How Do I Stop Credit Card Offers from Littering My Mailbox?

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I unknowingly conducted an experiment two years ago. My husband and I love to travel, and I wanted to sign onto one of those credit card offers that gives you free airfare. As the weeks and months went by, signing up for an offer took the back burner to other important things in my life. Even though I didn’t take the time to fill one of these offers out, I knew that it was something I wanted to do. So as each offer came in the mail, I added it to a stack on my desk. The pile grew rather quickly and became a bit unwieldy. I was so amazed with how many offers were coming through the door that I decided to see how many credit card offers would pass through my mailbox in a span of two years.

The number came to 52.

That’s right; an amazing 52 credit card offers (approximately one every other week) showed up in my mailbox over the course of two years.

Most of the offers were unwanted, and all of them were a waste of paper. At the end of this experiment, I decided it was time to look into putting a stop to the junk mail.

Why Do So Many Credit Card Offers Come through the Mail?

First of all, I wanted to find out why people (me included) receive so many pre-screened and pre-approved credit card offers. After all, it’s not like I have ever filled out an application online for one.

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There are three main US Credit Bureaus: TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. Thanks to the Fair Credit Reporting Act of 1970, these agencies are allowed to sell your credit history information—name, address, employer, open credit lines and amounts, payment history, etc.—to credit lending institutions. This creates a perfect situation for credit lending companies who want to take this data and target specific, credit-worthy consumers (so I guess we should take it as a positive sign that we received 52 offers!).

How to Stop the Flow of Credit Card Offers through Your Mailbox

If you are also “blessed” with lots of credit card offers that you are not interested in receiving, then there is a way to stop the flow through your mailbox. With the amendment of the Fair Credit Reporting Act in 1990, consumers were given a choice to opt out of solicitations. This is completed by directing Credit Reporting Agencies to exclude your name and address from lists provided to credit lending companies.

You are given two choices in regards to opting out of pre-approved and pre-screened credit card offers: either opt out of them for five years, or opt out of them permanently.

  • To Opt Out for Five Years: You can either call the number 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688) or visit OptOutPrescreen.com.

  • To Opt Out Permanently: You can also start the process of permanent opt-out through OptOutPrescreen.com. However, you need to print the application out, sign it, and send it in. If you do not happen to have the internet, then you can request an application through the mail. In the time between when you initiate this process and when you return the form to the designated address, you will automatically be opted into the 5-year list removal

It was great finding out that there is a way to stop these types of mailings. However, choosing to have your name removed from the lists used for pre-approved and pre-screened solicitations does not mean you will never receive another credit card offer again. It just means that you will not receive a credit card offer that is based on the credit records maintained by the Credit Reporting Agencies. In order to stop solicitations from other places, you will need to write them individually to request your name and address to be taken off of their list.

If you’ve already succumbed to the lure of credit cards and are ready to work your way out of their grip, try using our free online debt repayment tool and browse this blog for more great tips on getting out of debt.

Image Credit tanakawho

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  • http://www.color-me-frugal.com/ Dee

    We chose to opt out permanently a couple years ago. We also managed to get off catalog mailing lists using http://www.catalogchoice.org and another site. Your readers may be interested to check out a post that I wrote about it at http://color-me-frugal.com/2013/11/03/save-money-and-time-by-declaring-war-on-junk-mail. The decrease in the amount of mail that we receive has been dramatic! And the bonus is that it now takes way less time to go through our mail, which is awesome.

    • http://www.twitter.com/bwfeldman Benjamin Feldman

      Great! Thanks for the resources. These will be helpful for our readers. I’m glad your incoming mail has been reduced!

  • https://steamcommunity.com/id/m-p-3 m-p{3}

    Just curious, are you aware if such opt-out service exists for Canadians up there?

    • http://www.twitter.com/bwfeldman Benjamin Feldman

      I would be surprised if there is not a similar opt-out program in Canada, but I can’t find any information about. Maybe if you contact your local government office they can help you find out?

  • Bob

    It give me great pleasure to fold every thing up and put it back into the postage paid envelope and send it all back to them. The business reply mail postage is more expensive and I don’t have to deal with the recycling. They are definitely slowing down.

    • http://www.twitter.com/bwfeldman Benjamin Feldman

      That’s an interesting idea! Thanks for your comment.

  • http://www.doctorofcredit.com/ doctorofcredit

    You should also opt out of the DMA, otherwise you’re still going to get a lot of mailings.