Your Take: What Is Your Total Credit Limit?

Email  Print Print  

I thought it would be fun to add up all the credit limits of every credit card and line of credit we had to see what that amount was.

My total? $69,600 (we don’t have any lines of credit)

My cards (starred ones are cards I actively use):

My wife? $35,500. (and we just did a quick Citi credit limit increase request and they raised my wife’s limit on one of her cards by $1,500 with no credit pull)

I win! (just kidding)

Is there a point to all this other than to have a meaningless pissing contest? First, it’s important to know your total credit limit because you want to know, if the crap hits the fan, how much money you have access to. Knowing that we have $100,000 in unsecured credit is only important if we ever need that sum in the first place. While unsecured credit cards won’t be the first place we turn to for funds, at least we know it’s there and we can make informed decisions knowing the “worst case.”

Another benefit of this exercise is that we have a listing of every credit card we have. I don’t carry the Discover Cards or the Citi Platinum Dividend card, they’re hidden somewhere in our house. Even though I don’t use them, I should know that I have an account there and the details of that account. Going through this little exercise jogs my memory about the credit cards I have.

Finally, I was a little surprised that I had $69,600 of unsecured credit at my fingertips (though if you ever read some of the App-o-rama’s at Fatwallet, $69k is what those wizards can get in a day’s time). I can see now why credit card companies are cutting credit limits. All it takes is a job loss, which isn’t reported to credit card companies or credit bureaus, and I could very quickly rack up some unsecured credit card debt.

Wondering why the Citi Platinum and AMEX cards have such high credit limits? I would periodically request credit line increases back when the economy was cruising. They’d be granted without a hard inquiry, so at no cost to me I was seeing my limits increase every few months.

So, do you know your total credit limit? If so, how much is it?

(Photo: Andres Rueda)

{ 78 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

Related Posts

RSS Subscribe Like this article? Get all the latest articles sent to your email for free every day. Enter your email address and click "Subscribe." Your email will only be used for this daily subscription and you can unsubscribe anytime.

78 Responses to “Your Take: What Is Your Total Credit Limit?”

  1. Really eye opening post. I went and added up all of the credit limits of the credit cards in my wallet and the ones I keep in my safe. All total about $160,500.

    Way too much credit for a single guy.

  2. Dan says:

    I was told by a few people when I was looking at houses over the last few years that you have to be careful with the limitless expansion of your credit limits. According to them the mortgage companies are now taking a closer look at your debt liability. Having excessive lines of credit means that you are more of a liability. I can’t speak for the credibility of the sources, but maybe someone credible can comment on this.

  3. Lou says:

    While you have the cards out to look at them, it’s a good idea to xerox them all, turn them over & xerox the backs. That way you have all the information you need should they ever be lost, stolen or misplaced. I file this annually with the copy of my passport, Medicare card, SS card and Drivers license.

  4. pluto says:

    more credit limit you have and more you want use it. my limit is 750 dollars, i use it just to keep alive my credit score, othervise i use cash

  5. Carla says:

    Between business and personal, about $75K.

  6. personal = 3 cards, $80K
    business = 2 cads, $50K

    I have gradually brought down my limits since I have never carried a balance in about a decade and have sufficient cash on hand after all my expenses are covered.

    Having too much avail credit can be perceived as blessing for a rainy period in our lives, but can also be a dangerous assumption. I know of many people who have had their credit limits pulled down by the issuers without any reason and also others, who have had their full balance called in by issuers. So I am happy to have interest accruing cash in an account to protect my behind if a downward moment arises in my life.

  7. Tim says:

    ok, so how do you calculate when you have cards without credit limits? my wife and I each have no limit credit cards.

    • Dan says:

      Are they American Express charge cards? If so, then yes they have no stated limit or as they say no pre-set spending limit. There certainly is an exposure limit. i.e. if you never charged a 50k purchase, don’t think that charging 50k would be approved without letting them know first. So for this calculation, you wouldn’t be able to.

      If you have a no pre-set spending Visa or Mastercard there is definitely a stated limit on your statement. Because of it’s no-preset feature you theoretically should be able to charge double that stated limit.

    • Jim says:

      I just ignore them, my amex business is a no limit card

  8. eric says:

    I like this “Your Take.” It just goes to show that people with excellent credit still have a lot of available credit at their disposal, despite the credit crisis.

  9. JD says:

    I only keep a few credit cards but they all have high limits. The lowest one is $20k and the highest is $100k. Then I have an AMEX Platinum that doesn’t really have a limit since its technically a charge card. All in all, my credit card limits add up to $210k on 4 cards. I have never once in my life carried a balance on any card, I think doing so is just idiotic. The only reason I have high limits is because of my income, my spending is pretty minimal.

  10. I have 25k however, if I lost my job the first thing I would do is cut the credit card in half. I only put charges on my credit cards that I know I can pay-off in a month. I would never dig myself a big hole by charges money I can pay back to my credit card (even in a bad situation).

    • azphx1972 says:

      If I lost my job and used up my emergency savings, I would start charging on the credit cards before touching my retirement accounts or home equity. The reason is that credit cards are unsecured and can be discharged via bankruptcy if necessary. Retirement accounts are protected against creditors, and I would not risk my roof if I had unsecured credit cards to use first.

