Big bill, small credit limit: Know your options


Let's Talk Credit
Let's Talk Credit columnist Jane E. McNamara
Jane E. McNamara is president and chief executive officer of GreenPath Debt Solutions, a nationwide, not-for-profit, providing financial literacy through consumer education and counseling for more than 50 years. For financial literacy tips and assistance visit GreenPath on Facebook or YouTube.
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Question Dear Let's Talk Credit,
I have a substantial bill coming due and I just applied for, and received, a 0 percent introductory APR credit card. The problem is that the card's credit limit is well shy of the limit I need. Will applying for another 0 percent introductory APR card right away raise red flags with the issuers or the credit rating agencies? My record is absolutely clean and my current rating is 780. -- J

Answer Dear J,
Your credit score of 780 should allow you to qualify for many different payment options. First, you could try calling the card issuer for your new 0 percent credit card and request that they increase the limit on your card. The card issuer may be willing to increase the limit to allow you to place the entire amount of you upcoming bill on the card.

New credit will typically cause a small dip in your credit score. However, your score is high enough that the dip should not affect your ability to qualify for another credit card. If your card issuer is unwilling to raise the credit limit enough to accommodate your needs, you could apply for another 0 percent introductory interest rate credit card. To assure that you receive the credit limit that you would need to reach your goal of paying your bill, you might be better served to call and apply for an account by phone. The card issuer should be able to tell you the credit limit you would receive and, if it is not high enough, you could let them know you do not wish to open the account.

Another option that you might consider is an unsecured personal loan with your financial institution. Although the interest rate would not be 0 percent, the loan may be an affordable solution for you.

No matter how you decide to cover the bill, make sure you have a plan in place for paying the balance. To keep your credit rating at its high level, you will need to make all payments on the new account(s) on time and as agreed, just as you have been doing.

See related: Using personal loans to pay off credit cards

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Published: April 24, 2014

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Updated: 10-25-2016

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