Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Just Say No - To Credit Card Mailers

If you are like most Americans, you possess a credit card or two and therefore receive on average two to three direct mailers from credit card companies a week.  Maybe you get more than that.  Over the years, I have been the proud owner of various credit cards; therefore, I realize I’m bound to receive mail telling me I’ve been pre-approved for a card I already have, mail containing gift cards that are mine to keep if I activate their card, or very cute and catchy fliers with people on vacation or doing all the things I can do if I only sign up for the debt. 

Maybe you’ve never been blessed with receiving them.  If you are, please tell me how you’ve done it.  I’ve tried several tactics to be taken off these mailing lists.  I’ve even been to the Federal Trade Commission site to remove myself from these mailers, but shockingly, I still receive them all the time.  The site boasts:
Tired of having your mailbox crammed with unsolicited mail, including preapproved credit card applications? Fed up with getting telemarketing calls just as you're sitting down to dinner? Fuming that your email inbox is chock-full of unsolicited advertising? The good news is that you can cut down on the number of unsolicited mailings, calls, and emails you receive by learning where to go to "just say no.”

Logging all of your personal information into the forms they provide, writing in, or calling are supposed to allow you to opt out for five years at a time (hello?) or permanently.  I’m beginning to think this is like being on the “Do Not Call List for your phones – has it helped you?  So I’m wondering if this site to opt out of unsolicited mail, telemarketing and email really works or if it’s just a myth full of promise to not be bothered.  Someone once said that if you open the mail, stuff everything back in the envelope without filling it out and mail it back, these companies would stop sending them to you.  Well, that isn’t working either.
Recently while reading an article on Citi Bank, I realize that I’m not imagining this.  They do in fact target existing customers.  This year, they have already sent out two million letters to existing customers to let them know about their new AAdvantage Debit Card.  I guarantee I received at least three of those letters.  
I understand that marketing is key for such companies, but enough is enough.  You have to admit, it’s sad - how much money they must have to simply throw it away on people like me who do all their credit card business online (paperless statements and mail) so we tear up everything received from them without ever opening it.  What a waste for a company, but it must be paying off as they never stop. 

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  1. we live in a society where excess is encouraged, so it is almost to be expected that credit card companies want you to add "just one more" card to your account. What most people don't realize is that credit card companies want us in debt, those late fees are how they make money. So the next time a "pre-approved" credit card shows up in the mail, throwing it out is probably the best option. This can save you both the stress that comes with the adition of a new card, and you from spending your hard earned money on late fees.

  2. Just as you stated, I am also bound to receive mail telling me I’ve been pre-approved for a card I already have. I receive about 2 credit card offers a week, most of them are for cards I already have. I find it extremely interesting that they do in fact target existing customers. I read that your credit card company probably sells your name the most often. I have never thought about trying to stop the madness; however, I did some research and possibly this may help.
    Credit offers: The major credit agencies all sell aggregate credit information any bidder. Direct mail and credit companies generate mail based on demographics including zip code, income band and credit payment patterns. Stopping this is easy, you just need your address, former address within two years, and social security number. One call does it all for agencies Equifax, Trans Union, Experian and Innovis. Dial 1-888-5 OPT OUT (or 1-888-567-8688) 24 hours a day. Online visit

  3. You brought up a lot of great points Kelly! We haven't received any new mailers from credit card companies that we don't already have a card with in a long time, which is nice, but I still get sick of the one's from our companies. They do make their money on the interest that people pay, which although sucks for the consumers, makes sense businesswise for them. I think the thing that really ticks me off about the whole vicious process is who really falls victim to their schemes: college students and single parents. When we were in college, (actually at VC) our credit card was how we got home (to AK) every summer, and we are still trying to dig our way out of that. And single parents often have no choice but to use their cards to get by. It's not right, and between the Internet and the constant mailers are what makes it possible.

  4. I share your feeling Kelly, i receive at least ten of those mails every week. At first i used to open the letters, read the contents and keep it in my junk mail folder, but after a while the pile just kept on getting bigger and bigger and i wonder that sometimes. Why wouldn't these companies just leave me alone, seriously it is a waste of paper and trees and i believe they spend huge sums of money on these mails. Some of them do have promising deals for at least a year but afterwards from what i have gathered from friends, ones like Capital One bump up their interest rates to a ridiculous percentage. I hope i find a way to stop this junk mailing too.