How much credit banks would give me before they started to think better of it? Even in this time of supposedly tightening lending practises I still get all kinds of stuff in the mail telling me how much money banks are willing to give me. There's a part of me that would like to take out all the loans possible just to see how long it would take for the supposedly smart people at the banks to turn off the tap.
For instance, today I was doing some banking online (how did we ever survive before? Banking in anything other than pyjamas just seems wrong) and I noticed that the limit on my credit line was $6000 more than I thought it was. Basically, I keep a credit line around because it's cheaper than paying credit card interest. If I want to purchase something big - like a trip to Iceland - I'd much rather pay the credit card with the credit line and enjoy an interest rate that isn't highway robbery (does anyone really get robbed on the highway anymore?). I don't want a high credit limit because I don't believe in having that much available credit outstanding. If a time comes when I need more money, I'd just go talk to the bank. Until that time, I like to keep things in control.
So I wound up making a call to the bank. They warned me that - gasp - if I ever wanted to raise my limit, I would have to talk to them about reapplying for more credit. Which was kind of what I wanted in the first place.
This isn't the first time I've had to do something like this. For a while there, I was making almost yearly calls to Amex and Visa getting them to drop the limit back to what I want it to be. They have finally given up on the automatic increases, but they still send me mail about even shinier, prettier cards I can have.
I did the bank ask why it is that I can apply for credit quite simply through online banking but that there is no way for me to reduce my credit limits online. (Not that I actually expected a good answer.) Apparently, it has something to do with them having to manually drop credit limits. But they can raise them automatically with no problem. With people like that taking care of my money, I am not exactly feeling warm and fuzzy feelings right now. Alas, my mattress is far too new for me to start stashing money in it.