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How To Lock And Unlock Your Credit Report

How To Unfreeze Your Credit Report


Quick Answer

You can unfreeze your credit report at each of the three bureausExperian, TransUnion and Equifaxonline through your accounts, over the phone or by mailing the correct documentation.

In this article:

You can unfreeze your credit file by going to each credit bureau and following the steps to temporarily or permanently lift a credit freeze, also referred to as a security freeze.

You may need to unfreeze your credit when applying for loans, renting an apartment or taking any other actions that require access to your credit report.

How To Unfreeze A Transunion Report

You can lift a credit freeze with TransUnion one of the following ways:

For digital unfreezing, you may be prompted to sign up for a new TransUnion account. If youre a returning user, simply log in with your username and password. You can also perform the move by downloading the myTransUnion app, available in the Apple or .

The app gives you the ability to Temporarily Lift Freeze yourself. You just enter the dates you want the lift to happen, so the report can be accessible to lenders.

Over the phone, a customer service representative can help you with the process at 888-909-8872. Or, you can mail your removal requests to the agency directly.

Contact info: TransUnion TransUnion LLC, P.O. Box 2000, Chester, PA 19016.

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Freezing Your Experian Credit Report Via Postal Mail

If you prefer to use the mail, you can send your request to Experian Security Freeze, P.O. Box 9554, Allen, TX 75013.

Experian has information on its website that should help you figure out what information and documents you may need.

In general, youll need to include your full name , Social Security number, birthdate, two years worth of addresses, a government-issued ID card, such as a drivers license, and a utility bill or other acceptable proof of address.

Youll receive your PIN via postal mail.

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How To Freeze Your Credit

If you want to freeze your credit, you need to do it at each of the three major credit bureaus: Equifax , TransUnion and Experian . If you request a freeze, be sure to store the passwords youâll need to thaw your credit in a safe place.

Whether or not you choose to freeze your credit, fraudsters could still take advantage of you by getting things like your credit card number or passwords to online accounts. Make sure youâre taking the proper steps to secure your information so that it doesnât fall into the wrong hands.

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What Happens If You Freeze Your Card

Chase Unveils Option To Lock And Unlock Your Credit Cards

What Happens When You Freeze a Credit Card? When you choose to freeze a credit card, the card issuer wont authorize any new charges or balance transfers to your account. That means you cant use it to make purchases online or in person, and you cant transfer a balance from another card to the one you froze.

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Building On Your Good Credit Habits

Protecting your information, like using a credit freeze, puts you in control of your credit health and data identity. Its a great safeguard for when youre not actively house or car shopping or seeking other credit opportunities.

Now that youve taken that responsible step of protecting your information, consider building on that good habit by regularly monitoring your credit reports. A subscription to TransUnion Credit Monitoring can further help you manage your data identity with confidence. It provides daily refreshes of your credit report and alerts you to critical account changes to any of your 3-bureau credit reports. Continuously practicing good habits will help you build a healthy credit profile and allow you to capitalize on opportunities you deserve.

Disclaimer: The information posted to this blog was accurate at the time it was initially published. We do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information provided. The information contained in the TransUnion blog is provided for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal or financial advice. You should consult your own attorney or financial adviser regarding your particular situation. For complete details of any product mentioned, visit This site is governed by the TransUnion Interactive privacy policy located here.

What You Need to Know:

*Subscription price is $24.95 per month .

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Triple Check Your Personal Information

It may be simple, but scanning through the personal information section is crucial. Make sure your full name, address, and date of birth is accurate, along with your social insurance number.

There may be a risk that your information could be linked to another person, especially if you share an identical name or a common name.

There could be two reports out there tied to you and you dont know which one is making its way into your bankers hands.

Your employment is listed, too. Anytime you apply for a credit product, youre asked about your employment and income.

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Other Ways To Protect Your Credit

If you don’t want to pay for credit locking and a credit freeze seems too extreme, there are other things you can do to keep tabs on your credit information and protect your identity.

For instance, don’t forget that you can get your credit reports for free once each year through Reviewing your credit reports for errors or suspicious-looking activityand calling any that you find to the attention of the credit bureaucan help you preserve your good credit score.

How To Lock Your Credit Report At Experian


Experians program, CreditLock, is offered as part of a larger service, Experian CreditWorksSM Premium. It costs $4.99 the first month, and $24.99 a month after that. The program comes with other perks, like credit monitoring for all three bureaus, monthly FICO® credit scores and reports for all three bureaus, up to $1 million in identity theft insurance, and a dedicated agent to help you if you think youre a victim of fraud or identity theft. You can enroll on Experians website.

