Home > Credit Cards > How to Stop Getting Credit Card Offers in the Mail

Comments 1 Comment

Would you like to stop companies from selling your financial information for marketing purposes? If you could eliminate junk mail and save millions of trees per year, would you?

Ask 10 people, and you’ll probably get as many volunteers. Why, then, have so few Americans opted out of pre-approved financial offers?

I think it’s because consumers aren’t sure of the answers to three questions. First, why should I care about opting out? Second, how do I do it? Third, will opting out impact my credit score, overall financial situation or ability to apply for credit cards?

Caring, awareness and trust — that’s what it boils down to.

Why Opting Out Can Be a Good Thing

So let’s go over why you should care about opting out and how to do it.

First, there are both selfish and selfless reasons to opt out. On the selfish side, companies are selling your financial data — Social Security number, address, payment history and more — to marketers who, in turn, use your information to solicit you as a potential new customer.

On the selfless side, there are billions of pieces of junk mail sent every year. Collectively, junk mail is estimated to cost Mother Earth more than 100 million trees each year. Opting out does us all a favor.

Next, you should know that opting out out takes less than five minutes and can be done online. The government requires the sellers of your financial data — the major credit reporting agencies — to provide a mechanism that allows you to opt out of pre-approved junk mail. That’s why a website called Optoutprescreen.com was created.

How to Opt Out

Optoutprescreen.com is a website provided by four major credit reporting agencies — Equifax, Experian, TransUnion and Innovis — that allows consumers to opt out of receiving credit card offers by mail. The site is approved by the Federal Trade Commission.

So if you care about opting out, now you know how to do it. Next up: trust. Although Optoutprescreen does request personal data, such as your Social Security number (which it encrypts), it does not require all of it. The only required fields are first name, last name and current address. Optoutprescreen states that providing the other information will help the credit reporting bureaus process your request. (Full disclosure, Wisely, the company I own, has its own opt out tool. We forward data directly to Optoutprescreen, but we do not require that the user enters unnecessary information, for example, your Social Security number.)

Opting Out and Your Credit

Last, people may wonder if opting out will help their credit. There have long been rumors that opting out will actually improve your credit score. That’s not so. Opting out has no effect on your credit score or other aspects of your finances. Also, opting out has no effect on your ability to apply or be approved for credit cards.

Image: Tetra images

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

  • Pingback: Tuesday’s need-to-know money news | Ask Liz Weston()

  • fedupreddhed

    I was really excited when I got on your site but I’m still going to look for a safe site that is the online version of the no-call list.. However the last time I re-upped on no-call I got a flood of calls so I’m thinking companies just use it as a “shopping list”. Til then I’ll keep my shredder and caller ID really busy!!

Certain credit cards and other financial products mentioned in this and other articles on Credit.com News & Advice may also be offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com will be compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards or products. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Our Owners

Credit.com is owned by Progrexion Holdings Inc. which is the owner and administrator of a number of business related to credit and credit repair, including CreditRepair.com, and eFolks. In addition, Progrexion also provides services to Lexington Law Firm as a third party provider. Despite being owned by Progrexion, it is not the role of the Credit.com editorial team to advocate the use of the company’s other services. In articles, reporters may mention credit repair as an option, for example, but we’ll also be sure to note the various alternatives to that service. Furthermore, you may see ads for credit repair services on Credit.com, but the editorial team isn’t responsible for the creation or implementation of those ads, anymore than reporters for the New York Times or Washington Post are responsible for the ads on their sites.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team