One Year of Credit Card Solicitations

You know how, through confirmation bias, you will believe something is true even though it objectively is not?

For myself, one of these beliefs was that I was receiving hundreds and hundreds of credit card solicitations a year. It seemed that every second day there were two or three of these pieces of junk mail plugging up my (physical) mailbox.

So, beginning October 24 of last year I started to count the number of credit card solicitations we receive in a single year. I set aside an old milk crate and took pictures as the solicitations arrived. And, even though I was slacking off a bit toward the end (the last few pictures were for multiple days worth of cards) I did manage to get through the year as of October 23 of this year. You can check it out here.

The final tally was a surprisingly small 87 solicitations to both myself and to Michelle (I found I had miscounted a piece of normal junk mail as a solicitation when I was tallying things up) . Don’t get me wrong, it is still silly to be receiving an average of over 1 1/2  of these solicitations per week. But it is what it is.

Broken down by sender the zealots are:

Solicitor Number of solicitations Percent of total
American Express 33 37.9%
Emigrant Direct 18 20.7%
SunTrust 8 9.2%
Citi 8 9.2%
Chase 7 8.0%
Capital One 5 5.7%
Discover 2 2.3%
Fifth Third Bank 2 2.3%
Barclays (Black Card) 1 1.1%
Williams Sonoma 1 1.1%
FIA 1 1.1%
Home Depot 1 1.1%
Total 87

So a little empirical evidence disabuses me of a misconception.

I actually have dealings with about a third of these institutions where they may think they have some kind of relationship with me, including American Express.

However, I think American Express deserves a sound raspberry  for their non-stop efforts in sending us an average of 1 solicitation every 11 days.

Posted under Photos, Skepticism

This post was written by Marc
on November 17, 2012 at 12:19 pm

2,865 views

2 Comments so far

  1. king November 20, 2012 7:25 am

    A few comments.
    1. Just think how many you would have gotten if there was not a crisis due to lack of available credit that we hear about a couple of times every week.
    2. Did you not count, or do you not get online solicitations from the banks you do business with? I just checked my RBC account, and there are 4 offers in it’s inbox right now.

  2. Marc November 20, 2012 8:19 am

    @king – re: point 1, That’s very true, you’ve just given my confirmation bias an excuse to think it could still be correct! 🙂

    2, I only counted physical solicitations – which I count uniformly as junk mail. I regard all online credit card solicitations as suspect and discard them. I do not pay any attention to those private mail boxes with my various institutions unless I’ve initiated contact with them in the first place.

    I’m probably not the ideal online target for solicitations…

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