Stop Credit Card Junk Mail

A mailbox stuffed full of junk mail
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Is your mailbox constantly filled with offers from credit card companies? "Pre-approved" credit card offers can get annoying, especially when you're not on the market for new credit. Many people shop for and compare credit cards online now, so there's almost no reason to get credit card offers in the mail. Eliminating credit card offers not only reduces the amount of mail you have to deal with, but also reduces the amount of paper and waste coming into your home.

Another great reason to stop credit card junk mail: to prevent identity theft. If you don't shred or tear up the applications before throwing them away, there's a chance a thief could steal the application from the trash, mail it in, and intercept the card. It could be months, years even, before you discover the violation, especially if don't regularly monitor your credit report.

How To Opt-Out of Credit Card Offers Temporarily or For Good

Many credit card offers are sent based on credit bureau pre-screening. The credit card issuer asks the credit bureaus to send back a list of consumers who meet certain criteria. Then, the card issuer sends out credit card offers based on that list. If you're the type of borrower the credit card issuer is looking for, you'll probably get a credit card offer, too. This process is perfectly legal, so complaining to a government agency won't fix your problem.

Fortunately, Federal law gives you the right to opt-out of this type of prescreening. By opting-out, you're telling the credit bureaus that you don't want your information sold to credit card companies. You can visit www.optoutprescreen.com or call 1-888-5OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688) to keep your name off prescreened lists for a certain number of years or indefinitely.

You can also use these options to opt-in again if you've previously opted-out.

Regardless of which method you use - visiting the website or calling - you will have to provide some personal information. Your name and address are required to confirm your identity. Your social security number is optional, but may help the credit bureau process your request. Before entering your social security number, confirm that you're on the correct website. Look for an "https://" at the beginning of the hyperlink and a lock in the address bar indicating that you're on a secure website.

Note that opting-out of credit card offers doesn't affect your credit score, positively or negatively.

Some Mail May Fall Through the Cracks

While this process will stop most unsolicited credit card mail, it doesn't stop all of them. You may continue to receive offers from companies with whom you already do business, e.g. your current credit card issuers. Also, companies that do not go through the pre-screening process may still send offers to you. Still, opting out will eliminate the bulk of your credit card offers and save you the headache of trashing them.