Stop Credit Card Junk Mail
Are your mailbox and email inboxes constantly filled with offers from credit card companies? "Pre-approved" credit card offers can get annoying, especially when you're not in the market for new credit. Since most people shop for and compare credit cards online these days, there's virtually no reason to receive credit card offers via mail.
Benefits of Eliminating Credit Card Mailings
Eliminating mailings from credit card companies reduces the amount of mail you receive and the amount of wasted paper coming into your home. Stopping credit card junk mail also prevents identity theft. For example, if you don't shred the credit card offers and applications before throwing them away, it's possible a thief could steal the application from the trash, mail it in, and intercept the card. 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 credit bureau prescreening. The credit card issuer sends a request to the credit bureaus asking for a list of consumers who meet specific criteria. The card company sends out credit card offers based on that list. If you're one of the potential borrowers that meet the criteria, you would likely receive a credit card offer. The mailing process is perfectly legal, so complaining to a government agency won't fix your problem.
How to Opt Out of Credit Card Offers
Fortunately, federal law gives you the right to opt out of credit card prescreening. You can visit www.optoutprescreen.com or call 1-888-5OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688) to remove your name from prescreened lists for a certain number of years or indefinitely. By opting out, you're telling the credit bureaus that you don't want your information sold to credit card companies.
In order to opt out, you'll need to provide your name and address 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.
Please note that opting out of credit card offers doesn't affect your credit score. You can also opt in again by calling or visiting the website if you'd like to receive credit offers in the future.
Stop Credit Card 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 need.
You can stop telemarketers from contacting you by registering with the National Do Not Call Registry. The registry is free and eliminates all the telemarketing calls you receive, 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 or by calling 1-888-382-1222 from the number you want to register. For example, if you want to register your cell phone, call from your cell phone.
Note that this doesn't apply to calls from your existing credit card issuers related to existing accounts.
Stop Emails From Credit Card Companies
With so many scammers on the internet, it's difficult to determine whether a credit card offer you receive via email is legitimate. Even if you're interested in the credit card, you shouldn't apply for it by clicking the email. It could be a phishing scam to get your personal information.
You can reduce credit card spam by increasing the spam filters on your email account. Marking the offers as spam can "teach" 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 making it to your inbox.
Some Mail May Fall Through the Cracks
While the process outlined above should stop the majority of unsolicited credit card mail, it won't eliminate them completely. 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 prescreening process may still send offers to you. However, following the steps outlined in this article to opt out of credit card offers will eliminate the bulk of your credit card offers via email and regular mail.