They’re annoying. They waste paper and time. They’re credit card offers. And if you’re like any other American you probably see these more often than not. Sometimes it’s for credit card balance transfers, sometimes it’s for lower APRs. Either way seeing the phase “You’ve Been Pre-Approved” in your mail time and time again can get pretty irritating. Not only that, but if a criminal stole your mail they could have access pre-qualified credit card applications which could be sent in and intercepted when the card arrives. The good news is there is a way to stop these from coming to your house for up to 5 years.
Where do These Offers Come From?
The source is actually the companies that provide credit scores. Their network collects information when your credit is pulled and broadcasts that to a bunch of credit companies who then swirl around your wallet/purse like vultures. After I had taken out a loan to buy a car last year I was inundated with credit card offers within a week. TransUnion, Equifax, Innovis, and Experian collectively share information with each other and other companies. After a little research, turns out there is something called a “trigger lead” where when you apply for credit or a loan these companies are notified and they start to send your information to 3rd parties. They even communicate the type of loan. For instance if you had your credit pulled to buy a car but did not buy, there is a company, Dealer Link, that will try to “make the conversion”.
How Can I Stop This?
The major credit rating companies listed above have formed a website that will allow you to opt-out of these offers for up to 5 years. The website, Opt-Out Prescreen allows you to submit your information (they may require your SSN) and have your address removed from this junk mail. I did this last year and I have not gotten an offer since (it’s completely free by the way)! If you do it online or over the phone you can opt-out for 5 years, they require you to write a letter to make it permanent.
Is This Website Legitimate?
From their FAQ:
“OptOutPrescreen.com is the only internet website authorized by Equifax, Experian, Innovis and TransUnion for consumers to Opt-Out of firm offers of credit or insurance. You may request to Opt-Out from firm offer lists for 5 years or permanently. If you have previously completed a request to Opt-Out from receiving firm offers and would like to Opt-In, you may also complete your request on this website. Consumers should not provide their personal information to any other company or person in connection with requesting Opt-Out services under the Fair Credit Reporting Act”.
Whether you applied for a loan or a credit card and you are sick of all the bulk mail related to credit and loan offers, you have an option to stop it.
What if I Miss Out on the Credit Deal of a Lifetime?
In short, you won’t. I could go a tangent about why you should not even have a credit card if you unable to pay it off in full each month, but I’ll spare you. In the mean time there is a very helpful website called Nerd Wallet (not an affiliate link) that allows you to screen pretty much every credit card for points, rewards, balance transfers and other perks.