I get so many credit offers in the mail and I'm sick of it! In today's episode I will walk you through how to put a stop to stop those credit card offers.
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The Problem with Random Credit Card Offers in the Mail
I don't want them. If I really wanted a credit card, I would go online, and I would go apply for one. I don't need them to send me random offers in the mail that I didn't ask for.
It's wasteful. It's a lot of just paper that's just showing up, that I'm just going to shred and throw in the trash, or at least try to recycle in some way. I don't know how much paper they're wasting, but my guess would be way too much.
And lastly, it's just not a safe practice. Identity theft is a real thing, and I really don't want just random credit card offers sitting in my mailbox waiting for somebody to take.
How Do I Stop Credit Card Offers?
So when I found out that I could stop these offers from showing up at my house, I was all over it. I was like, “What do I need to do? Where do I go, because I want to stop this from showing up at my house?”
And that's when I found out about optoutprescreen.com. This is a site that was created as a result of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which was passed in 1970. This law was passed in order to regulate the collection of our credit information and who has access to our reports. And a right that we gained as a result of this law was the ability to opt out of these firm offers, or prescreened credit card offers, that you probably see in your mailbox as frequently as I did.
Why Do I get These Credit Card Offers in the Mail?
There are a couple ways that credit and insurance companies get our information in order to send us these credit card offers in the mail. One method is that they may have a set of criteria that they're looking for in a potential customer. They send this list of criteria to the credit agencies and say, “Hey, send us a list of people that meet this criteria.”
Another way that they may decide to reach out to you is by taking a list of people that they already want to reach out to, and send it to the credit bureaus and say, “Which of these people actually qualify for our offer?”. Regardless of why they found you, going to optoutprescreen.com is your one way of actually getting your name taken off of this list.
Opting Out of Prescreened Credit Card Offers
So as I mentioned, this site was created as a result of the Fair Credit Reporting Act of 1970. It is the only site authorized by all four credit bureaus, Equifax, TransUnion, Experian and the little known Innovis. On optoutprescreen.com, there are two options that you can take. When requesting to have our name removed from these lists that are sent out for prequalified offers.
5 Year Opt Out
You can request to have your name removed from this list for a period of five years. This can be done electronically, directly through their website. Once you submit your request, it will be processed within five days. Once the five year period is up, your name will be returned to the list. Congratulations, you will again be eligible to receive these offers in the mail.
Permanent Opt Out
Your other option is to permanently opt out of receiving these prescreened offers. This is permanent on their side, but you can request to be placed back on the list at any time. Maybe you miss getting so much mail. The one difference in the process when you request to permanently opt out is that you do actually have to print out a physical form, sign it and mail it back to them. This is a requirement of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
In addition to printing, signing, and mailing in the physical form, you do still have to complete the online application. When you complete the online form, you're automatically placed on the five year opt-out list after the five day waiting period.
This gives you some relief before you mail out the form. I suggest you do it right away. At least you know you'll be opted out even if it takes you a little while to mail that form back in.
My Experience Opting Out of Credit Offers
I went through this process about three months ago. I have seen a drastic decrease in the amount of credit card offers that I've receive in the mail. It is mentioned on optoutprescreen.com that it may take some time before you see a drastic decrease in the amount of mail that you receive. I can attest to this because it did take several weeks before I saw a dramatic decrease in the amount of credit card offers that I received in the mail.
The reason for this is your name may have already been recently provided to companies interested in sending you these offers in the mail prior to your opt out request being processed. This isn't a guarantee that all credit card offers will stop showing up. Not all companies use the credit reporting agencies to determine if they would like to send you a promotional offer in the mail.
Do I Have to Provide My Social Security Number to Opt Out?
No, you do not have to provide them with your Social Security number in order to opt out. However, on optoutprescreen.com they do mention that your social does help them ensure that they're able to process your request correctly. So it's up to you how much information you would like to provide .
Reach out to me over on Instagram @PopcornFinancePodcast, on Twitter @PopcornFinance, or over on Facebook and let me know, how much junk mail are you receiving? Are you getting a lot of credit card offers in the mail? I know I was getting a ton. Are you bothered by it? Do you hate it? Do you not even notice it and you just shred it or throw it in the trash? I want to know how this issue affects you, because it was something that bothered me so much.
List of Sources for Today's Episode
What are prescreened offers? – https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0148-prescreened-credit-and-insurance-offers
The Fair Credit Reporting Act – https://www.investopedia.com/terms/f/fair-credit-reporting-act-fcra.asp