You might feel like your mailbox is filled with unsolicited ads. There might be sales ads, an occasional bill or a letter letting you know that you qualify for a credit card that you have no interest in opening.
That’s because credit card companies often send credit card offers to consumers with good to excellent credit scores. The idea that credit card companies find you interesting could be flattering, but it can also be overwhelming.
The good news is that there are ways to control those credit card offers and give your mailbox a break. Here’s what you need to know about dealing with a lot of credit card offers.
What it means when you keep getting credit card offers
If you keep receiving credit card offers in the mail, it’s likely that you have a good or excellent credit score. Unsolicited credit card offers essentially say, “We see you have good credit and we think you would like this offer.”
These companies can get your information in two ways. Either you have done business with them in the past, or they have been given your information by credit score companies. These offers are typically prescreens, but if you decide to take the offer, you still have to apply for the card itself.
How does credit card prescreening work?
Thanks to the Fair Reporting Credit Act, the three credit bureaus of Experian, Equifax and TransUnion can give your information to a list of creditors, as long as you meet specific criteria. In most cases, when you receive a credit card offer, there will be additional benefits that are designed to incentivize you into accepting the offer.
The credit card company must provide you with this offer if you decide to act, as long as you do so within the allotted time frame. As such, sometimes, these offers have an expiration date.
Being pre-screened is a great way to learn about credit card products and take advantage of benefits that have been tailored to you. Still, a major downside is that these companies are using your personal data in a way you probably were aware of in the first place.
Do prescreened credit card offers affect your credit score?
Getting multiple random credit card offers can be alarming. It might make you feel as though creditors are constantly checking your credit score.
Though it can feel a bit intrusive, prescreened credit card offers have no effect on your credit score. Prescreened offers are considered a soft inquiry on your credit.
These types of inquiries are only visible to you when you view your own credit report. If you run your credit report, you will see the name of the companies that obtained your information. Again, this information is only visible to you, so it should not impact your ability to be approved for other credit-related tools.
How to stop getting credit card offers
The process of stopping credit card offers is not terribly complex. You will have three options, including calling, mailing in a request or filling out a form online. If you choose to opt out by phone, simply call 888-5-OPT-OUT or 888-567-8688.
When you call this number, you will be asked to provide them with your name, address, Social Security number and date of birth. If you choose to opt out online, you can visit www.optoutprescreen.com.
Once you open the website, scroll to the bottom of the page and press the “Click Here To Opt In or Opt Out” option. From there, complete the form on your screen. Choosing either option will remove you from the position of receiving unwanted credit card offers for five years.
However, suppose you want to stop receiving offers altogether. In that case, you will need to complete the Notice of Election to Opt Out form. Make sure you sign it and send it via U.S. mail to the following address:
P.O. Box 530200
Atlanta, GA 30353
When you opt out by phone, this letter will be automatically mailed to you. If you choose to opt out online, you can print the form out and send it in at your earliest convenience. Last but not least, if you opt out, you can expect the offers to stop in a few weeks.
Benefits of credit card offers
Though these offers can be overwhelming, credit card offers do offer certain benefits.
Multiple credit cards can boost your credit score
When you have a high amount of available credit, it can be a great way to boost your credit score. This can unfold in a few ways, like having a card with a higher limit or having multiple cards.
The key here is your available credit limit. Try to keep your credit utilization ratio low, with the goal being less than 30% so that you have available credit when you need it most.
They can give you access to credit card perks and benefits
Promotional credit card offers can provide access to excellent perks and benefits. This is typically as a result of wanting to grab the attention of new customers or get existing customers interested in new products.
Some credit card perks can include an introductory 0% APR, extra bonus points for signing up and a waived annual fee. If you were considering the idea of opening a new credit card, these benefits might be the extra push you needed to finally sign up.
You’ll have emergency purchasing power
Surprises can happen to even the most financially secure individuals. If you find yourself in a pinch, a prescreened credit card offer that arrives in the mail might come at just the right time.
While taking advantage of perks and benefits associated with credit cards, you might also use the credit card to pay off an emergency expense. Once the emergency is paid off, consider keeping the new card just for emergencies in the future, as long as that makes the most sense for you.
The application processes are easy
With prescreened credit cards, you’ve already been screened, so the application process is relatively easy. Most offers will include a number that you can call, a website you can visit and a code related to your credit card offer, all of which help to ensure that you receive the advertised benefits of the credit card.
Downsides of credit card offers
While there are benefits, credit card offers can also come with disadvantages.
You may be tempted to spend more than you can afford
Credit card offers can seem really appealing at face value. And maybe the credit card offer came just as you were considering the idea of making a large purchase.
Though it might feel like confirmation that you should make the purchase, you also might be tempted to bite off more than you can chew financially as a result of the credit card. So, consider if the new credit card will make you spend more than you should before you accept the offer.
It could be difficult to keep track of statements
If you accept every new credit card offer that you receive, it might be hard for you to track each of your cards. It can seem simple to open the card, use it once and forget about it.
However, you may risk the possibility of missing out on statements and essential credit card information. For example, what if the new card you opened but never used has an annual fee?
It might be challenging to keep up with every payment due date or all of the different ways to make a payment for each card. So, try to only open as many credit cards as you can reasonably and sustainably manage.
Your personal information may be at risk
Credit card offers usually come from legitimate sources, but they can also leave you vulnerable to fraud. If you receive an unwanted credit card offer, make sure you shred it. Properly disposing of your credit card offers can help you protect your personal information, therefore helping to lower your risk of unwanted exposure in terms of your personal information.
Can unwanted mail be good?
Receiving an unsolicited credit card offer in the mail can be a good thing. It is a chance to benefit from great credit card benefits, potentially boost your credit score and receive emergency purchasing power.
These offers are also an indication that your credit is appealing to creditors. It is important to remember that these offers can tempt you to spend more money and put your information at risk.
Fortunately, you have options if you want to stop the offers permanently. Ultimately, make sure you choose the best option for your personal finances.
Why am I being offered a higher credit limit?
When you update your income, your current credit card company might offer you a higher credit limit, which is usually a sign that things are going well in terms of your finances.
Can I throw away credit card offers?
It is best practice to shred your credit card offers or properly dispose of them in order to protect your private information.
What does it mean when you keep getting credit card offers?
Receiving credit card offers in the mail is typically a sign that you have a good or excellent credit score. The credit bureaus provide your information to creditors, who will reach out to you if you meet their qualifications, hence the credit card offers.