A 2011 report by Smart Money indicated that Citibank alone issued 346 million credit card offers in the 3rd quarter of 2011. Interesting given the total population of the United States is only about 308 million. All together the banking industry sends several billion credit card offers each year.
Cut down on your junk mail
If you are tired of finding your mail box full of junk mail, you do have options. Go to http://www.optoutprescreen.com. This is the web site that is used by all of the credit agencies for managing their mailing lists. Through this site you can opt out of receiving future credit offers.
You have two options. You can submit a form online and you will opt out of receiving credit offers for the next five years. If you want to permanently opt out there is a form you can print from the web site. If you mail that form in you can have yourself permanently removed from future offers.
One exception to this is if you have an existing relationship with the bank, then they are permitted to continue to send you offers. So for example if you have an existing card with CitiBank then CitiBank is allowed to continue to send you offers despite your having opted out.
If you want to eliminate these offers as well then you will need to contact the institutions individually to find out what you need to do to be removed from their internal marketing lists.
Eliminate Phone Calls too
In addition to eliminating marketing via the mal, you can also eliminate telemarketing offers by registering with the National Do Not Call registry. You can do this by going to http://www.donotcall.gov. From here you can register your phone number and once that is done no telemarketers should be allowed to call your number. This should eliminate sales related telemarketing calls. It does not affect calls that are politically related, calls from charitable organizations, and calls that are purely related to a telephone survey with no sales component. These types of calls are not covered by the Federal law that created the Do Not Call Registry.
3 Reasons to do this
There are actually some very good reasons for opting out of these offers beyond just getting rid of the temptation to add more credit.
- Identity theft is becoming more and more of an issue. One of the problems with all these credit offers flying through the mail is it does open the door for those who would try to open credit in your name. If you do get offers that you intend to throw away you should always at least shred the application form. By opting out of offers that you really don’t intend to ever use anyway you lessen the risk of someone stealing one of these offers out of your mailbox and opening a fraudulent account in your name.
- There is also a “green” component to this. Save a few trees. If you aren’t going to be using the offers anyway then why waste the paper?
- Finally there is just the annoyance factor of having to deal with all the junk mail. And if you really, really want credit? You can always go to the bank and ask for a credit application.
Nobody loves you anymore
My wife and I joke that nobody loves us anymore because since we have done these two things the amount of junk mail we receive each day has been cut to almost nothing. If you follow these steps I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much less junk you receive on a daily basis.