How often have you checked your mail or answered your phone only to find another prescreened credit card offer?
Blank envelopes and phone calls from unnamed phone numbers may seem like official notifications. More often than not, answering these notices leads you to find yet another offer claiming that you have been prescreened for a new line of credit.
These communications can be frustrating and even overwhelming at times. Thankfully, if you’re tired of managing these endless requests and notices, there is a way to opt out of credit card offers. Keep reading to learn how a simple phone call or form can help you stop credit card offers coming in the mail or to your phone.
What is a Prescreened Credit Card Offer?
Credit card companies often send out offers of new credit to potential customers through letters in the mail, unsolicited phone calls, or emails. These offers typical claim that you have been prescreened or preapproved, for a new line of credit.
These offers are based on information found in your credit history. Creditors will create a list of criteria to identify potential new customers. Then they turn to consumer reporting companies and request a list of consumers who meet their criteria. If your name is on that list, you will then be considered prescreened or preapproved.
Credit card companies are not the only ones who can take advantage of this pre-screening. Insurance companies can also use this process to find new policyholders. They may send offers through the same channels to try to entice you to switch to their services.
If you already have enough credit lines (or maybe you have too many credit cards) it may be worth your while to fill out a form or make a call to opt out of the prescreening process and stop credit card offers.
How to Opt Out of Credit Card Offers
The Consumer Credit Reporting Industry has created a way for consumers to opt out of receiving prescreened offers. You can choose to not receive calls, emails, or letters forever or for the next five years.
There are three ways to do this:
- Call 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688)
- Visit www.optoutprescreen.com
- Send a written request to the major consumer credit reporting companies
If you choose to opt-out permanently, you will be required to mail in a Permanent Opt-Out Election form. This form must be printed, signed, and mailed to the address provided.
If you’re planning on sending a written request to the major consumer credit reporting companies, you can address your letters to the following:
P.O. Box 919
Allen, TX 75013
Name Removal Option
P.O. Box 505
Woodlyn, PA 19094
P.O. Box 740123
Atlanta, GA 30374
Innovis Consumer Assistance
P.O. Box 495
Pittsburgh, PA 15230
Remember, opting out of prescreened credit card offers does not stop all unsolicited junk mail. This type of credit card opt out only stops letters and calls that come due to your credit status, not from companies that don’t pre-screen your credit.
Pros and Cons of Prescreened Credit Card Offers
Pros: Opt Out of Credit Card Offers
There are a number of benefits that come from opting out of credit card offers:
- Less junk mail. Most unsolicited credit and insurance offers go straight into the trash or fill up your inbox. Opting out will keep your trash can and trash folder empty.
- Fewer Phone Calls. No one likes to answer the phone 10 times a day. Opting out will help cut back on the number of unsolicited phone calls offers for new credit lines.
- Identity Protection. Throwing junk mail into the garbage may provide identity thieves exactly what they need to fill out a credit card offer in your name. Opting out can secure your mail and your identity stays safe and secure.
- Less access to your credit information. Although determining if you fit a creditor’s criteria does not have a direct effect on your credit, you may prefer to keep your financial information private. Opting out will keep creditors and insurers from accessing your credit file.
Cons: Opt Out of Credit Card Offers
While the idea of getting less junk mail may seem appealing, there are cons to opting out of the prescreening process:
- The Offers May Be Valuable. If you are in the market for new insurance or a new credit card, the prescreened offers might offer you better rates than what you can apply for elsewhere.
- You Are More Likely to Be Approved. If you have a questionable credit history, you may not be approved for new lines when you need them. Prescreened offers may be your best option.
- Prescreened Offers Count As “Soft Inquiries”. When creditors access your information for prescreening, it does not count as an inquiry against your credit. This means that you can actively look for new credit lines without harming your credit score.
Is Applying For A New Credit Line Right For You?
If you’re in the market for a new credit card, you may be looking for a way to help with debts you already struggle with. Talk to our credit coaches today for expert advice on how to manage your credit and debt and make strides to taking control of your financial security.