One thing I know for sure is the importance of clarity and focus. This is especially true when going through a major shift of the mind and our daily choices.
Making a decision to take control of your finances is a BIG CHANGE and the least distraction can quickly pull you back into familiar ways.
Have you ever considered how much junk mail you receive in a week?
Some days, I am bombarded with so many credit card offers until I could scream!
This offer to refinance our mortgage took me in (and not in a good way):
YOU’RE ALREADY PREQUALIFIED TO REFINANCE YOUR HOME LOAN AT A LOW 30-YEAR FIXED INTEREST RATE OF 3.25% (4.028% APR). THIS LOWER RATE COULD REDUCE YOUR MONTHLY MORTGAGE PAYMENT TO $1,115.34!
How am I Pre-Qualified? I didn’t apply for anything.
A well-known mortgage lender pre-screened us to determine if we met certain loan and credit requirements. We then received a letter saying that we were pre-qualified.
Unfortunately, these words are used interchangeably but they have different meanings according to regulatory and compliance guidelines.
Pre-screen – Creditors and mortgage lenders purchase from credit agencies and consumer reporting companies, lists of consumers who meet their criteria certain products and services. Information is pulled from the consumer’s credit report and data such as your zip code, the number of credit cards you have, or your credit score could make you a prospect.
Pre-qualification – Mortgage lenders typically evaluate a borrower’s credit, income and debt to validate that the lender is generally willing to lend to you, up to a certain amount and based on certain assumptions. This step is typically initiated by the consumer.
I guess that’s why this letter irritated me so. We most certainly, absolutely did not request this lender to pre-qualify us for a mortgage refinance.
While the play on words–pre-screen versus pre-qualification–might seem trivial, unfortunately some people are lured into half-truths only to discover
1 – They do not qualify for the terms offered in their letter or
2 – They qualify but at less favorable terms than originally offered.
In one case that I am familiar with, the potential borrower paid $500 for an appraisal before receiving the final terms which was not better than their existing mortgage!
It Was a Turning Point – I had Enough
At the moment of reading this letter, I decided to take control of these frequent and annoying enticements for easy credit offers.
It was time to opt-out.
I went to OptOutPrescreen.com, the official Consumer Credit Reporting Industry website, to accept and process requests from consumers to Opt-Out or Opt-In of firm offers of credit or insurance. (That’s exactly what the site says.)
Consumers have two options–opt-out of prescreened offers for credit and insurance for 1) 5 years or 2) permanently.
I elected the 5 year option and after entering some personal information, I was done.
It was painless and I felt a sign of relief.
Chances are very high that I won’t miss them.
Now What – How Do you Feel?
It’s been a few months since I left the fold (of endless mail) and I haven’t missed a thing.
Receiving less junk mail has been liberating. Rarely do I receive mail now and when I do, it’s usually personal which makes me more likely to read it.
If you haven’t taken action to opt-out of pre-screened offers, I encourage you to try it! Reducing access to offers of credit will help you take control of your finances and it’s also a very green thing to do!