Your credit limit explained

What is a credit limit?

A 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. 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. Often, we’ll tell you your actual credit limit when you receive your new card.

It’s shown on the letter you get with your Barclaycard, on your statement, and on Barclaycard online servicing and the Barclaycard app. You can sign up to text or email alerts that’ll keep you up-to-date on your balance and available credit.

Depending on how you manage your account, your credit limit might be increased or decreased from time to time.

Read our guide on lower credit limits PDF (209KB)

  • If your credit limit is decreased

    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:

    • multiple missed payments
    • going over your credit limit
    • making low repayments to pay off your balance
    • making a high number of cash-like transactions
    • applying for multiple new types of credit in a short space of time
    • being made bankrupt or having a history of County Court Judgements (CCJs)

    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.

    Get in touch if you’d like to speak to us about reducing your credit limit.

  • Requesting a credit limit increase or decrease

    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.

    Quick guide

    • Step one – log in to your account and click the 'Accounts & Services' tab
    • Step two – click ‘Change your credit limit’ and tell us the new limit you’d like then enter employment and income details
    • Step three – submit your request and we’ll aim to give you and instant decision
    Log in to change your credit limit

    Not registered? Register now to update your details.

  • Why has my credit limit increase request been declined?

    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:

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

Calls to 0800 and 0808 numbers are free from UK landlines. Mobile charges may vary.

0330 159 5980

Calls to 03 numbers use free plan minutes if available – otherwise they cost the same as calls to 01/02 prefix numbers.

The line is free and open 8am – 9pm Monday to Friday, and 9am – 4pm Saturday.

Other ways you can get help

StepChange logo

StepChange is the UK's largest provider of genuinely free independent debt advice and managed solutions, helping almost 600,000 people a year resolve problems, repay debts and rebuild lives.

For local debt help, contact Citizen's Advice Bureau for a list of debt counsellors in your area.