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The Average Credit Limit

Your credit limit determines how much you can charge to your credit card before you start racking up interest. In combination with how much you spend, your credit limit also determines your credit utilization ratio. That’s the ratio of the credit you use to your credit limit. Let’s take a closer look at the average credit limit. The lower your ratio, the higher your credit score tends to be. Let’s take a look at the average credit limit by credit score and age.

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The Average Credit Card Limit

According to Experian data, the average credit card limit as of December 2016 was $8,071. That’s relatively unchanged from December 2015, when the average credit card limit was $8,042. As you’ll see below, there is a wide range in credit card limits because consumers with low credit scores can’t access high limits.

The Average Credit Limit by Credit Score

The higher your credit score the more likely your credit card company is to offer you a high credit limit. If you have a low credit score you’ll have a hard time convincing your credit card company to give you a high credit limit.

Credit bureau Experian breaks credit scores into the following credit score ranges: Deep SubPrime (300-499); SubPrime (500-600); NonPrime (601-660); Prime (661-780); SuperPrime (781+).

Experian data shows that, as of December 2016, the average credit limit of a consumer with a Deep SubPrime credit score was $1,834. For consumers with SubPrime credit scores, the average credit limit was $2,645. Consumers with NonPrime credit had an average credit limit of $4,674. Those who have Prime credit scores had an average credit limit of $7,593. And consumers lucky enough to have SuperPrime credit scores had an average credit limit of $11,357. As you can see, consumers with the highest credit scores have access to the highest credit limits.

The Average Credit Limit by Age

The Average Credit Limit

Do credit limits increase with age? The answer is yes. Experian data shows that the average credit limit for those in the “Silent Generation” (born 1900-1946) is $9,929. Baby Boomers (born (1947-1966) have an average credit limit of $9,172. Member of Gen X (born 1967-1981) have an average credit limit of $7,398. Gen Y members (born 1982 – 1995) have an average credit limit of $4,814. Finally, Members of Generation Z (born 1996 – 1999) have an average credit limit of just $1,451.

This relationship between age and credit limit makes sense when you consider the fact that people tend to earn higher salaries as they advance in their career and grow their net worth. Ideally, by the time you’re a senior you’ve saved for retirement and paid down your mortgage.

Bottom Line

The Average Credit Limit

Looking for a high credit limit? There’s no shortcut. It’s all about having a high credit score and a solid income. If your income has gone up since you got your current credit limit, you can reach out to your bank and ask for a credit limit increase. If your spending stays constant, a higher credit limit will help you lower your credit utilization ratio, which in turn will boost your credit score.

It’s important to remember, though, that a high credit limit shouldn’t be treated as an invitation to get into debt. Just because your credit limit is $5,000 a month doesn’t mean you should spend $5,000 a month, particularly if you can’t afford to pay your bill in full at the end of your billing period.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/AMR Image, ©iStock.com/Eva-Katalin, ©iStock.com/PeopleImages

Amelia Josephson Amelia Josephson is a writer passionate about covering financial literacy topics. Her areas of expertise include retirement and home buying. Amelia's work has appeared across the web, including on AOL, CBS News and The Simple Dollar. She holds degrees from Columbia and Oxford. Originally from Alaska, Amelia now calls Brooklyn home.
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