Is it illegal in the U.S. for a bank to send an unsolicited credit card?

My fiancee and I opened a joint checking account a few weeks ago with my bank, mainly to pay for wedding-related items. Since I was already a customer with this bank, I was hooked up to their online banking system, and when I logged in to the web interface for their online banking system, I could see the new joint account’s stats alongside that of my individual accounts.

At the same time, I noticed that a credit card account with a limit of $200 had been opened up. I thought it was just a glitch, but sure enough, two Visa cards arrived in the mail a couple weeks after our ATM cards arrived.

I never asked for a credit card. Nor was a credit card account ever a condition of or a prerequisite for opening the joint checking account. I’d rather not have the card, since I’m going to great lengths right now to examine my credit report carefully and close down any lines of credit I’m not actively using.

So I’m a little miffed that my bank is giving me credit cards I never wanted, and I’m wondering if such a practice is legal in the U.S. Can my bank simply open up a line of credit for me whenever they want and send me credit cards I don’t want or need?

Are you sure the credit card wasn’t somehow “bundled” with the checking account you opened, and you just didn’t notice it when signing the papers?

Banks seem to like offering things in packages like that.

Yes. When we went to open this up, we were quite insistent that all we wanted was a checking account. Despite the rep’s insistence that we needed other types of accounts, we signed off on a checking account only.

A while back I got a pre-approved credit card from my bank. Along with the card, there was a nifty little letter in the envelope telling me what I had to do to activate the account. If I didn’t do whatever that was (I don’t recall what it was) by a certain date, the account automatically disappeared.

I thought it was a weird way to market a credit card.

And we wonder why bankruptcies are skyrocketing…? :rolleyes:

I remember my mother getting some of these when I was a kid, but I haven’t seen any for at least 10 years, I assume because of the obvious potential for mail theft, etc.

That’s another big concern of mine. (I’ve called credit card companies in the past to yell at them for sending those balance-transfer checks in the mail unsolicited.) To have two cards circulating in the mail that I didn’t even know about is just risky.

Anyone have any insight into whether or not it’s legal for a bank to do this?

But what did the small print on the paperwork you signed say ? Lots of times the guy talking to you will say one thing and the paperwork will say another… Had this happen a couple of times (particlarly at US Bank), the girl in branch, convinced me I should get a secured credit card. And I explicitally asked (twice) whether there was any downside or penalty charge if I closed it early, and was told there wasn’t, but (stupidly) didn’t check the small print. And there was a pretty big charge if I closed in before 2 years.

As others have said, even if the cards exist and are stolen, then can usually only be activated from the home phone number you’ve given them. So the thief would not only need the card but to go into your home and call from there to activate it.

[sup]That’s why our prisons are so crowded![/sup]
All those bankers.

Yes, I am positive I didn’t sign any paperwork that signed me up for a credit card. I am positive about this because I made the sales rep wait while I read everything in depth.

The piece about activating cards from a home phone number only isn’t the case with this bank. Credit and debit cards can be activated by the phone or by performing a transaction with one’s PIN.

I recently received unsolicited cards in the mail. Not from my bank, I don’t think. Not sure where they came from, but I shredded 'em. I was under the impression these were no longer legal due to fraud…people stealing them from the mail. I was pissed when I saw them. Checked with Mr. K…he didn’t order them.

The compliance officers in the “Ask a Banker” forum over on probably know, if you’d consider asking there.

Not true. I’ve never had to call from my home number to activate the card. In fact, the last time I called to activate a card the rep told me outright that most of the cards only “require” calls so that the reps can try to sell credit protection and other “services.”

Did you ask for “Overdraft Protection?” In my case this involved having the bank issue me a credit card (They called this a ((“line of credit”)) but entailed a credit card they could charge in case of an overdraft. Got the card when I really didn’t want it.

Did you ask for “Overdraft Protection?” In my case this involved having the bank issue me a credit card (They called this a ((“line of credit”)) but entailed a credit card they could charge in case of an overdraft. Got the card when I really didn’t want it.

Assuming the card was truly unsolicited (read the fine print), the practice of issuing unsolicited cards was banned by executive order of President Nixon in 1970.