|by Brooke Kaelin|
How do I opt out of pre-screened credit card offers?
If you are tired of receiving unsolicited credit card offers in your mail box each week, there is a way to prevent it from happening.
Why you get unsolicited offers of credit in the mail:
The three credit bureaus (TransUnion, Equifax and Experian) regularly sell lists of consumer’s names to the major credit card companies. The credit card companies then send out offers of credit based on the range your credit score fell into at the time the list was made.
If you are tired of these offers there is a simple way to make them stop. However, before you decide whether opting out of credit card mailers is right for you, you may want to consider some of the pros and cons:
- Opting out could reduce the possibility of identity theft. You will not have to worry about someone else getting their hands on your credit card offers and ruining your credit.
- The majority of credit card companies who your information also find a way to re-sell it. Opting out of the initial list could impact the total level of junk mail you receive. Your name would no longer be sold over and over again to different companies throughout the United States.
- It is getting easier and easier to compare credit offers online. When you decide it is time to apply you can simply search for a card that meets your needs. You can even read reviews and direct card- to- card comparisons without ever leaving your chair, much less opening junk mail.
- Occasionally credit card companies will use direct mail to send you an offer that they do not make publicly available – especially if you have either excellent credit or horrible credit. (There are companies that target both markets). The interest rates you are offered by mail could be better than the offers that show up online, or the offer may have had other rewards attached. This is not common practice, but it does happen.
The best way to combat that little voice in the back of your head that says, “I wonder if I could have gotten a better deal?” is to do a little research online. Credit card companies do not typically make unique, one time only, or only-for-you offers. (Although they want you to think they do!)
Chances are, if you would have been “pre-selected” for an offer, then other people were too – and you can usually find unbiased opinions of those offers in forums like this one. If you hear of a better than advertised deal, call the credit card company and see if you can get approved for it.
How to stop getting unsolicited offers of credit:
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) you have the right to “Opt-Out” of pre-approved or pre-selected credit card offers. You can choose to remove your name from the marketing list for 5 years, or to opt-out permanently and never receive offers again. You can also opt back in if you change your mind later.
To begin opting-out of credit card offers by mail, or to find out more about what opting out will mean to you, click here.