Local News

Low Interest Card Offers Could Damage Your Credit Report

Posted November 25, 1997

— 'Tis the season to get dozens of credit card offers in the mail, offering lower rates and all sorts of unbelievable deals. If it "bah, humbugs" you, you can put a stop to those offers just by making three phone calls.

Credit card offers fill mailboxes throughout the year, but it gets worse just before the holidays. The appeals often offer thousands of dollars in pre-approved credit, but that's not really the case. What many don't realize is that just filling out the applications could hurt your credit rating.

More people are using credit cards today than ever before. Hundreds of thousands of new cards are issued everyday, and all the credit card companies want you to choose their card.

That's why they send out credit card applications by the truckloads. Many say they're pre-approved, but they're really not. Filling out the applications could actually hurt your credit rating.

More people are using credit cards than ever before. Hundreds of thousands of new cards are issued every day. Credit card companies want you to choose them. That's why they send out credit card applications by the truck loads. They say they're pre-approved, but they're not really.

"Don't expect to go out and spend a lot of money on the credit cards you have now in anticipation of receiving this new credit card with a lower interest rate," explains credit counselor Tammy Joyce. "Just because you've received a preapproved notice in the mail doesn't necessarily mean you've got a card on the way."

And if you fill out every application, you could be doing some damage to your credit record.

Faith Kelley says her walk to the mailbox everyday is a time to wonder just how many credit card applications are inside today.

"We're just not interested," Kelley says. "We have a credit card that has no annual fee anyway. We just don't need more."

Many credit card applications promise huge credit limits and say they're preapproved. But, don't start spending yet. The small print on the back of the application reads quote "If, upon evaluation of your completed application and information provided by others to us, we find you do not meet the criteria, credit will not be extended".

The worst part is, the more times creditors look at your credit report, the worse your credit report looks.

Joyce says the more preapproved notices you receive, the more times creditors are looking at your credit report. That's something you don't realize affects your credit report, but it does.

More and more people are treating new applications for credit cards like Faith Kelley does.

"I trash it, as fast as I can!"

Each of the three major credit bureaus has a toll-free number you can call to have such offers stopped.

  • Equifax can be reached at1-800-556-4711.
  • Experian can be reached at1-800-353-0809, and
  • Trans Union can be reached at1-800-680-7293.

    One call to each of the bureaus will exclude your name from lists sold to credit card marketers. Your phone request will block your file from being screened for two years.

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