Pre-approved credit card offers can be great, sometimes you’ll receive a targeted offer that is much higher than the highest public credit card offer. They can also be particularly annoying, especially when a card issuer is constantly sending you offers for sub-prime cards, even though you have a high enough score to get approved for the premium credit cards on the market. It can also be frustrating to receive offers when you’re trying to not apply for new cards to help improve your credit score before a big purchase (e.g a mortgage or auto loan).
Opting out is also a good idea if you want to save the environment. If you have no intention on signing up for any of the offers then it’s a waste of paper and printing resources.
Fortunately you can opt out from receiving these offers. You have two choices:
- Opt out for a period of five years
- Opt out forever
How To Opt Out
All of the numbers and websites below are for the official opt out registry which is operated by the three major consumer reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian & TransUnion) and Innovis (another major consumer reporting agency that most people aren’t familiar with). These agencies are required to process your request under the FCRA.
Once your request is received companies have a period of five days to process your request. You can still receive offers after this period as credit card companies may have already received your information, but not mailed out the request.
If you opt via phone you can only do so for a period of five years
- Call 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688)
The website is safe for entering data, it has been endorsed by the FTC.
- Go to www.optoutprescreen.com, you can opt out for a period of five years directly on the website. If you want to opt out permanently you’ll need to fill out Permanent Opt-Out Election form which is provided on the website and then mail it in.
You’ll need to opt out with all three of the major bureaus seperately if you’re doing so by post. Make sure you include the following information in your letter: home telephone number, name, Social Security number, and date of birth. This will only opt you out for a period of five years. Use this sample letter.
P.O. Box 919
Allen, TX 75013
Name Removal Option
P.O. Box 505
Woodlyn, PA 19094
P.O. Box 740123
Atlanta, GA 30374
Innovis Consumer Assistance
P.O. Box 495
Pittsburgh, PA 15230
What Does Opting Out Actually Do?
Opting out prevents credit card issuers from accessing your credit report for the purposes of seeing if you’d be approved for a credit card offer. It also prevents them from getting a list of possible customers from the credit bureau. You can still receive credit card offers, it’s just that card issuers can no longer gleam information from the credit bureaus.
How Can I Opt Out Completely?
It’s not possible to opt out 100%. You can also request that Direct Mailers Associate members do not send you any direct mail by heading to https://www.dmachoice.org/ and completing the form. You can also opt out via mail:
Direct Marketing Association
P.O. Box 643
Carmel, NY 10512
Although you’ll need to pay a $1 processing fee to do so.
F.A.Q’s About Opting Out
Does it affect my credit score?
Opting out has no affect on your credit score what so ever.
If I opt out, can I still received targeted offers online?
There are lots of ways to receive targeted offers online. If you opt out of mailed out credit card offers you can still use these online sources to see if you have any offers, but there will usually be a lot less available (if any at all) as the credit card companies have not been able to pull your credit report to see if you are pre-qualified/approved.
I’m still receiving card offers, what now?
You can still receive credit card offers if you’ve previously been a customer of the card issuer before or if the card issuer is using a source other than one of the credit bureaus to get their data. Your best bet is to opt out of the DMA (see above for details) or contact the card issuer directly.