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Ask Sid

The Mysterious Shrinking Credit Line

Q. My credit is good—why was my spending limit cut?

A.With hard times in the credit industry, falling stocks and more layoffs, card issuers are tightening the reins on even their best customers. Often it’s guilt by association: American Express says it’s basing credit limit reductions on where cardholders live and shop and who holds their mortgage. Still, it won’t hurt to inquire about a cut—card providers don’t want to lose valued customers. The best way to avoid lower limits is to pay off outstanding balances—on time—and avoid cash advances, which suggest possible cash-flow problems.

Sid Kirchheimer writes about consumer and health issues.

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