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Opt Out of Pre-Approved Credit Offers

Written by Nickel - 16 Comments

If you’re interested in opting out of so-called ‘firm’ (i.e., pre-approved) offers of credit or insurance products then hop on over to OptOutPrescreen.com and let them know.

This web site is a joint venture by Equifax, Experian, Innovis and TransUnion, and it allows you to opt out from receiving firm offers for either a period of five years or permanently. You can also opt back in if you change your mind in the future and wish to start receiving these offers again.

Note that, while they ask for your social security number, you don’t have to provide it to have your request processed. Now before you rush over and opt out, keep in mind that doing so may cause you to miss out on juicy 0% balance transfer offers, etc.

From my perspective, the upside of not having pre-approved credit applications waiting to be stolen from you mailbox is well worth the loss of a few deals.

Published on November 30th, 2005
Modified on July 27th, 2009 - 16 Comments
Filed under: Credit Cards, Identity Theft

About the author: is the founder and editor-in-chief of this site. He's a thirty-something family man who has been writing about personal finance since 2005, and guess what? He's on Twitter!

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16 Responses to “Opt Out of Pre-Approved Credit Offers”

  1. 1
    Blaine Moore Says:

    You may miss out on a juicy 0% balance transfer offer, but if you are careful you should not have any balances to transfer anyway, and there are ways to find those offers when you want one instead of waiting for them to send you one.

  2. 2
    nickel Says:

    I agree about not having balances to transfer, but many people use these as a tool to get an interest free loan, and then let it accrue interest in a high yield savings account such as at ING, HSBC, or Emigrant Direct.

  3. 3
    FMF Says:

    I did this a few months ago and my mail has dropped significantly (which is what I wanted to happen).

  4. 4
    jim Says:

    This is a good tip… i’ll probably blog about it in a few days after everyone forgets you found it before me. :)

  5. 5
    Loi Tran Says:

    I’m starting to do balance transfers. How often should I apply for new credit cards? How long does the credit inquiry stay?

  6. 6
    Blaine Moore Says:

    Nickel, how do you get an interest free loan out of it? Or do you just spend a wad on something that you want and have the cash for on a card, transfer the balance, and then get the interest and pay off the card quickly? Other than impulse buying I can’t think of a way to make that work.

  7. 7
    nickel Says:

    Blaine: I’ve never done this myself but, as I understand it, you can often get a balance transfer check from the new card issuer. This is intended to be used to pay off a different card, thereby transferring the balance from the old card to the new. There are, however, tricks they can be used to actually get cash out of the check. For example, say you have a credit card from lender A, and that you have a zero balance on that account. You then get a 0% balance transfer offer from lender B, complete with a balance transfer check. Write the BT check out to lender A, thereby creating a huge credit on that account. Then simply request a refund of your credit balance from lender A. Voila, you now have a pocketful of cash that was effectively borrowed from lender B at 0%, and you are free to stick it into a high yield savings account to generate interest. Personally, this has never been worth the trouble for me, but a lot of people seem to do it.

  8. 8
    Flexo Says:

    If you go that route, don’t use the check to create a credit balance on a card issued by MBNA. (And be careful because MBNA operates other banks’ credit cards and it might not be immediately apparent that they do.) MBNA will put your account on “money laundering alert” and they won’t accept the transfer.

  9. 9
    Blaine Moore Says:

    Well, I don’t think that it is worth doing while I am still trying to find a house to buy. I don’t really need to have any credit card debt while I’m getting financing.

  10. 10
    Jo Says:

    So why exactly do I need to provide my social security number when I fill out the form?

  11. 11
    nickel Says:

    Jo: You don’t have to enter your SSN…

    “Note that, while they ask for your social security number, you don’t have to provide it to have your request processed.”

  12. 12
    Matt Hartrich - Buffalo, NY Says:

    This is a great move. You get so much less junk mail

  13. 13
    Neo Says:

    I also use this opt-out process over a year ago and since then, I don’t recall ever receiving a credit card application. Now I just need to get the mortgage people to stop sending me their low interest / saving offers.

    As for getting those 0% BT offers, if you visit just a few PF blogs, you will read when the good once come around.

    Neo

  14. 14
    Jeremy Says:

    I opted out years ago and it cut the mail significantly. In addition to this opportunity, folks should consider opting out of junk mail through the DMA’s mail preference service.

  15. 15
    FMF Says:

    I must be doing something wrong. Somehow, I’m still getting lots of offers — though the volume has been cut dramatically.

  16. 16
    Gino Ray Says:

    Thee last 0 interest credit card I responded to charged a 3% transfer fee. (Auto Club”AAA” card).
    Capitol One also charges a transfer fee.
    Bottom line, I have not found a true 0% credit card.
    Gino

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