Credit Card Solicitations Increase to 1.2 Billion

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NEW YORK (MainStreet) –  You’re not the only one whose mailbox is being bombarded by an inordinate amount of credit card applications. Credit card mailings are up dramatically from this time a year ago, according to according to Mintel Comperemedia.

The consulting firm found that Americans received 1.2 billion mail offers for new credit cards in the third quart of 2010. Comparatively, this time last year, just 391 million applications were received.

Mintel tracks direct marketing including mail, email and print advertising targeted at consumers as part of its consulting practice. Its findings echo statistics released by market-research firm Synovate, who found that households in the United States got 640.3 million credit card offers during the second quarter of this year, an 83% increase over the 349.1 million offers mailed during the same quarter last year.

Mintel attributed the dramatic increase to issuers need to attract new customers and to keep existing ones.

New regulations under the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 put limitations on who can be issued a credit card. Additionally, more Americans are shunning credit on their own, favoring real-time payments methods, such as debit or cash, as they pay of personal debts.

In order to attract the now dwindling credit elite, Mintel said that solicitations center on rewards programs.  The firm found that eight in 10 mail offers are for rewards cards promoting points, miles or cash-back to consumers, up from six in 10 offers in 2008.

“Consumers are doggedly persistent when it comes to comparing credit card offers, and will use the rewards program with the best cash-back rate or highest points return per dollar,” Andrew Davidson, senior vice president of Mintel Comperemedia, said a press release.

Those who are shopping around for a new credit card should check out MainStreet’s round of the best rewards card out there. However, what can you do if you’re not in the market?

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), credit bureaus offer a toll-free number that enables you to “opt-out” of having pre-approved credit offers sent to you for five years. Those looking to empty their mailbox can call 1-888-567-8688 or visit http://www.optoutprescreen.com/  www.optoutprescreen.com for more information.

Additionally, the FTC notes, you can notify the three major credit bureaus that you do not want personal information about you shared for promotional purposes, an important step toward eliminating unsolicited mail. This must be done by writing a letter of your own to either Experian, Trans Union or Equifax. You can find their addresses here.

—For the best rates on loans, bank accounts and credit cards, enter your ZIP code at BankingMyWay.com.

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