Why Not All Credit Card Junk Mail is JunkAugust 6, 2010 - 2:47 pm
We’ve all peered into the mailbox to discover several new credit card offers awaiting our attention. Many times people will not think twice before ripping up a mailed offer because they consider it to be nothing more than junk. However, the next time you get an offer in the mail, don’t be so quick to head to the paper shredder. Take a moment to check out what offer is on the table.
Consumers’ credit information is often sold to third-party companies who have a specific marketing target. While the exact personal information like credit scores is not sold, the information from applications can still be used to gauge a person’s credit profile. With this information and your contact data, credit card companies can solicit consumers with preapproval offers depending on the categories of the marketing list. For instance, if you have recently been approved for a mortgage or other type of credit line, credit card companies can guess you are creditworthy to establish a credit card. If the person is getting offers strictly for secured cards, other card companies will likely consider the consumer to be a credit risk.
Compare What You Have
Since companies have taken some effort to profile a consumer, their preapproval offers can be a better deal than you are likely to find somewhere else. Card companies are competitive and they want your business so they are bound to make a good offer to hook you in. While you should never close out long-standing credit accounts, you should take a look at what the new card has to offer compared to your old card. Keep the old one for emergencies and consider getting a new card for everyday purchases.
Bring The Offer to Your Credit Card Company
If you are fairly happy with the credit card you have, you may be able to negotiate better terms in light of the new offer. Contact your current card company and ask if they can match or beat the new deal you’ve been offered. If they can’t, consider applying for the new card.
No Guarantees in an Offer
Remember that while you may be preapproved for a credit card, you do not actually have the card until you go through the application process. After doing all of your research you have come to the conclusion that you do want to take on the new offer, make sure you review all of the fine print and contact the card company if you have any questions before completing and submitting the application.
Trash the Junk
While not all offers will be bad, a good majority will just not a fit for your lifestyle. Make sure to properly dispose of all information by shredding the contents of the envelope. Anyone with access to your trash can use the application fraudulently. If you are filling out applications online because you have received an email offer, make sure you do not go through the link offered in the email to reduce the risk of scams. Instead go directly to the card company’s website or contact the company by phone to verify the legitimacy of the offer.