The term opt-out refers to requesting that you be removed from preapproved and prescreen credit offer lists. Lenders send Experian a list of customer criteria that define the consumers to whom they would like to extend an offer. Experian then enters those criteria into its credit reporting system and generates a mailing list of consumers who meet the criteria. That mailing list is then sent to the lender or its mailing service. No person actually looks at a report in the prescreening process. A "prescreened" or sometimes called a "preapproved offer" is then sent to those addresses.
Opting out of preapproved credit offers does not hurt your credit scores, nor does receiving offers hurt your credit scores. Because your credit report was reviewed to make the offer, a soft inquiry is added to your report. A soft inquiry is shown only to you so that you have a complete record of when your report was accessed. Lenders do not see soft inquiries and they are not included in credit scores.
The benefit of preapproved offers is that they create competition for your business, which results in opportunities for you by creating choice. Preapproved offers expand your access to credit products from your local lenders to a national marketplace. It also helps you shop for better terms, interest rates and incentives. If you don't want to accept the offer, you can simply shred it.
If you do not want to receive preapproved credit offers you can opt out. Give careful consideration before doing so because opting out essentially removes you from the credit marketplace. While you might not be looking for new credit at the moment, you could in the future. Preapproved offers provide opportunity and choice you could find beneficial the next time you need credit.
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Scoped on: 03/03/2016