Mailbox Emptier? Credit Card Offers Drastically Down

The Synovate Mail Monitor released new figures showing a drastic reduction in credit card mail volume in 2008 — down 27% from 2007.¬† 3.8 billion offers of credit were mailed out to American households in 2008, compared with 5.2 billion the previous year. Interestingly, they compare the level of credit card mailings to the Dow Jones Industrial averages since¬† 1991 (the chart below shows just how close the correlation is).

It’s not really a surprise that fewer credit card offers are being delivered to our mailboxes these days. Banks are trying to reel in the amount of credit they extend, not offer us more of it. They just don’t trust us much anymore, at first perhaps because we were irresponsible borrowers. Now, with so many out of work and operating on reduced household incomes, we’re relying on credit just to make ends meet. Sending fewer credit offers is one way banks are trying to extricate themselves from our unfortunate situation. The last thing the banks want or need are more borrowers making credit card charges they can’t really afford to pay back.

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Those with poor credit ratings or low income levels aren’t seeing any offers in their mailbox; The majority are going to those with stellar credit, and even those households are receiving fewer mailings.

Only two banks upped their number of offers in 2008: US Bank and Barclay’s. HSBC, Citibank, Chase, and Bank of America have all reduced their mailings by 30% or more.

This is good news for those who were tired of getting unwanted offers in the mail everyday. For anyone still receiving offers they don’t want or need, you have the right under the Fair Credit Reporting Act to get your name off these mailing lists. At you can choose to be removed from the credit card offer lists for 5 years, or permanently. Conversely, if you’ve previously opted out and regret that decision, OptOutPrescreen lets you opt back in.

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