A question came into me last week from "Ray":
I was talking with a (major bank rep) yesterday doing a little research about their business services and he said something interesting but I am skeptical about. Maybe you know about this. We were talking about personal credit and he said that a person could improve their FICO by 20-30 points just by opting out of credit offers. Now I have known about the national opt out at www.optoutprescreen.com and there are a few other sites you can do the same thing. I think even the FTC has a site or a phone number.
Have you ever heard that by doing this you could increase your credit score? The bank rep was saying that because a person does not want credit offers that factors in to the credit score. I am skeptical about this because every thing that I have read about that factors in to a FICO had never mentioned the opt out. I opted out just to see what happens as well as my wife. So I am testing this and I thought I would ask you if you knew any thing or have heard any thing like this before.
The question seemed vaguely familiar, and it likely was something I had heard before, because when I checked with Craig Watts, spokesperson at MyFICO, he told me they have received the same question recently as well. Clearly it’s one of those credit boosting gimmicks that is floating around.
First, OptOutPrescreen.com is the official government mandated site for blocking your files from marketing offers, including credit cards, and those highly annoying mortgage trigger lead lists. I do recommend opting out as a good safety precaution, and to save a few trees. Craig confirmed my understanding, however, that opting out in and of itself will not help your credit score. The FICO score doesn’t even know, much less take into account, the fact that you have opted out.
Craig did point out that the highest scores tend to go to consumers who use credit, but do so conservatively and responsibly. So in that sense, opting out means you get fewer offers, and in turn, may mean you open fewer account, which can help your score in the long run.
I have heard so many stories of bank reps, mortgage lenders and others giving out wrong credit advice, it’s word to the wise to be careful whom you listen to!
What credit myths are you curious about? If you don’t find the answers here, the experts at Creditbloggers.com would love to sleuth out the truth for you!
– Personal finance author, radio host and credit expert. Gerri
contributes budgeting, debt recovery and savings information online.