August 21, 2014 by Lucy Lazarony
Tired of your mailbox being crammed with prescreened credit card offers? Here’s what you can do about it.
What Are Pre-Screened Credit Card Mailings?
When you receive a pre-screened credit card offer in the mail, it means you’ve been invited to apply for a credit card. Usually this means your credit score fits the consumer profile a card issuer is seeking with the credit card.
Credit card companies spend millions each year on pre-screened credit card mailings in the hopes of landing new customers. The card companies purchase pre-screened lists of consumer names from the credit reporting agencies, based on minimum credit score and other criteria.
If your name is on the list, it means you have the credit characteristics that a credit card company is looking for. However, just because you get a credit card offer in the mail that says you’ve been “pre-approved” does not mean that you will be officially approved for the credit card when you apply. You could still be rejected for the credit card being offered.
Being on these lists won’t hurt your credit score but if you are tired of all the extra paper in your mailbox you may wish to opt out. Pre-screened offers for credit also put you at risk for identity theft. If a thief finds one in your mailbox, he or she could attempt to apply for credit in your name.
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How to Opt Out
Thanks to the Fair Credit Reporting Act. you have the right to opt out from prescreened lists for credit card offers.
out, visit www.optoutprescreen.com or call 1-888-5OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688).
You have two choices for opting out.
You can opt out for five years, by making an online request or by calling the toll-free number. Five year opt-out requests are processed within five business days.
Or you can opt out permanently, by printing, signing and mailing a permanent opt-out election form.
Once you opt out, it may take a month or two before you notice a difference in your mailbox.
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Know Your Credit Score
Being targeted for pre-screened credit card mailings means you are the type of customer that credit card companies are seeking for various card products.
By knowing and monitoring your credit score, you can shop for credit cards based on your credit score.
You can see two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com, plus customized tips for improving your credit. Based on these credit scores, you can be matched to credit cards that make the most sense for your credit profile. Once you know your credit score, you can shop for a credit card with the APR, rewards or other card benefits that you wish.
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