Amid rising inflation, higher costs of borrowing and increased living costs, many Canadians are turning to credit cards to pay for everyday expenses like groceries and gas.
At the end of September 2022, the average credit card balance held by Canadians stood at a record high of $2,121, but what is the average credit card limit in Canada?
Credit card limits can vary enormously. Your limit depends on your income, credit score and debt-to-income ratio.
What is the average credit card limit in Canada
Exact figures on average credit card limits in Canada are hard to come by, as card issuers don’t release this information. However, according to an Equifax Canada report from September 2022, the average credit limit on new cards was over $5,800, the highest in seven years.
Additionally, a 2017 report by the Bank of Canada reported that 15% of Canadians had a credit card limit of less than $2,000, while 41% had a limit of over $10,000.
What is the highest credit card limit in Canada?
There is no maximum credit card limit in Canada. It depends on the card issuer. Some card limits can be over $100,000. Although rare, some Canadians have limits of $500,000 or more.
Factors that determine higher credit limits
While the criteria vary by lender, several factors influence a card’s credit limit.
A strong credit history, which includes a record of on-time payments and a reasonable credit utilization rate, can result in a higher credit limit.
In short, the longer you’ve used credit responsibly, the more likely you will be approved for a high credit limit. The most important thing is to pay bills on time.
A high credit score indicates that you manage money well and are a low-risk borrower, which may lead to a higher credit limit.
According to Equifax Canada, a good credit score is 660 or higher.
The more money you make, the higher your credit limit will likely be. Some credit cards have income limits for eligible applicants.
A stable employment history can also contribute to a high credit limit, as it signifies financial stability.
Credit card issuers will consider other debts, including personal loans and other credit card debt when determining your credit limit. If you have lots of debt, you will probably be offered a low credit limit.
Typical credit card limit by income
Financial institutions check your debt-to-income ratio, which compares how much you earn to the money you owe, to determine your creditworthiness.
You may receive a higher credit limit if you have a low debt-to-income ratio and a high income.
Credit limit for $30,000 salary
If you earn $30,000 a year, you might start with a smaller credit limit. Although some cards have minimum income requirements, there are many credit cards with low or no income requirements.
If you make payments on time and keep your balance below 30% of your limit, the credit card company might increase your limit further down the line.
Credit limit for $50,000 salary
If you have an annual salary of $50,000, you might get a higher limit, but it depends on other factors, such as your credit score and debts.
Credit limit for $100,000 salary
If you have an annual salary of $100,000 or more, you can often access exclusive credit cards.
Also known as premium or elite cards, these are the highest-limit credit cards for people with excellent credit scores and large incomes.
They often come with additional perks to save you money, such as better interest rates, lower fees, travel rewards and exclusive benefits.
For example, the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite card requires a minimum annual income of $60,000 but offers rewards in the form of points.
Premium credit cards such as these may also require a certain level of credit card transactions per year.
As always, whether you are approved depends on other factors, including your creditworthiness and overall financial situation.
Credit cards for low income
If you have a low credit score or limited credit that is stopping you from getting approved, a secured credit card can help you build credit.
These cards require you to pay a security deposit, which typically determines the credit limit. So, if you deposit $250, your credit limit is $250.
Is there an average credit card limit by age?
Age isn’t a significant factor when it comes to credit cards and their credit limits. Other factors, such as income and creditworthiness, have more impact on your credit limit.
Why is my new credit card limit so low?
You might have a lower limit on a credit card for many reasons, such as low income, poor credit or high balances on credit cards or other lines of credit.
Can you increase your credit card limit?
To get a credit limit increase on your credit card, you can contact your card issuer to request one. However, applicants must maintain a healthy financial standing and a good credit score to be approved.
Before requesting a credit limit increase, ensure you meet the criteria and be aware of the following.
Is the credit card new?
If your card has only recently been issued or your limit has recently been increased, wait at least six months before seeking an increase.
During this time, use the card responsibly. Your card issuer might even contact you to offer you an increase without you having to ask for one.
Have you made payments on time?
Always pay your credit card bill (and other bills) on time to avoid late fees and penalties. Missed payments have a devastating impact on your credit score.
If you’ve missed any payments in the last six months, you’ll likely be refused a credit limit increase.
Have you used the card responsibly?
A credit card issuer will look at the existing card to determine your current limit and how the card is managed.
Aim to pay off your credit card balance in full each month to keep your credit card account in good standing. If that’s not possible, try to pay more than the minimum payment.
In doing so, you’re lowering your debt load and establishing a good credit history, which is attractive to credit card providers.
If your credit needs some work, consider waiting a while before you apply for a new card so you can take steps to improve your credit.
Is your credit utilization ratio low?
Your credit utilization ratio calculates the percentage of available credit from the total credit limit. It’s the second most crucial factor in determining your credit score.
Keep your overall used credit below 30% to maintain a healthy credit score.
If your credit card balances are high, consider making additional payments to lower your credit utilization rate before you request a credit limit increase.
Have you checked your credit report?
Regularly review your credit report to ensure there are no issues, errors or fraudulent transactions.
Your card issuer might access your report to check your credit rating and how you’ve managed credit in the past.
Do you have a lot of debt?
Too many credit lines, loans, and credit cards can make it challenging to extend credit. If you have high debt, paying off some of your debt before requesting a limit increase is highly recommended.
Establish a monthly budget for your credit card payments, bills, and everyday purchases.
It’s also a good idea to check your credit card statements regularly to monitor your spending habits and see where you can cut back.
Does the current card have low rates and fees?
Be aware of the interest rate on the credit card. If you find a card with a lower interest rate, consider applying for that one instead and doing a balance transfer to save on interest charges.
Some credit cards charge annual fees for their benefits and features. Ensure that the rewards you earn outweigh the cost of the annual fee.
Can credit card companies decrease your limit?
It’s possible to receive a credit limit decrease if you don’t make payments on time or default on the balance. Underusing a credit card can also result in the card issuer reducing your limit.
Most Canadians use high credit card limits for more spending power and financial flexibility without needing a personal loan or dipping into their savings.
The average credit card limit on a new card in Canada is over $5,800, the highest in seven years. Balances are also at record highs.
With that in mind, it’s essential to keep your balance low and make on-time payments to avoid accumulating excessive credit card debt.
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