I’d finally made the decision I’d been putting off for weeks… months… years, really. I figured that, since we were taking the house off the market anyway, that I should just go ahead and cancel my store credit card that I’d taken out years ago. I didn’t even keep the card in my wallet; since I never used it, I opted to store it in a lock box in my house instead of the false-security of my purse. It was this inactivity – three years without a single purchase – that had caused the company to send me a letter a few weeks ago, informing me that my account would be closed if I didn’t act soon.
I’d muddled over this termination letter for more than a month, hemming and hawing over whether I should allow the account to be closed. I knew how important credit history and a solid balance-to-limit credit ratio were to my overall credit score, and I didn’t want closing an account to negatively impact that score. Ultimately, however, I knew that shedding this never-used card would be best for my financial health, and decided to shut it down… but first, I tried to make a preemptive strike.
Identifying The Solution
I thought my best way to negate the impact of closing one account would be to increase my credit limit on another account. This way, although I’d lose a few points on the credit history portion of my credit score, I’d recoup the losses incurred by closing the account with a $2,500 credit limit.
Putting My Plan Into Action
As I looked through the credit cards in my wallet – slim pickings, to say the least – I quickly realized that my best (perhaps only) option was to contact Bank of America. I’ve held my credit card with BofA since 2003; I’ve never once made a late payment; I’ve never once paid anything less than the full balance; I’ve never once requested a credit line increase. I figured it was a match made in credit limit heaven.
When I called BofA, they asked me a few simple questions:
- How much do I make annually?
- Did I own my home? If so, how much was the monthly mortgage payment?
- In what field did I work?
- How long had I been doing that work?
Then, the representative asked me how much I’d like to increase my credit limit and why. I told her I wanted to increase it between $2,000 and $3,000 to offset the impact on my credit score from closing another account. I reiterated that I was a long-term BofA account holder in good standing, who had never previously made any requests with regards to my credit limit.
You Know What They Say About The Best Laid Plans…
The original representative quickly transferred me to a credit specialist; it was at this point that I knew I was in trouble. By comparison, I’d been able to increase the credit limit on my husband’s Discover card (with his permission, of course) in less than five minutes online. After putting me on hold for ten minutes, the credit specialist reviewed the information I’d given to the original rep. Then, she told me that BofA wouldn’t be able to increase my credit limit.
It wasn’t because of my credit score; she acknowledged that my credit was in excellent shape. It wasn’t because of my financial situation, either. Nope, the reason they rejected my request was because BofA didn’t think I needed it.
“Just charge up to your existing limit on your card for a few cycles,” she told me. “If you do that, we’ll be able to see that you need this credit line increase.”
Doesn’t that sound (A) a little irresponsible and (B) a lot like putting the chicken before the egg? Here I was doing the responsible thing, and being rejected because of it! Maybe I should have been irresponsible, carried more credit card debt, and rarely paid on time; maybe then I would have been successful.
I’m Still Ticked Off
If you’re reading between the lines here, you can probably tell that I’m still angry about this. I was hoping to be able to use my experience as inspiration for a self-help post, a “how to” on increasing your credit limit.
It didn’t work out that way. Instead, I was given an emphatic “no” – even debating and pleading my case didn’t result in a decision in my favor. That’s a first for me; I tend to get what I ask for when it comes to my money.
Reader, did I do something wrong? Did I make a mistake in putting my plan into action? If so, where did I go off course?