My mailbox is filling up with credit card offers again. They’re not what they used to be as the 0% balance transfer offers now have hefty transfer fees attached to the promotion. It seems every week I get a credit card offer from an airline through their rewards program. I don’t even open those anymore, because most of them have fees attached to them. I don’t care if the annual membership fee is waived the first year. I’m not paying to earn rewards even if they are a little better than the rewards I have for free.
So, what can you do to get rid of all this junk mail? There are a few things that will help. I had two families test these methods a few years ago, and they both saw a reduction in mail.
First, stop pre-approved credit offers by opting out. Call 1-888-5-OPTOUT. You can also opt out online by clicking here. When you opt out online, the opt out will last for five years. If you want to permanently opt out, you need to mail in a form that you can find online on the website above. If you opt out, and want to opt back in so you can get competitive credit or insurance offers you can opt back in online.
You will have to give your social security number because your social is linked to your credit score. Someone asked me a few weeks ago why the service can’t just use your address. While it seems like it would work, addresses change so often it would be hard to guarantee the opt out for several years, and it’s not your address but your social that definitively links you to the pre-approved credit offers.
Secondly, sign up for the DMA Choice Mail Preference Service. This will get you off direct marketing mail lists like catalogs, magazines, etc. You can enroll online or by mail. The mail option will cost $1.
Then, sit back and wait. Within six to eight weeks, you should begin to notice less mail. DMA can take ninety days to take effect.
After three months have passed, begin saving any junk mail that’s slipping through the cracks. If it really bothers you, call that company and request that your name be removed from their mailing list. In not time, you’ll have no junk mail.
It sound like a great thing. What consumer doesn’t want less junk mail, and less mail to shred? Believe it or not this is a controversial subject. There are campaigns to make it easier to stop unwanted mail through a do not mail registry. It would work similar to the do not call list. ForestEthics leads the Do Not Mail campaign, and estimates 30% of delivered mail is junk. Campaigns have popped up to counter this effort including Mail Moves America.
For the groups against national do not mail efforts, it all comes down to job loss. Mail Moves America estimates 3.5 million jobs are tied to advertising mail. Mail Moves America believes there are already enough free options, and a national initiative is not needed.
For now, the decision is up to you. If you want to reduce the amount of mail arriving at your home, take a few easy steps to say no to the junk.