Finance Globe

U.S. financial and economic topics from several finance writers.
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Reduce Your Credit Card Junk Mail

Tired of tossing credit card offers every time you check the mail? There’s way to stop most credit card offers temporarily or even permanently.

Background on Pre-Approved Credit Card Offers

For many of their prescreened credit card offers, credit card issuers use lists from credit bureaus. Credit card issuers ask the bureau to send a list of consumers who meet certain criteria, perhaps those with a certain amount of debt or those with a specific number of credit accounts. From that list, the credit card issuer decides who to send credit card offers to.

Fortunately, those credit report inquiries used to send prescreened credit card offers don’t affect your credit score. They’re soft pulls and you’re the only person who sees them. Other businesses that check your credit report won’t know your credit report has been pulled for prescreening purposes.

If you decide to apply for a credit card, the card issuer will do a “hard” pull. That will show up on your credit report and could affect your credit score since inquiries are 10% of your credit score. Just because you’ve been pre-approved or pre-selected doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed approval. You can still be turned down after the credit does a closer look at your credit and your finances.

How to Opt-Out

Four bureaus – Equifax, Experian, Innovis, and TransUnion – have a special website set up to allow you to opt-out and keep your name off these lists. Optoutprescreen.com lets you opt-out of credit card offers for five years. During that time, you won’t receive credit card offers from companies who’ve asked for lists from any of those credit bureaus. You can also opt-out permanently, but you’ll have to download a form and mail it in.

Loopholes and Changing Your Mind

You could still receive credit card offers even though you’ve opted-out. Credit card issuers don’t always send credit card offers based on lists from credit bureaus. Some issuers send offers based on other accounts you may have with that bank. For example, if you have a checking or savings account with a bank that also issues credit cards, you may get credit card offers from that bank.

Opting-out won’t keep you from getting a credit card. But you’ll have to search for the best credit card since credit card issuers can’t solicit you.

Also, opting-out doesn’t have to be forever. You might want to opt-in again to shop for credit card offers, for example, if you want to see if you may qualify for something better than what you already have. If you change your mind and want to opt-in again, you can revisit optoutprescreen.com.

Source: Federal Trade Commission
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Saturday, 19 October 2019

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