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I have a credit card with a credit limit of $1000, but I would like to make a purchase of $1500. If I transfer $500 into my credit card account, would that increase my credit limit to $1500?

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"Credit" (the amount of debt you are allowed to take on) will still be limited at $1000. But if you add extra cash, then that may increase your purchase power with your card, because you are starting out at -$500. ($1000 - (-$500) = $1500). – NickC Sep 6 '11 at 18:24
@Renesis - got any documentation? You seem sure, but I don't see banks being so logical. Just an opinion and I am curious now. From the few anecdotes I read online (at Metafilter) it doesn't work that way. – MrChrister Sep 6 '11 at 18:53
For reference:… – MrChrister Sep 6 '11 at 18:54
@MrChrister I'm sorry if I didn't make it clear, but that's why I said "may". My main point is that regardless, it doesn't increase your limit -- instead, it increases the difference between the balance (negative) and your limit (constant). – NickC Sep 6 '11 at 19:59
@MrChrister What I do know is that if you overpay, you will simply achieve a negative balance. You can, from that point, purchase limit + X before reaching the limit, but I don't know that you can do it all once (which is why I didn't post an answer, but a comment). – NickC Sep 6 '11 at 20:00
up vote 14 down vote accepted

When in doubt, call (the card issuer) and ask. Ask if you overpay your current bill if the overpayment becomes available credit and tell them why you are asking. It can go either way.

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I live in Canada and have a BMO mastercard. I called them and asked them and their answer was "of course!". I have put thousands of dollars on my mastercard from my bank account to pay for rare, large purchases. The money I put on appears differently on my online mastercard account though.


account balance: $6,000.00 CR

available credit: $3,000.00

This confused me at first, but when I called and asked them, they said my available credit doesn't change (ie: how much BMO lends me), but when I add my available credit + what I've put on my card (my account balance, which is CR (meaning my balance has a surplus of money)), then my spending limit is $9,000.00

So, I don't increase my "credit" limit, but I do increase my spending limit. It just comes down to terminology. I assume it is like this for other credit cards, but I would recommend calling and asking, just to be on the safe side.


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Great answer, thanks for all the details! – C. Ross Oct 9 '12 at 18:57

No. You will need to call your credit card issuer and ask for a credit limit increase. If you plan to pay off your card then I see no problem in this.

You could also ask the seller if they will put $1000 on your card, and $500 in cash. (Ask for a cash discount too.)

Found some anecdotes!

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I've had cases where for one reason or another, I've had a credit on my account. Why do you think this wouldn't work? – JoeTaxpayer Sep 5 '11 at 17:52
Well, having a credit on your account does not increase your credit limit. (At least I have never read as much. Every bank is different). I guess I do assume that electronic confirmation of funds goes against the credit limit and only subtracts, never subtracting a negative. – MrChrister Sep 6 '11 at 5:15
I understand. I was thinking that most cards will let you go over the limit but charge you a penalty (as compared to being rejected at point of sale). In that case, the charge goes through and the credit keeps the balance from being over his $1000 limit. If the limit is checked for each charge, I agree it might not clear. – JoeTaxpayer Sep 6 '11 at 12:33
+1 for the link, that seems to answer the question pretty well (some work that way, some won't, but there are concrete stories both ways). – NickC Sep 6 '11 at 22:50
This definitely depends on the card. (My issuer even encourages positive balances on card accounts by paying interest on them!) – lxgr Sep 30 '15 at 18:24

My card keeps a separate 'cash advance' limit, that's lower than the regular rate. I believe balance transfers also trigger that limit and (much higher) interest rate.

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I had a macys card which only had $75.00 credit limit... I accidently paid over the limit so the card had $100.00 in it. I left it that way for a month.. My credit limit turned into 100.. So I do think its possible to increase your credit limit that way.. I've tried many times requesting for a credit limit increase.. I was denied many times.. The only thing I have is to add money but the tricky thing is that you'll have to add money and spend the whole amount and then pay it off at once for the credit limit to stick. But since you have great credit assuming because your limit is 1000, you should request for an increase of your credit limit.

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interesting situation. I'd caution that a store card may have different rules than a bank issued visa/MasterCard. – JoeTaxpayer Nov 17 '12 at 22:41
Your limit may not actually have been increased. You had an effective limit of $25 because you had a credit on your account. Once you use that $25 in purchases I would expect your limit to return to $75 – user4127 Nov 21 '12 at 16:27
@Chad I'm almost certain that you are correct. About 10 years ago, I overpaid my VISA card by $200. I called customer service. They sent me a check for the over paid amount of $200, very promptly. My credit limit temporarily was X + 200. It returned to X, as of the next billing cycle though. OP should directly request a credit limit increase. If granted, it may not be for an increase of $500, but whatever the credit issuer decides is appropriate given usual criteria. – Ellie Kesselman Dec 4 '12 at 14:53

Overpaying a credit card to create a large positive balance may cause a bank to red flag your account. This is a technique used in fraud for check kiting (write or deposit a fraudulent check to overpay your credit card, then demand a refund on the balance overpaid before the check bounces.)

Every bank is different: Talk to your bank first before you try this. For a small balance ($5-20) overpayment isn't a big deal, it happens regularly... just spend down the balance. Past that, you might be harming your credit record or risk closing the account if the bank disagrees with how you are using an overpaid balance for a larger purchase, or you risk unwanted law enforcement attention aimed at your finances.

If you are trying to do this to build your creditworthiness, a secured card is better for this purpose. Disagree with your credit limit? Deposit more in the holding account.

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protected by Chris W. Rea Nov 8 '15 at 15:12

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