What the New Credit Rules Say

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The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires that companies sending prescreened solicitations include a notice to consumers containing opt-out information. The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act amends the FCRA provision requiring the statements and gives the Federal Trade Commission, in consultation with the banking agencies, the task of imposing rules for the notices to make them easy for consumers to understand.


The new notices take a layered approach, with short and long versions required in each mailing.


Short notices are required to state the consumer's right to opt out of receiving prescreened solicitations; provide a toll-free number for opt-out purposes and direct consumers to the long notice. Other mandatory elements include that the short notice be in a type size larger than the main text on the page and no smaller than 12 point. It must be on the front of the first page of the offer, be distinct from the rest of the text through use of a border and be in a type style such as bold, italic, underlined and/or contrasting color to differentiate it from the rest of the text.


The long notice must contain more detail, but also be written in clear, easy-to-understand language. It must state information required by the FCRA and have an all-capital-letter heading that says, "PRESCREEN & OPT-OUT NOTICE." Type size cannot be smaller than the other type on the page and must be at least 8 point. Like the short version, the long notice must be set apart from the rest of the text by type style and spacing.


All notices must be easy to understand, which the FTC defines as being in plain language using clear and concise sentences, paragraphs and sections. Notices must be in the same language as the solicitation, meaning that if the offer is in Spanish, the notices must be as well.


The opt outs go to the three main credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Consumers who opt out no longer will receive any prescreened offers.


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