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Should You Unfreeze Your Credit Temporarily

If you want to lift a credit freeze on your Equifax, Experian or TransUnion credit reports, you have two options: you can either create a temporary credit freeze lift, which removes the credit freeze for a limited amount of time, or you can thaw your credit permanently.

Many people choose to unfreeze their credit temporarily. This gives banks and lenders enough time to perform which are essential steps in getting mortgages, car loans and credit cards without leaving your credit report unfrozen for so long that it could fall into the wrong hands.

A temporary credit thaw also means you dont have to worry about remembering to re-freeze your credit. After the designated time period ends, the credit bureau will automatically put a freeze back on your credit report. That way, you can unfreeze your credit for a few weeks and know that it will be securely frozen once the time limit is up.

Some people want a more permanent credit thaw. If youre moving to a new city, for example, everyone from landlords to utility companies might want to check your credit history. This process could go on for a few months, so you might decide to unfreeze your credit long-term. Just remember to re-freeze your credit once youre settled in.

Pros Of Locking Your Credit

  • A credit lock can reduce your chances of becoming an identity theft victim, since lenders cant check your credit reports while theyre locked.
  • You can lock and unlock your reports yourself at any time, making it faster than a freeze if you need to authorize a legitimate credit check.
  • TransUnion and Equifax allow you to lock and unlock your credit for free.

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Are There Alternatives To Freezing My Credit

A credit freeze is simple, free, and available to anyone. The credit bureaus offer another product, a credit lock, that allows you to control access to your account via an app. The lock may be free or require you to sign up for a paid credit monitoring service. You cannot have both a freeze and a lock on your account. If you freeze your account, then decide to lock it, you must first remove the freeze.

TransUnion offers a free product, TrueIdentity, that allows you to lock or unlock your credit report instantly via an app. You also get alerts when someone tries to access your credit file. The company’s paid credit monitoring program adds features like a credit score tool, access to a credit score specialist, and identity theft insurance.

Equifax offers a free locking app, Lock & Alert, so you can control when your account is unlocked. The app also sends an alert when someone tries to access your account.

Experian requires you to buy its to use its lock feature. The service includes identity theft insurance, notification of new credit activity, and monthly updated credit reports.

How To Start A Credit Freeze

How Do I Put A Lock On My Credit Report

You must freeze your credit at all three credit bureaus separately. The bureaus will provide you with a PIN that you can use to freeze and unfreeze your credit. Dont lose that number. Note, though, that Equifax no longer requires you to enter a PIN when freezing or unfreezing your credit.

Experian: You can start your Experian freeze either online or by calling the bureau at 888-397-3742.

TransUnion: Start a TransUnion freeze online or by calling 888-909-8872.

Equifax: You can freeze your credit with Equifax online or by calling 888-298-0045.

How much does a credit freeze cost? There is never a charge to freeze your credit. This is a free service.

How long does a credit freeze last? A credit freeze remains active until you ask the credit bureaus to remove it. According to the FTC, if you request that your credit be unfrozen online or by phone, the bureaus must lift your freeze within an hour. Many consumers lift freezes temporarily when they are applying for new credit or loans.

How long does it take for a freeze to go into effect? Different states have different regulations regarding security freezes. In California, the credit bureaus are required to freeze your credit no later than three days after receiving your request. In New Hampshire, the bureaus must freeze your credit within five business days of receiving your request. In New Jersey, that time limit is again three days.

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How To Unfreeze Credit

Unfreezing credit, sometimes called thawing, can be done on a temporary or permanent basis.

Itâs free to unfreeze your credit, but the process is different at each bureau. Hereâs what they say:

  • Equifax: You can manage and unfreeze your account in multiple ways. But it might make sense to use the same method you used to place the freeze. You can , call 888-298-0045 or use the same form to submit a request through the mail.
  • Experian: Make sure you have the PIN you were given when you placed your freeze. Itâs crucial whether youâre removing a freeze online or over the phone . If you donât remember your PIN, youâll have to go through the verification process again. You can also submit through the mail, but youâll need to provide the same information and documents used to freeze your credit.
  • TransUnion: The bureau says that the simplest way to remove a freeze is to do it online. You may also be able to do it over the phone or through the mail. You can call TransUnion at 888-909-8872 to find out more.

