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Trying for Balance Transfer But Low Credit Limit?

I had a reader send me the following email:

Hi Jim, I just got the Citi mtvU card [3] hoping to get a good balance transfer to pay off something else but they only gave me a $3,000 limit, less than what I was hoping for. What should I do?

Unfortunately, you made the mistake of trying to do a balance transfer with a credit card designed for students. Since it’s designed for students, I wouldn’t expect them to give you a high limit no matter what your income was. In the future, I’d recommend something more mainstream like a Citi Professional (though not that one because the balance transfer is only for 9 months).

Anyway, the only thing I can really suggest is that you take the balance transfer for $3k since you’ve already taken the hit to your credit score (if it’s your only credit application in a while, I wouldn’t worry too much). If you just toss the card, you take the hit and you don’t get the cheap credit.

Now, one thing you can try to do, depending on how long the offer is good for, is to use the card as usual and then request for a credit line increase after six months (most companies won’t consider an increase until six months). So, if the offer is valid for more than 6 months, you can try that route to get more money. The downside to that is that you’re still paying that higher interest debt for that time period, so it may not be worth it.

Anyone else have any suggestions?