  11. Glenn Lasher says:

    One Visa and one MC from my credit union and HSBC, respectively, total $10,750. I don’t really see any reason to have more, because this is an amount I know I can pay at least minimum on if worse came to worst.

  12. Better be careful not to have anyone (crooks) get their hands on your accounts . . . I have always worried about that personally– regardless of fraud “protections”.

  13. DDFD–Yes, and especially true since there might be a tendancy to be less aware of a credit card’s whereabouts or the activity on it if it’s one you don’t use much or at all.

    One other thought on high unused balances–if you’re holding onto the cards just in case of an emergency, it seems to me that running up the cards to put out a fire will be a matter of exchanging one crisis for another (major debt).

  14. Danny says:

    Does anyone know if your credit score will be negatively affected if you close an account with a zero balance?

    I’ve been told that you should not close any accounts because of the impact on your score. Has anyone else heard this? Is it true?

  15. Patrick says:

    I currently have under 15K and if I lost my job would not use one of them. I would do my best to stock with using a debit card or straight cash. Credit cards are nice when you have the money to pay them off every month, but not so much when you can’t.

  16. I’ve got $67,000 on 6 cards. God help me if I ever use anywhere near that much!

  17. mppaul2 says:

    Ten cards…oh my! $159,900 total credit limit. Goodness knows, I am trying to scale this down to maximum of five. Not sure if AMEX will consolidate anymore, I have three and Citibank will not combine my Citi Professional line with my Diamonds reward. I have two credit union Visa cards, and I think my BofA and my FIA card limit could be consolidated to one card. So at best if those that will allow consolidation, I could get this down to seven (chase, AMEX, 2 Citi, BofA, PenFed CU and Dupage CU).

    • Jim says:

      I bet you had no idea the total limit was that high! That was my reaction too and I almost didn’t post this question because I was afraid to share the number in the first place. It’s astounding how much credit we have access to.

  18. Jane says:

    40,000 over three cards but two of them are from my bank which one a Mastercard I told about 4 years ago to stop raising my limit – $22,000. (that was interesting conversation.) #2 I opened years ago because they were offering a no fee amex and I had just closed an outside Visa that had slashed my limit b/c it was my back up card. They offered $25,000 I said I only want $6,000. The third is a year old Amazon visa for $12,000 that has actually had it’s limit raised this year. (Amazingly it’s run by Chase) So who knows what I could have had if I didn’t limit my amounts. I keep all three active by using the Visa for most everything, the Mastercard for Sam’s club and monthly charity Donations and the Amex for a $6 credit monitoring charge from my bank every month.

  19. Necati says:

    Its unbeliveable how much credit you guys get in USA. In Europe, it would be VERY unusual for someone to have

    1- 10 cards
    2- 100k limit over 10 cards!

    We in europe simply wouldnt take so many cards. Whats the reason to have so many cards?
    I personaly have one amex gold and one standard visa card (to use as backup where I cant use my amex)

    I guess USA really has a ´card culture´. Here people use more debit cards.

    No offense but no wonder the credit crunch started in USA 🙁

    • matt says:

      awwwwwww. probably the only reason why your country has its own form of of currency at all is because the brave men from my country kicked the crapout of the nazis in ww2. funny you arent speaking german right now because “card culture” had the balls and bravery to fight and win a war in your back yard. wonder what kind of “crunch” you would be in then? cant stand you europeans who think the usa is the reasoning behind your problems.

      • Andrew says:

        This kind of crap just makes Americans look stupid and racist. I’m an American, and I’m neither. Shut up if you don’t have anything sensible to say.

      • alex says:

        At Matt

        Dude, seriously, STFU. People like YOU give americans a bad name. What you said was immature, ignorant, stupid, and many other things I’d like to say, but wont, out of fear of going to far.

        If you truly believe these kinds of things, and you really are that kind of person, then I feel very, very sorry for you.

        And yes, I’m an american.

  20. jillianlou says:

    I’m embarassed to say I don’t know exactly, but at least $10,000 over 4 cards – and I’m only 23.

  21. aua868s says:

    Citi Dividend 23K
    Chase United 17K

  22. strepthroat2031 says:

    have 17 cards with total credit limit of $70,500, no balance on any card

  23. Dylan Brunson says:

    I am a die hard American Express fan so I dont have a limit on 3 of my 9 cards, however with those 6 cards i have $235,700 spending limits because a few are linked to my parents accounts however it is absolutely ridiculous that they are extending this kind of credit to people.

  24. Strebkr says:

    46k of credit over 5 cards. No balance, unless you count the 1500 or so I spend every month that gets paid in full when the statement comes.

  25. Piyush says:

    If you know how to manage them then credit cards are your best friend. I paid off my 40% student loan from my home country through 0% APR credit cards and never paid a single penny on interest only in 1.5 year. Also few credit cards waive or limit your 3% transaction fee too 😀 I get balance transfer and cash advance checks every months at 0% APR which I never use now a days but it good to know you have someone(your bank) with money.

    11 cards in total
    Revolving accounts limit – 25k
    Open/Flex Cards – 20k

Please Leave a Reply
Bargaineering Comment Policy

Previous Article: «
Next Article: »
Advertising Disclosure: Bargaineering may be compensated in exchange for featured placement of certain sponsored products and services, or your clicking on links posted on this website.
About | Contact Me | Privacy Policy/Your California Privacy Rights | Terms of Use | Press
Copyright © 2016 by All rights reserved.