Credit Card Limit is basically “Spending Limit” allowed on your credit card. Credit Card is riskiest business for any bank. The default rate is very high on credit cards as it is totally unsecured credit extended to customer. Now a days banks are extra cautious while issuing a credit card. A credit card is issued only after due diligence. Every credit card has different credit limit depending on risk profile of the customer. Credit card limit is decided based on income, current loan portfolio, expense pattern and overall risk assessment of customer by the bank. Banks pull out CIBIL report of a customer to check most of these point. If CIBIL sore is less than 750 or there is a default on payment in past then Credit Card application is not be approved. Basically CIBIL score is a credit report card of a customer i.e. how he manages his personal finance and credit discipline followed by the customer.
Credit Card Limit and CIBIL Score
When the credit card is issued, banks play safe and keep Credit Card Limit on lower side. Based on the usage of customer and payment history, banks keep revising Credit Card Limit at regular intervals normally 12-18 months. At macro level, higher credit limit shows that bank has high confidence on customer that he/she will not default on credit card payment. Credit Card Limit is good pointer how your CIBIL score is moving. If bank offer to increase your credit limit then you should grab the opportunity. It also implies that you are following good credit practices.
As a thumb rule, you should never use your credit card limit more than 30% of approved credit card limit. If current limit is not sufficient then you can always request bank to increase your credit card limit. It is not necessary that bank will oblige. As a back up plan, you may opt for 2nd credit card which will give slight cushion. Credit limit will not increase drastically until unless you are eligible for enhanced eligibility based on usage patter and credit history. An increase of 20%-30% is decent. It is always advisable not to keep more than 2 credit cards.
In normal scenario, financial advisors suggest not to increase credit card limit even if the bank offer to increase the same. Their main concern is that with increase in credit card limit, a customer will tend to spend more. I beg to differ on this point. My point is that Bank offer to increase Credit Card Limit only when they observe that customer is following good credit practices. It also imply that customer is using credit card responsibly and making all payments on time. As i mentioned that as and when bank offer to increase the credit then you should opt for it. At the time, increase in credit limit does not mean that you should stop following good credit practices. Obviously with increase in income level, credit card usage will increase. In order to maintain discipline you should never utilize more than 30% of available credit card limit.
As i highlighted that higher credit limit means high confidence of bank in your re-payment capability therefore high Credit Card Limit has positive impact on CIBIL Score. Normally Credit Card Limit is around 2.5 to 3 times of monthly gross salary. Assuming my monthly gross salary is 1 Lakh. My credit card limit should be between 2.5 lakh to 3 lakh. This cumulative limit is across credit cards in case i am carrying multiple credit cards. If i have 2 credit cards then my cumulative credit limit should be in this range. Credit Limit of more than 3 times monthly gross salary will have positive impact on your CIBIL Score.
High Credit Card Limit will reduce my future Loan Eligibility
This is the biggest misconception that increased credit limit will eat into your Loan eligibility. Credit Card limit is somewhat similar to overdraft facility extended to the customer i.e. facility is extended, customer is availing or not is different. Credit Limit should not be misunderstood as Loan or Mortgage. Reason being, till you utilize this limit it will not be considered as Loan or credit. Therefore it is advisable to utilize only 30% credit card limit at any given point of time. A parallel can be drawn between Credit Card Limit and Home Loan Eligibility. In case of Home Loan, assume based on my eligibility bank fix my Home Loan eligibility as 1 Cr. I only opt for a Home Loan of 40 lakh. In this case my loan/credit liability is restricted to Home Loan availed i.e. 40 lakhs not 1 Cr (Home Loan Eligibility). Similarly in case of a Credit card, if my credit limit is 3 lakh and i only utilize 75k then my credit/loan liability is 75k which will eat into my total loan eligibility.
Holding Period of a Credit Card
Some people have habit of churning credit card as and when they receive new credit card offer. It is not advisable to churn credit card because holding period of a credit card i.e. from how long the customer is using particular credit card also impact Credit Limit thus CIBIL Score. It require atleast couple of years time to understand the credit behavior of a customer. Normal credit cycle is of 1 year because credit usage vary from month to month. My credit card usage is high during the month of April as i pay all my annual insurance premiums during April. Similarly usage can be drastically low during September and February. In order to discount all these seasonal variations, credit cycle of atleast 2-3 years is considered to understand credit behavior. Besides credit cycle, longer holding period of credit card shows stable credit behavior of a customer. Holding Period directly impact CIBIL Score therefore if you are using same credit card from last 5 years then there is high probability of better CIBIL Score.
To summarize, Credit Card if used judiciously and intelligently can help to improve CIBIL Score in long run. Some people have misconception that since they don’t use Credit Card therefore they should have high CIBIL Score. My answer is CIBIL score is a derivative of Credit history. If you don’t have any credit history then how financial institutions will check your Credit history. Only a good credit history can help to build good CIBIL Score of more than 750 in long run. Credit Card is one of the easiest and convenient way to improve CIBIL Score & you should not miss this opportunity.
Hope you liked the post and remember that good CIBIL score is result of good credit practices. It cannot be improved overnight. Beware of agencies or companies which promise overnight improvement in CIBIL Score through fraudulent ways.
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