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Your Take: What Is Your Total Credit Limit?

Posted By Jim On 07/24/2009 @ 7:18 am In Credit | 78 Comments

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 [6] 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 [7], $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 [6] 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 [8])


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[1] Tweet: http://twitter.com/share

[2] Email: mailto:?subject=http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/your-take-what-is-your-total-credit-limit.html

[3] Citi mtvU Card: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/cards/citi-mtvu.php?tag=ytCreditLimit

[4] Citi Platinum Select MasterCard: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/cards/citi-platinum-select.php?tag=ytCreditLimit

[5] American Express TrueEarnings: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/cards/trueearnings-business-costco.php?tag=ytCreditLimit

[6] Citi credit limit increase request: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/requesting-credit-line-increases.html

[7] App-o-rama’s at Fatwallet: http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/632935/

[8] Andres Rueda: http://www.flickr.com/photos/andresrueda/3027534098/sizes/l/

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