Shred it?

Question: So I received an unsolicited Achieve MasterCard in the mail. It's one of those deals where you load it, so sort of like a debit card with a credit card company. I'm completely uninterested in something like that. My question is, if I don't activate the card (and shred it into teeny bits) is it a part of my credit history? I didn't ask for it, didn't authorize it, and frankly, find it creepy, since it could have been stolen from my mail and I would have had no idea and been potentially liable. Sara, Baltimore, MD

Answer: I'm with you: I can't stand these kinds of offers. Shred it.

Enjoy getting rid of it. Prepaid credit cards aren't reported to the various credit bureaus and it has no impact on your credit score. The reason is that to activate a prepaid card the money comes directly from your checking account and you can only spend what's on the card. There is no loan feature attached to prepaid credit cards. Therefore, the credit reporting bureaus and the credit score folks aren't interested.

About the author

Chris Farrell is the economics editor of Marketplace Money.

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