I love answering reader questions! It’s a great way to keep track of the credit and personal finance questions that are on your mind. We recently received this message from a reader named Josh:
Does an inquiry from a pre-approved offer in the mail lower my credit score much?
Good news! Inquiries from pre-approved offers are called "promotional inquiries" and do not harm your credit score at all. These inquires will only appear on a disclosure credit report ordered through www.annualcreditreport.com or in response to a denial for credit. Standard, retail credit reports don’t show these inquiries.
If you apply for a pre-approved offer you receive, your credit will be checked again. This time as a "hard inquiry" that could take a few points from your credit score. Keep in mind that pre-approval is not a guarantee that you’ll be approved for the account. The creditor will take a closer look at your credit and finances before their final decision.
You can stop credit card marketers from sending you pre-approved offers in the mail and save a few trees by calling 1-888-5-OPT-OUT or going online to www.optoutprescreen.com. Next question? Send your money and credit questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.