How To Stop Credit Card Junk Mail

Stop Preapproved Credit Card Offers From Jamming Your Mailbox

A person stands and covers their ears next to a headline and text that reads: Tips for minimizing unsolicited preapproved credit card offers: Visit www.optoutprescreen.com or call 1-888-5OPTOUT to remove your name from prescreened lists (make sure you’re on the right site—your Social Security number is required) Stop telemarketers from calling you by registering with the National Do Not Call Registry (www.donotcall.gov) Reduce credit card spam by tightening your email account’s spam filtering options (mark offers as “spam”)

The Balance / Nusha Ashjaee

Preapproved credit card offers can get annoying, especially when you're not in the market for a new card. Most people shop for and compare credit cards online these days, so there's really no reason to receive credit card offers in the mail. But they're still very prevalent, and many people find that their mailboxes and email inboxes are filled with offers.

Key Takeaways

  • Prospective credit card lenders can find you by requesting the names of consumers who meet their criteria from the credit reporting agencies.
  • Unwanted credit card junk mail can put you at risk of identity theft if you don’t destroy the mailings before throwing them out.
  • You can remove your name from these consumer lists by opting out of receiving them online or by making a phone call. 
  • You can avoid emails and phone calls as well with a couple of easy steps. 


How To Opt Out of Credit Card Junk Mail

Fortunately, federal law gives you the right to opt out of credit card prescreening. You can visit www.optoutprescreen.com or call 888-5-OPT-OUT (888-567-8688) to remove your name from prescreened lists for five years or even indefinitely. You're telling the credit bureaus that you don't want your information sold to credit card companies when you opt out.

You'll need to provide your name and address to confirm your identity. Your Social Security number is optional, but it may help the credit bureau process your request. Confirm that you're on the correct website before entering your Social Security number. Look for an "https://" at the beginning of the hyperlink and a lock in the address bar. This indicates that you're on a secure website.

You can also opt in again by calling or visiting the website if you'd like to receive credit offers in the future.

Opting out of credit card offers doesn't affect your credit score.

How To Stop Telemarketers

Some credit-related telemarketers may call you to sign up for credit card insurance, interest rate reduction programs, or other marketing-related services. These services are often scams to get your payment information for identity theft or to enroll you in services that you don't want or need.

You can stop telemarketers from contacting you by registering with the National Do Not Call Registry. The registry is free and it eliminates all telemarketing calls, not just the ones you receive from credit card companies and other related services. You can register your phone number by going to www.donotcall.gov.

Existing credit card issuers may still contact you regarding accounts you already have or to offer other credit-related products and services.

How To Stop Emails

It's difficult to determine whether a credit card offer you receive via email is legitimate because there are so many scammers on the internet. You shouldn't apply for a card by clicking the email, even if you're interested in it. It could be a phishing scam to get your personal information. You can reduce credit card spam by increasing the spam filter controls on your email account.

Marking the offers as spam will tell your email system to recognize those types of emails as junk mail and stop delivering them to your inbox. Many email service providers also allow you to block emails from specific email addresses. Exploring those settings will prevent the emails from reaching your inbox.

Benefits of Eliminating Credit Card Mailings

Not only does eliminating mailings from credit card companies reduce the amount of mail you'll receive and the amount of wasted paper coming into your home, but it can also prevent identity theft as well. A thief could steal an application from the trash, mail it in, and intercept the card if you don't shred the offers and applications before throwing them away. It could be months or even years before you discover the violation, especially if you don't regularly monitor your credit report.

How Credit Card Companies Find You

Many credit card offers are sent based on a credit bureau prescreening. The credit card issuer sends a request to the credit bureaus asking for a list of consumers who meet specific criteria. Then it sends out credit card offers based on that list. You would likely receive an offer if you're one of the potential borrowers that meet the criteria. The mailing process is perfectly legal, so complaining to a government agency won't fix your problem.

It May Not Eliminate All Junk Mail

These steps should stop the majority of unsolicited credit card mail, but they may not eliminate them completely. You may continue to receive offers from companies you already do business with, like your current credit card issuers, as well as companies that don't go through the prescreening process.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why am I getting credit card offers in the mail?

Credit card companies are always looking for new customers, and prescreening is one of their main tools for finding them. To do that, they buy lists of borrowers who meet their criteria from the three major credit bureaus: TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. You have to opt out to be excluded from these prescreened lists.

How do I opt back in for credit card offers?

You can opt back in through the same website where you opted out if you later decide you'd like to start receiving preapproved credit card offers again: www.optoutprescreen.com,

Article Sources

  1. Federal Trade Commission. "Fair Credit Reporting Act § 605A. Identity theft Prevention; Fraud Alerts and Active Duty Alerts," Page 35.

  2. OptOutPrescreen. "OptOutPrescreen.com."

  3. OptOutPrescreen. "Frequently Asked Questions," Select "Does Opting-Out Improve My Credit Score?"

  4. Federal Trade Commission. "National Do Not Call Registry."

  5. Federal Trade Commission. "How to Recognize and Avoid Phishing Scams."

  6. Federal Trade Commission. "Prescreened Credit and Insurance Offers."