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You Can Now Freeze Your Credit For Free Heres Why You Should Do It

Jon Byman

Thereâs no sure-fire way to prevent someone from stealing your identity and damaging your credit in the process. But freezing your credit will go a long way toward making sure youâre protected and giving you peace of mind. And you can freeze your credit for free. You may want to consider doing it as doing so will mean that even if a criminal gets your information, it will be difficult or impossible for that person to open a fraudulent account in your name.

In 2018, a new law made it free to freeze your credit. Prior to the new law, each of the three credit bureaus could charge you if you wanted to put a freeze in place . Then, you often had to pay again to unfreeze or thaw your credit if you wanted to do something that required a credit check, like applying for a new loan. However, after the massive Equifax data breach in 2017, consumer advocates called on Congress to provide free access to credit freezes.

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A Credit Freeze Can Protect You From Identity Theft

Having your identity stolen is no stroll along the beach. Victims of identity theft often suffer for months and even years after it occurs. Clearing your name takes time and effortand sometimes money. It can seem like youre doing time, even though you werent the one who committed the crime.

To prevent your identity from being stolen or further identity theft after your identity has already been stolen, you might consider freezing your credit report, a free service that all three major credit bureaus offer.

How To Freeze Your Credit With Experian


If you want an easy and free way to minimize your chances of identity theft, you should freeze your credit. Once you do, only companies with which you already do business will be able to view your credit files, and it will be nearly impossible for someone else to open a new account in your name.

The drawback to freezing your credit is that you wont be able to open a new account either. This can be a big problem when youre trying to buy a car or a house, or even to get a new cellphone or cable-TV contract. Because of this, the credit bureaus make it easy to temporarily or permanently unfreeze your credit.

Unlike fraud alerts, you have to set up a credit freeze with each of the Big Three credit-reporting agencies Equifax, Experian and TransUnion individually. Fortunately, freezing and unfreezing your credit is now free across the United States thanks to a law that went into effect one year after 2017s massive Equifax data breach.

Unlike Equifax or TransUnion, Experian doesnt require you to set up an account with it to freeze your credit. You simply verify your identity, and then youll create a 5-to-10 digit PIN with which you can temporarily or permanently lift the freezes.

You can set the dates and duration for temporary thawing periods. Experian also lets you create a one-time PIN that you can give to a potential creditor such as a company offering you a car loan so that it can see your credit file just once.

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How To Unfreeze Credit With Experian

Experian is the only credit bureau that requires a PIN to unfreeze your credit.

An Experian credit freeze lift can be for a specific time theres no maximum. The online form warns, however, that you cant change the date range for unfreezing your credit once youve submitted it.

Experian also offers a single-use PIN that can help ensure your information is seen only by a creditor you authorize, so it isnt exposed needlessly. Experian gives you the PIN, and you give it to the entity checking your credit.

Contact info:Experian Experian Security Freeze, P.O. Box 9554, Allen, TX 75013 888-397-3742.

What Happens When Credit Reports Are Frozen

After customers successfully freeze credit, credit reports become inaccessible with a few exceptions. Consumers can still access their own records and so can their current creditors and debt collectors. Marketers would still see customersâ credit reports for promotional reasons and in certain circumstances, government and child support agencies would also have access.

Itâs also important to remember that if a customer plans to apply for credit and a security freeze remains on their credit reports, the freeze will need to be lifted before applying, either temporarily or permanently, to ensure the lender or card issuer can view the reports during the credit check. Until the freeze is lifted, it will remain impossible for customers to be approved for credit.

To unfreeze credit, a customer should simply contact the three bureaus listed above either by phone or online as they did when freezing credit. Temporarily unfreezing the credit for a set amount of time can be done if customers need to apply for a credit card, mortgage, loan or other financial product. Remembering to lift the freeze can be obnoxious, but itâs a small price to pay for extra protection against credit fraud.

A credit freeze wonât have any impact on customersâ credit score and will not affect current credit accounts.

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While Your Card Is Locked

When your card is locked, all cash advances, purchases and withdrawals either online or in person will be declined.

You can still make payments to your credit card, pre-authorized payments will continue to be paid and you can use your RBC Rewards points while itâs locked.

When your client card is locked, pre-authorized payments, INTERAC Online Payments, mobile deposits, online refunds, and Apple Pay and Android Wallet transactions will continue to be active and processed.


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