Nearly everyone with a mailing address is familiar with prescreened credit offers. Although these offers aren’t necessarily bad, they can be pesky, and it can be tiresome tearing them up and throwing them in the trash all the time.
What most people don’t know is that they have the ability to stop credit card offers for either a 5-year period or permanently. In this article, you’ll learn more about the opt out prescreen website and what the process of opting out entails.
What are Prescreened Credit Offers?
Most credit card companies try to entice people to open up new accounts via prescreened credit offers. These are also sometimes referred to as “preapproved” offers. The companies indicate that you meet their criteria based on information in your credit report and most commonly send out their solicitations in the mail. You may also receive these solicitations via phone call or e-mail.
There are a couple of ways in which prescreening works. A creditor or insurer will establish certain criteria, such as a minimum credit score, and will seek out a list from a consumer reporting company that reflects all of the people in the database who meet said criteria.
Other times, a creditor or insurer will provide their list of potential customers and ask the consumer reporting company to supply them with a list of those who meet specified criteria.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
The Fair Credit Reporting Act was enacted in 1970 and was designed to regulate the way consumer reporting companies use your information. The FCRA has made a couple of amendments since; once in the late 1990’s and again in 2003. The goal was to restrict who could access credit information and also limit the use of that information.
A few ways in which the FCRA protects you are by:
- Restricting access to your credit report to parties lacking a permissible purpose
- Requiring your consent before providing your information to employers or potential employers
- Deleting or correcting information that is inaccurate or outdated
- Removing your name from any marketing list at your request
- Investigating disputed information which must promptly be addressed by the agency
The FCRA does permit Consumer Credit Reporting Companies to include your name on the lists we mentioned earlier in the article. These are the lists used by creditors and insurers to make credit offers that are not initiated by you. To stop receiving prescreened credit offers, you will need to opt out. There are a couple of different options you have when it comes to opting out.
Reasons for Opting Out
There are a few different reasons why people choose to opt out of prescreened credit offers. Most of the time, individuals who opt out are simply not in the market for a new credit card or insurance policy. Other times, people are trying to limit access to their credit report information. Lastly, some people are just tired of the clutter in their mailbox and want to reduce it.
There tends to be a stigma surrounding prescreened credit offers that equates them to nothing more than glorified junk mail, but the truth is that they’re not always bad. For people who really are in the market for a new credit card or insurance, these offers can give a good idea of what’s available and help to compare costs or services.
Another plus about prescreened offers is that you can only be turned down under very limited circumstances since you already meet all of the primary criteria. Sometimes the terms of these offers are more favorable than offers made available to the public. The availability of some products may even be limited to prescreened offers only.
Here’s a pretty cool YouTube video of a CBS news segment that talks all about why you would want to opt out of prescreened offers:
The Opting Out Process
The process of opting out is relatively straightforward. There are two options for those who want to opt out of credit card offers. One option is to opt out for five years; the other option is to opt out permanently. Although opting out is fairly simple, it is important to follow the steps correctly. You will also need to renew the procedure if you only choose to opt out for five years once the term expires.
Opting Out for Five Years
OptOutPreScreen.com is the only website on the internet that is authorized by Equifax, Experian, Innovis, and TransUnion to allow consumers to opt-out of firm offers of credit or insurance. Through either the opt out prescreen website or toll-free number (888-567- 8688), consumers have the option to choose between opting out for five years or opting out permanently.
Once you’ve selected the 5-year option, your name is no longer included on lists that are used for firm offers of credit until the term expires. Once the 5-year term expires, you will then need to decide whether or not you’d like to opt out again.
Opt Out Permanently
Opting out permanently is your other option. If you decide to pursue this option, you will have to confirm your request by submitting a Permanent Opt-Out Election form in writing along with your signature. Once you submit this application via the opt out prescreen website, you will receive a confirmation along with a copy of the Election form, both of which should be printed out.
Permanent opt-out requests are processed when the Permanent Opt-Out Election forms are mailed and received. In the interim, opt out prescreen completes a 5-year opt-out request on behalf of the sender within five business days.
For those without internet access, the FTC instructs to write out a written request complete with your name, telephone number, date of birth, and social security number to each of the credit bureaus.
You may continue to receive offers after submitting your opt-out request. These offers can still get through for a couple of different reasons. It is possible that your name was provided to companies prior to you opting out that had not yet mailed their offers out. Sources that do not use Consumer Credit Reporting Companies may also still send offers if they are using different lists.
Opting in is an option for those who have elected to either opt out for five years or opt out permanently and have since changed their mind. Opting in can be done at any point after you’ve decided to opt out. If you have elected to opt out for five years, you will be opted back in by “default” as soon as the five-year term expires.
DMA Mail Preference Service
The Direct Marketing Association’s Mail Preference Service is another opt-out option that allows you to choose to stop receiving unsolicited commercial mail from many national companies for a 5-year period. You can visit the DMA website here to learn more about the process.
Many people don’t realize how easy the opting out process truly is. Visiting the opt out prescreen website means you’re just a few clicks away from eliminating all of those prescreened credit card and insurance offers you spend so much time ripping up and throwing away. If you ever have second thoughts or decide that you’d like to continue receiving these offers again, you can simply opt back in.
Do you have any tips or experiences you’d like to share regarding the opt-out process? Let us know in the comments section below!