How to opt-out of credit prescreening with all of the credit bureaus in order to stop receiving firm offers of credit.
What is Credit Prescreening?
Credit prescreening is something that is legal for lenders to do under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) assuming the lender is meeting all of the compliance requirements associated with prescreening credit. If you have ever received a credit card offer in the mail or a mortgage pre-qualification letter, that lender has prescreened your credit before sending you that offer to ensure that you actually meet the minimum credit requirements for the offer they are sending you. This is done to ensure that you aren't receiving offers that you can't actually credit qualify for. Typically there are additional, non-credit, underwriting requirements that you will still have to meet but these will also be outlined on the offer that you received.
What Are the Potential Benefits of Credit Prescreening to Me?
As we mentioned above anytime a lender prescreens your credit, they are required to send you a firm offer of credit for the program they prescreened you for. There are a few benefits to receiving this offer. For one, you might credit qualify for a loan and not even realize it, these offers can help to keep you informed on what you credit qualify for. Secondly, if you are already in the market for a loan these prescreened offers can give you the opportunity to explore your lending options, giving you the opportunity to see what is available to you so you get the best possible deal. Lastly, you might learn from an offer about a product that you didn't previously know was available to you.
If you still would like to opt yourself out from ever having your credit prescreened in the future you can do that by following the instructions listed below.
How to Opt-Out of Credit Prescreening
There are a couple of options when opting out of credit prescreening, you will only need to do one of them.
Whichever option you go with the opt-out request will be shared with each of the nationwide credit reporting agencies so you will only need to do it once.
Additionally, when you opt-out with either method you will have the option of either being removed from mailing lists for five years or permanently. If you choose to opt-out permanently, you will be mailed a "Notice of Election to Opt-Out" form to fill out and return in order to complete the process. That additional step is only required for the permanent opt-out option.
- By Phone: You can call 1-888-5OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688) and follow the prompts. This allows you to opt-out with all of the credit reporting agencies at once.
- Online: You also have the option to opt-out online by going to www.optoutprescreen.com and following the instructions.
Firm Offer Prescreen Opt-Out Requirements
If you are a lender trying to figure out the correct prescreen opt-out verbiage to put on the firm offer letters that you are sending out please see our Firm Offer Compliance Article.
It covers the Prescreen Opt-Out requirements as well as the other firm offer compliance requirements. please note that the details in the Firm Offer Compliance Article are recommendations, any firm offers of credit should always be reviewed by the legal compliance professionals at your company.