- A credit limit is the maximum amount of credit available to you.
- It determines how much you can borrow or spend using a credit card or line of credit.
- Staying within your credit limit is important to maintain a good credit score and avoid overspending.
Understanding credit limits
A credit limit is the maximum amount of credit that a lender or financial institution grants you. It represents the highest amount of money you can borrow or spend using a credit card or line of credit. The credit limit is determined by various factors, including your credit history, income, and financial stability.
When you apply for a credit card or line of credit, the issuer evaluates your creditworthiness and sets a credit limit based on their assessment. For example, if you're approved for a credit card with a £2,000 credit limit, it means you can spend up to £2,000 on that credit card.
It's important to note that the credit limit is not the same as your available balance. Your available balance is the difference between your credit limit and the amount you have already borrowed or spent. For instance, if you have a credit limit of £2,000 and have charged £500 to your credit card, your available balance would be £1,500.
Credit limits in the real world
Let's say you receive a credit card with a credit limit of £2,500. This means the credit card issuer has authorized you to borrow or spend up to £2,500 using that credit card. You can make purchases, pay bills, or withdraw cash from an ATM using the credit card as long as the total amount does not exceed the credit limit.
If you attempt to make a purchase that exceeds your credit limit, the transaction may be declined, unless you have previously requested and been approved for a credit limit increase. It's essential to stay within your credit limit to avoid overextending your finances and potentially damaging your credit score.
The bottom line
A credit limit is the maximum amount of credit available to you on a credit card or line of credit. It determines how much you can borrow or spend using that credit facility. It's important to be aware of your credit limit and stay within it to maintain a good credit score, avoid overspending, and manage your finances responsibly. By understanding your credit limit, you can make informed financial decisions and use credit as a tool for responsible borrowing and building a positive credit history.