by: Debbie Dragon
How many times per week does your mailbox contain an offer for a pre-approved credit card. If you're like most people, you are receiving between two and ten pre-approved credit card offers each and every week! In a time when everything is being made from recycled materials in an effort to help save our environments from excessive waste products that are filling up our landfills and polluting our earth- you probably find the number of pre-approved credit offers a big waste of paper. Particularly if you're not even considering obtaining a new credit card.
Unfortunately, the Fair Credit Reporting Act of 1970 (and amended in 1990) gives the credit bureaus permission to sell your credit history information to credit lending companies. In order to keep it "fair" for consumers, however, the ammendment of 1990 allows for consumers to choose NOT to receive these offers.
The selling of your credit history to credit card companies does not affect your credit score in any way, but may show up as an "inquiry" on your report. An inquiry is when a company has looked at your information, in order to determine your eligibility requirements. When an individual is not interested in getting more credit however, it seems ridiculous for them to receive so many "pre-approved" credit offers in the mail each week.
There are three things you can do to stop receiving these annoying credit card offers. The first, and the most fun, is not as effective as the second and third actions you can take, but is highly recommended anyway just for the entertainment value. Each of your credit card offers will most likely come with postage paid, return envelopes. Companies pay more than the standard rate of postage in order to get these envelopes- but only if the envelopes are actually placed in the mail. They pay nothing for postage on the envelopes that we just toss in the garbage. The theory is if you stuff other junk mail into the postage paid
return envelopes and mail enough of them back to the companies, they will stop sending out unsolicited offers so that they are not paying for wasted return postage. While this could be really fun, and you might feel like quite the rebel when doing it, you may not get much of a result.
Each credit card offer you receive should have a fine print section that includes how you can prevent the credit bureaus from including you in the pre-screened lists that result in your getting credit card offer after offer. Most people never even see the fine print because the offer ends up being tossed in the trash immediately, or because, well, it's fine print.
The other two actions you can take to stop receiving credit card offers are to visit a website and fill out a formal request: http://www.optoutprescreen.com. or make a phone call to 1-888-5-optout. This is an automated service that is supposed to be run by the main four credit bureaus, so it should stop all pre-screened mailings that come from any of the four bureaus.
Alternatively, you can always formally request the credit bureaus to stop including you on pre-screened lists by sending a letter to each bureau. Make sure you include your name, social security number, mailing address and phone number. If you've moved recently, include your previous address as well, so there is no confusion!
There is really very little benefit to receiving the countless credit card offers in the mail each week. It's wasting paper and time, not to mention providing you with offers that are probably not as good as the offers you could get if you actually called or applied for a card with the company sending the pre-screened offers. If you decide after opting out of pre-screened lists that you want to get a new credit card, you can use the internet to find a new card to apply for or simply call your local bank!
Did you find this article helpful?