Guide to credit card offers: The meaning of 'pre-approved' – and other mysteries

Credit-card companies often say you are "pre-approved," "pre-screened," "pre-qualified," or "pre-selected" to receive their credit card. Here is a guide to sorting through credit-card offers:

5. What if I don’t want to receive these offers?
A gift certificate is displayed in this 2010 file photo. For a fee, the group stops junk mail, including credit-card offers, and unwanted catalogs.

If you would rather not be tempted by credit-card offers, you can opt out. Eliminating all pre-screened offers is difficult, but you can stop many of them. For example, you can opt out of all offers based on lists from the three major consumer reporting agencies –Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax – by going to or calling 888-5-OPTOUT.

You can also opt out of commercial mail for five years by going to To opt out of telemarketing calls, visit or call 888-382-1222. This will not stop all solicitations, but it will reduce the number of offers you receive.

– Daniel I. Tulbovich is a co-founder of He writes frequently on credit-related topics.

5 of 5

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

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