Advanced churning techniques: applying for US Bank credit cards

Today's post is relevant to readers who are interested in applying for US Bank credit cards. There are many reports that US Bank credit cards (like the lucrative co-branded Club Carlson cards) are among the hardest to be approved for if you have a long history of frequent credit card applications.  One reason is that in addition to the traditional credit bureaus (Equifax, Transunion, and Experian), US Bank also apparently uses two non-traditional credit reporting agencies: IDA, Inc. and Advanced Resolution Services (ARS). These agencies take take into account additional factors that the bigger bureaus don't consider.

The workaround for this problem is to put a "security freeze" on your IDA and ARS credit reports, which can be done with a simple letter.

IDA Security Freezes

To freeze my IDA report, I sent the following letter by certified mail to:

IDA, Inc, Consumer Assistance Center
P.O. Box 503793
San Diego, CA 92150-2833

Security Freeze Request Letter
Dear Sir or Madam:
Please freeze my ID Analytics (IDA, Inc.) consumer report, which discloses all of the
information in your files associated with my Social Security number.
1. IDENTITY INFORMATION
A. FULL LEGAL NAME
FREE-QUENT FLYER
B. STREET ADDRESS, CITY, STATE, AND ZIP CODE
STREET, APT
CITY, STATE ZIP CODE
C. DATE OF BIRTH
MONTH DAY, YEAR
D. SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER
123-45-6789
E. PRIMARY PHONE NUMBER
(123) 555-0220
2. IDENTITY VERIFICATION DOCUMENTS [any two of the following documents, "with all identity elements matching the information provided in step 1." I used copies of a utility bill and my US passport]

A. COPY OF A STATE-ISSUED DRIVER'S LICENSE OR STATE-ISSUED ID CARD
B. COPY OF A UTILITY BILL DATED WITHIN THE LAST 60 DAYS
C. COPY OF A SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER CARD
D. COPY OF A BIRTH CERTIFICATE
E. COPY OF A U.S. PASSPORT (PICTURE PAGE ONLY)
F. COPY OF A VOIDED CONSUMER CHECK
G. COPY OF AN ALIEN REGISTRATION CARD
Mailed by certified mail MONTH DAY, YEAR.
Regards,
Free-quent Flyer
MONTH DAY, YEAR

The first time I sent the letter, IDA mailed me back a letter saying that my state required security freeze requests be made by certified mail. This is not true (since ARS does not require security freeze requests to be made by certified mail), but it is what IDA requires, so it's best to send your request by certified mail the first time.

ARS Security Freezes

To put a security freeze on my ARS report, I sent the following letter by first class mail to [edit 5/21/13: however see comments for ARS's new mailing address]:

Advanced Resolution Services, Inc.
6111 Oak Tree Blvd., Suite 400
Independence, OH 44131

Dear Sir or Madam:
Please freeze my Advanced Resolution Services (ARS) consumer report, which discloses all of the
information in your files associated with my Social Security number.
Personal identification information:
NAME: FREE-QUENT FLYER
SSN: 123-45-6789
ADDRESS1: STREET, APT
ADDRESS2: CITY, STATE ZIP CODE
PHONE: (123) 555-0220
Proof of Identity (Choose one, and check the box for the document you selected.)
[ ] Driver's license
[ ] Passport
[ ] Utility bill
[ ] Social Security card
[ ] Medicare Health Insurance Card
[ ] Social Security Verification letter (Third Party Disclosure signed and dated by your local Social SEcurity Administration office)
Regards,
Free-quent Flyer
MONTH DAY, YEAR

Results

As I mentioned earlier in the week, after freezing my IDA and ARS reports I was instantly approved online for the US Bank Club Carlson Business Rewards Visa.  It's impossible to know whether I would have been approved even if I hadn't frozen these two credit reports.  All I can say is, it worked for me!