Canceling the Blank Credit Card Checks
One weekend last year, the proverbial straw broke the camel’s back, and after exactly how many months straight I do not know, I finally called my credit card company and kindly explained my situation to them. Every week, a minimum of once a week (often times as many as three), I receive a nice form letter and a page full of four or five blank checks. This is, of course, from my credit card company. And it is, in theory, a smart business move on their part.
They are looking to buy more debt by offering the consumer what is essentially a loan through the credit card they use. However, while this money might be tempting to some for unnecessary spending, and a stroke of good luck for others who are in need of some quick cash to pay the monthly bills, I have never once used these checks — for anything!
When you poke around beneath the surface even just a little bit, you notice how high the interest rates are for money borrowed against your credit cards. The higher your daily balance, the higher your monthly interest. And lastly — the more money you owe the credit card company, the more opportunities there are for interest rate hikes, penalties for late payments or fees for just about anything, all legally accounted for somewhere in the fine print.
So I thought to myself — why not call the credit card company, and ask them to stop sending me the excess paperwork that only goes into the recycling pile. Between the wasted paper, postage and ink — I figured that cutting these papers out of circulation, over time, might actually do some good. I know that anyone who gets a credit card is likely in the same place — so why not take 10 to 15 minutes out of your day and make a call — here’s what to say.
“Hello. I am calling today to ask that you flag my account from this day forward, and please stop sending me the form letters with the blank checks meant for balance transfers or cash advances. I don’t use them, and if I were ever in a position to need something like this, I will gladly call you again and ask for such a form at that point. Listen — I know you are only doing it because it makes sense in terms of the business that you run, but it wastes a tremendous amount of paper and I would like it if you would stop. Your company has provided me with good service in the past, and I expect nothing less than that again, this time.” Then prepare yourself.
If your credit card company is good, they’ll acquiesce right away and let you know that within 90 days, the mail will stop — they just can’t stop what might already be in process. Fine. If your credit card company is a bit less than amazing, take a deep breath. Between non-local customer service call centers, being put on hold, having to give your information over and over — you’ll finally complete the process and get confirmation. Remember, it’s not in their best interest to discontinue sending the blank checks, so you might have to fight for it. But be patient, and stay resolved in your mission. I recommend making sure you have the 15 minutes to spare before calling.
Quick Reference to Contact the Major Credit Card Companies by Phone
Discover Card // 1-800-DISCOVER (1-800-347-2683)
American Express // 1-800-528-4800
Capitol One // 1-888-817-2970 (Opt out of Marketing Solicitations)
Chase // 1-800-432-3117
Citibank // 1-800-347-4934
Or call (888) 5-OPT-OUT (888-567-8688) and request removal from marketing solicitations.
Or simply call the customer service number located on the back of your credit card(s).
Statistics on Credit Card Companies and Junk Mail
– Credit card companies mailed a record $6 Billion in mail solicitations in 2005 alone to US households. That comes to around 20 per every one of 30 million Americans in the US.
– The response rate for above was 0.2% to 0.3% in 2005.
– Each year more than 4 million tons (that’s 62 billion pieces) of junk mail is produced.
– To produce this mail it takes 100 million trees and 28 billion gallons of water.
– The average American receives 572 pieces of junk mail per year.
– If one person halts his personal bulk mail, he’ll save 11⁄2 trees, 46 pounds of carbon dioxide, and 70 gallons of water each year.
More Information on Credit Card Companies and How to Stop Junk Mail
Find more information on Credit Card Junk Mail at the Office of Compliance Assistance and Pollution Prevention.
To stop pre-approved credit card and insurance offers, call 1-888-567-8688 from your home telephone and it will be checked against an address database. Or visit Optoutprescreen online. This type of mail can also be dangerous, as it can be removed from your mailbox by a stranger and then used to open accounts in your name.
To stop the sending of other forms of junk mail, contact the Direct Marketing Association or going to the DMA’s mail preference service. From there, click on the orange box that says “Remove my name from mailing lists.” Or mail your request and include a $1 fee: Mail Preference Service, Direct Marketing Association, P.O. Box 643, Carmel, NY 10512.
Copyright 2008-9 Matty Byloos