We often have to make decisions about accepting credit card offers that we receive. When we have good credit ratings, we are frequently bombarded with new credit offers (spams) by mail, email, fax, and phone calls. You may have noticed that spam phone calls offering low interest rate credit accounts are on the rise on the cell phones to complement the spam emails.
The KAOS identity protection framework and principles emphasize on creating, keeping and sharing less of our identity components. Especially, the principles encourage us to assess the identity theft risks of our actions when dealing with our personal information. So, what should you do when you have a new credit card offer? Well, we mainly have two options: 1) Delete, reject, or shred the offer, or 2) apply for the card. Depending on our specific situation, we should shred and throw away the offer if we already have a couple of good credit cards with sufficient credit limits and reputable banks that have good service and great rebate plans. Obviously, banks like any other company are after higher revenues and will not advise you to not use their cards because you already own a couple of their competitors' cards. They also will not explain to you the risks of owning too many credit cards or tell you that they don’t have good service or offer bad rebate plans. This is something that you have to investigate, learn about and decide for yourself before accepting credit card offers. However, if you decide that you like the card offer because you don’t have another card and would like to start building your credit history, or that this one offers a better service or value in terms of rebates and benefits, consider these suggestions:
1- Consider the institution, their reputation and privacy policies. Go with the big players which provide viability and product stability. The smaller ones tend to get acquired by the big ones which may change the initial terms of the credit cards, although, from experience, the smaller banks provide better service until they get bigger. Therefore, if you selected the credit card because it offered a better value, that may change after the acquisition.
2- Cancel a card you already possess and close the account. This will ensure the list of your personal information or identity components that you created in the Identity Diet plan remains tightly controlled. As suggested, owning less credit cards exposes you to lower levels of financial and identity theft risks. As you make the decision and acquire a new credit card, consider giving up another one.
Learn about other credit card risks after reading "accepting credit card offers".