include:
We’ll think about it carefully before we decide to reduce your limit. We’ll look at how you’ve used your card in the past – and how you’re using it now. We’ll look at other types of credit you’ve got too. And if we do decide to lower your limit, we’ll send you a letter to let you know – your new limit will take effect three days after the date on this letter.
It’s not an easy decision, but we want to make sure you don’t get into more debt than you can manage. A lower credit limit can help you to stay on top of your finances in the long-term. It can even help you build up your credit rating again over time.
Of course, you can also reapply for a credit limit increase – but you should wait several months. You may want to use this time to improve your credit score. This will significantly improve your chance of being approved for your next increase. Here are some tips for how to raise your credit score even further.
Get in touch if you’d like to speak to us about reducing your credit limit.
You can request either an increase or a decrease in your credit limit online. Just tell us what you'd like your credit limit to be and we'll see what we can do for you. If we decide to change it, we’ll update it straight away. If we can’t change it, we’ll let you know – usually within 24 hours.
You can also ask to increase or decrease your credit limit at Barclaycard online servicing. But there are some things you should know first.
Not registered? Register now to update your details.
We make decisions on credit limit increases based on information we already hold on you from credit reference agencies and how you’ve used your Barclaycard in the past. As a responsible lender, we may have to decline your request for a credit limit increase to make sure you don’t get into more debt than you can manage. There are a number of reasons why we might decline your request – here are some of the most common ones:
When it comes to credit limits, there are a few things you should avoid doing. Don’t try to increase your credit limit by spending beyond it. Going beyond your overdraft limit is likely to cost you in higher fees or penalties. It may also go on your credit history and harm your chance of being approved for a credit limit increase.
You should also try to avoid asking for a credit limit increase if you’re struggling to meet your expenses and repayment costs. It may seem like a tempting option, but can often lead to even deeper debt.
However, if you need to increase your credit limit for a single purchase, some banks will let you shift your lines of credit between different cards. For example, if you have a £2000 credit limit on one card and a £6,000 credit limit on a different one, you might ask for £1000 to be moved to the other card so you can make purchases without exceeding your credit limit. Not all banks will agree, but it’s worth calling. If you need help managing your spending and borrowing, just call and see if we can help.
If you’re looking for ways to manage debt, you’ll find some answers at Money worries? We can help for additional help.
Money worries? We can help
Are you finding it difficult to stay on top of your finances? Has a change left you with less money to pay your bills? If you’re struggling with debt or money worries in general, there are organisations that may be able to help.
Speak with our support team on:
0800 046 8324
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