The incessant pileup of pre-screened credit card offers in your mailbox is more than a nuisance, it is also a tempting portal into the dangers of credit card debt. Luckily, it is rather easy to stop card companies from sending these pre-approved offers to you.
Consumers often wonder how these credit card companies happen to find them at the very moment they become eligible for a credit card.
Deliberately stated as “pre-approved” offers, unwary recipients find themselves in a heap of credit card debt before learning the basics to using credit.
What is a Pre-Approved Credit Card Offer?
A “pre-approved” credit card offer only means that you were selected as a potential candidate to receive a credit card — it does not guarantee that your credit card application will be approved. Issuers will still review your financial situation and credit histories to see if you are creditworthy.
In preparation for promotional campaigns, credit card issuers enlist the help of consumer credit reporting agencies which include Equifax, Experian, TransUnion, and lesser-known Innovis. If your credit history matches the criteria set forth by a card company, you end up on a mailing list that is supplied by the credit bureaus. And, if you already have an account with a bank, you can expect there to be offer for other financial products and services.
How to Opt Out
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), consumers have the right to forbid credit bureaus from sharing your personal information with credit card companies and insurance for the purpose of marketing products to you. Anyone can choose to opt-out from receiving the pre-screened credit card offers by visiting OptOutPrescreen.com.
At OptOutPrescreen.com, you have three options to manage the flow pre-approved credit card offers in your mailbox:
- Opt out from pre-approved offers for 5 years. This can be done electronically on the website by provide your personal information.
- Opt out from pre-approved offers permanently. You will be required to confirm your request by mailing in a Permanent Opt-Out Election form.
- Opt in to receive pre-approved offers if you previously elected to opt out. This can be done electronically on the website.
Your opt-out request becomes effective with the credit bureaus within 5 days of submission. You may continue to get some credit card offers that were already prepared to be sent out prior to your opt-out request.
Afterwards, you will notice that pre-screened credit card offers have ceased showing up in your mailbox.
Note that opting out does not influence your credit score calculation or your ability to apply for credit.