State of California California Department of Consumer Affairs

Credit Cards (Unsolicited)

From Consumer Wiki

Revision as of 22:24, 16 September 2010 by Cicjscribner (Talk | contribs)
Jump to: navigation, search

CREDIT CARDS (UNSOLICITED)

go back


Federal Reserve regulations prohibit companies from mailing unsolicited credit cards to consumers. Nevertheless, retailers and banks say they are merely replacing existing cards with new ones, which is within the law.


The Federal Credit Reporting Act enacted by Congress in 1997 requires all credit bureaus to provide consumers a toll-free number they can call to prohibit the use of information in their files for any type of unsolicited credit offer.


By calling (888) 5-OPT-OUT (888-567-8688) you can have, your name added to a list of people who do not want their personal information used or shared with others for promotional purposes for two years. This national service allows consumers to opt-out of pre-approved credit offers with just one telephone call.


Even if consumers do not activate the card, it could have a negative impact on their credit rating because it gobbles up a chunk of what banks and creditors deem to be a consumer's acceptable overall credit limit. Cards sent through the mail also can be stolen and activated if someone gets your Social Security number over the telephone by posing as a bank employee.


If consumers choose not to participate, they should cut up the card and write to the issuer stating they decline the offer and request that any information added to their credit record be removed immediately. If a consumer decides to keep the card, they should not use it until the terms of the agreement, including the credit limit, annual fee, interest rate, and length of time for which the rate is guaranteed has been verified.


Credit card consultants say such an arrangement is extremely lucrative for stores because retailers and oil companies earn a percentage of the transaction fees issuers charge merchants.


The Federal Reserve has rules that such substitutions are legitimate as long as the merchant continues to honor its original, limited-use card. Industry critics say that replacing limited-use cards with full-service ones was never intended by the regulation, but the trend is likely to continue.



State member banks:

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
Division of Consumer and Community Affairs
20th and C Streets, N.W., stop 801
Washington, DC 20551
(202) 452-3693
(202) 452-3544 TDD
www.federalreserve.gov


Bank Credit Cards:

Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
Customer Assistance Group
1301 McKinney Street, Suite 3450
Houston, TX 77010
(800) 613-6743
(713) 336-4301 Fax
www.occ.treas.gov


See Also:
Bank Complaints/Information (State, Federal, National)



Consumer Resource & Referral Guide Consumer Resource & Referral Guide
Directory of State Agencies Directory of State Agencies
Directory of Federal Agencies Directory of Federal Agencies
Return to DCA Home Page Return to DCA Home Page

Personal tools
Toolbox