Wouldn’t it be nice if your mailbox only held the things you wanted it to, like letters from friends, invitations or packages from your latest online shopping adventure? While these things may still be showing up in your mailbox, there’s also probably the occasional bill or junk mail that slips in there too. And what about those credit card offers? Well, if you’d like to eliminate them, there is a way to opt out of mailed credit card offers.
How Do I Stop Credit Card Offers From Arriving in the Mail?
Opting out from having pre-approved credit card offers show up in your mailbox is fairly simple. All you have to do is visit www.optoutprescreen.com and fill out the requested information, or call 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688).
Before you do this, you need to decide how long you want to opt out of receiving these offers — you have two choices. You can either opt out permanently or for five years. If you decide to go for the shorter period of time, you can do so via the website or the phone number listed above. These opt-out requests are typically processed within five business days.
If you decide you want to opt out permanently, you can get the form on the website listed above. After you fill out the online request, you will get a form that you are required to print, sign and mail in order to verify you truly want to opt out permanently. Once you opt out, it may take a month or two before you notice a difference in your mail.
If you’d rather do all of this by mail, you can send a written request to opt out to each of the credit reporting agencies. With your request, be sure to include your full name, home telephone number, address, date of birth and Social Security number. This information is used to make sure they’re opting out the correct person.
What Are Pre-Screened Credit Card Mailings?
Credit card companies spend millions each year on pre-screened credit card mailings in the hopes of landing new customers. The card companies purchase pre-screened lists of consumer names from the credit reporting agencies, based on minimum credit scores and other criteria.
If your name is on the list, that means you have the credit characteristics a credit card company is looking for. However, just because you get a credit card offer in the mail that says you’ve been “pre-approved” does not mean that you will be officially approved for the credit card when you apply. You could still be rejected for the credit card being offered.
Why Would I Opt Out of Credit Card Offers?
Whether you’re just tired of getting all these items in the mail, want to help save paper and benefit the environment, or simply know you aren’t in the market for a new credit card or insurance policy (and won’t be for a while), there are many reasons you may want to opt out.
Before you opt out, it’s good to make sure you’re doing so for the right reasons and to do your research ahead of time. And remember, you can always opt back in — to do so, just call the number listed above or go online and request that your name be added back to these lists.
What Lists Will I Be Removed From?
Once you’ve opted out, you will no longer receive offers where you’ve been pre-approved or pre-screened for credit cards or insurance. This will not opt you out of Direct Mail Association (DMA) lists or any local mailers. To eliminate these from showing up in your mailbox, you’ll need to contact each one individually.
Will This Affect My Credit?
Opting out of mailed credit card offers will not harm your credit or affect your ability to get credit (or insurance) in any way.
It’s also important to know that remaining on these lists won’t hurt your credit scores either. However, if you review your credit reports, which you should do on a regular basis, you may notice inquiries prompted by these pre-screening offers. These are considered soft inquiries, and will not have a negative effect on your credit scores or damage your credit reports.
If you decide you want to get a new credit card, it’s always a good idea to review your credit first. This way, you’ll get a better idea of the types of cards you may qualify for. You can see two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com. Once you know your credit scores, you can shop for credit cards with the APR, rewards or other card benefits that you wish.
Lucy Lazarony also contributed to this article.