I don’t know anyone — except direct mail copywriters, maybe — who actually like junk mail. Sometimes, you’ll get good credit card offers through the mail but, for the most part, you’re just aiding and abetting in the murder of trees. And don’t get me started on how many hours the average person spends sorting, shredding and disposing of credit card junk mail.
Honestly, if you’re looking for a new credit card — perhaps to transfer balances from higher interest cards — you’re better off reading the reviews here at CreditShout and picking the best one for your needs.
The good news about credit card junk mail? Unsolicited offers for new credit cards do not show up as inquiries on any of your credit reports. That only makes them slightly less of a hassle, though.
If you’re not in the market for a new credit card (for instance, you just bought a house and couldn’t get one if you wanted to), credit card junk mail is an even bigger annoyance. And how the heck do the credit card companies find you so fast in your new digs, anyway?
If I sound frustrated, I am. My husband and I have been deluged with credit card offers for several years. That is, until I opted out of credit card junk mail. Tired of unsolicited, pre-screened credit card offers? You can opt out of credit card junk mail, too.
Three Ways to Opt Out of Credit Card Junk Mail
The Federal Trade Commission, in cooperation with the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, TransUnion and Experian) offers three ways to opt out of receiving credit card junk mail.
- On the Web – Go to optoutprescreen.com and provide your name, address and social security number. (Your SSN is encrypted). You can opt-out electronically for five years. You can also opt out permanently by printing and mailing the permanent opt-out form found on the site. If you ever change your mind, you can go to the same website and “opt-in.”
- By Phone – The FTC lists a phone number you can call to opt out of credit card junk mail for 5 years: Call 1-888-5-OPTOUT (567-8688).
- By Mail – If you prefer not to provide your social security number on a website or by phone, you can opt out by submitting a letter to each credit agency individually. The FTC supplies a sample letter on their website, along with the addresses for each credit bureau.
Not Quite “Junk,” But Still “Mail”
After I opted out of all the mailing lists for credit card offers, I decided I could minimize my snail mail in another way. My goal is eventually to receive only checks and magazine subscriptions via the postal service, at least until print publications are all available on Kindle.
First, I set up a separate email address for my finances. Then I went to the website for each of my current credit cards and requested e-statements only, to be sent to that new address. Then I did the same for my bank and all my utility bills. I also found the option on each site to receive any notifications and news via email only, and selected that.
Now, I receive e-statements, electronic bill pay reminders, and electronic confirmations my bill is paid. No more dead trees in our house, unless you count the paper I use to write the rough draft of my column each day. I’m working on that.