I just got off the phone with Chase card services. I called to lower the credit limit on my United Explorer Business Card. I am gearing up to apply for another Chase credit card, and this is a step to prepare for my next application.

If you keep up with the blog, you’ll remember I’m in the midst of a plan to rake in as many Chase bonuses as I can before they decide they’ve had enough of me. I was maxed out by the 5/24 rule for years until recently, and now that I’m not anymore, I’ve opened a Chase Sapphire Preferred, a United Explorer Business Card, and an Ink Business Preferred.

No animals were exploited for the purpose of this photo. He got a treat for being a good boy.

Theoretically, if I play my cards right, I should be able to open a few more business cards I want:

Then it will be time to hit the consumer cards I want. Business cards come first in my line up as they do not factor into your 5/24 total. The only reason I prioritized the Sapphire Preferred over other business cards is because I will likely upgrade it to a Chase Sapphire Reserve eventually and hold that long term. Didn’t want to get locked out of that option.

Returning to the original question: What does lowering the credit limit on one my existing cards have to do with applying for another one?

Lending too much credit to one customer makes you seem risky to Chase, and lowering your credit limit on an existing card will reduce Chase’s exposure and improve your application’s chances of auto-approval. In other words, if their computer notices the amount of credit extended to you is too high compared to your income, that’s a reason to deny your application automatically.

Anecdotally, your total credit line with the bank shouldn’t be more than $45,000 to $60,000. That’s a pretty speculative number though, according to FlyerTalk.

My total credit line with Chase wasn’t that much, but I’m conservative. I don’t like denials. And I don’t hold large balances on my credit cards, so lowering the credit limit on one card wasn’t going to affect my credit utilization ratio (total amount of debt compared to total amount of credit available).

Creditkarma.com calls credit card utilization ratio credit card use.

Save Some Credit Line Just in Case

While it is a good idea to lower your overall credit line with Chase before applying for a new card, you want to leave some available in case you aren’t auto-approved and need to offer to reallocate some of your existing credit to the new account. That is one of the best tactics for getting a Chase card application reconsidered. The internet says the minimum credit line on Visa Signature cards is $5,000. My Ink Business Preferred Card, which is a Visa Signature, has a slightly lower credit limit than that though. Perhaps that has to do with it being a business card or maybe there are just exceptions.

As many Chase cards are Visa Signature you can see how that could potentially present an issue if none had a credit line of at least $10,000.

If you need to go this route–either because your application isn’t auto-approved or is denied–call 888-270-2127 for personal cards and 800-453-9719 for business cards.

Bottom Line

If you’re going to churn credit cards, and by that I mean opening lots of them for the purpose of jacking up your return on spending via lucrative sign-up bonuses, do it wisely. Take measures like this one to improve your approval odds, and familiarize yourself with the Issuing Banks Rules for Approvals and New Bonuses. I’ll be updating that post soon with the latest rules and restrictions, which are ever-involving in this hobby. And don’t forget that newbies and veterans alike can get help with credit card application advice via our Free Credit Card Consultation Service.

You don’t have to call Chase to lower a credit limit on an existing card. The call took me just a couple minutes, but if you prefer you can easily send a secure message through your online account. I’ve always gotten replies from Chase within 24 to 48 hours. What I don’t recommend is lowering your credit limit immediately before applying. Give Chase’s computer some time to catch up.

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