I didn't know it, but since December 2004 all the major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, Innovis and TransUnion) have hosted optoutprescreen.com, a website which will allow you to stop the credit card junk mail. Credit reporting agencies make money by selling your information to credit card companies through a process called prescreening. If you meet certain requirements (usually credit score) then you are pre-approved for various credit card offers. This is where all the credit card junk mail comes from. This is the purpose of the opt-out website:
"Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the Consumer Credit Reporting Companies are permitted to include your name on lists used by creditors or insurers to make firm offers of credit or insurance that are not initiated by you ("Firm Offers"). The FCRA also provides you the right to "Opt-Out", which prevents Consumer Credit Reporting Companies from providing your credit file information for Firm Offers."
Opting-out of credit card offers will not help your credit score because "firm offers" made through the prescreening process are not used in calculating scores. It may indirectly help your score if you have a tendency to apply for every new credit card offer that comes in. Removing your name from the list will also not affect your ability to apply for credit. Are there any advantages to receiving prescreened offers? The credit reporting agencies put their positive spin on the credit card junk mail:
- Consumers are provided with product choices
- Consumers learn about and have an opportunity to take advantage of offers that may not be available to the general public
- Firm offers help consumers to “comparison shop”, which may increase a consumer’s buying power.
If you are interested in opting out of these prescreened offers you can do so here:
Thanks for the tip Lending Club. Has anyone used this website to stop credit card junk mail? Does anyone prefer to continue to receive these offers?