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.
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How To Temporarily Lift Your Credit Freeze
Unfreezing your credit report temporarily is useful if you know the specific window when the lender will pull your credit. It will allow lenders access to your report, maintain protection of your credit after they pull it and you wont have to remember to log in again to refreeze your credit.
Heres how to temporarily lift your credit freeze:
To make things easy, you can schedule your freeze removal up to 15 days in advance of when you plan on having your creditor pull your report. So, if you wish to unfreeze more than 15 days from today, just plan to log in closer to the date when you want your credit report unfrozen.
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When Do You Need To Unfreeze Your Credit
If you can ask TransUnion to freeze your credit report, you also have the option to thaw or unfreeze it.
Here are the reasons to lift the freeze on your credit report:
- If youre applying for a loan. Lenders and credit card issuers need to check your creditworthiness and pull your credit report to help them decide whether to approve your application or not.
- If youre going apartment or house hunting. Whether youre planning to buy or rent, landlords and creditors providing home loans need to access your credit history.
- If youre applying for utility services. Utility companies may conduct a credit check if you wish to install new services on your new home.
- If youre buying a new phone. Cell phone providers will check your credit report first if you want to purchase a new phone in installments.
- If youre looking for a job. Employers may check your credit report, especially if youre applying for a job that deals with money all the time.
Keep in mind that removing the credit report freeze means you wont be protected from possible identity theft and fraud. Unfreeze your credit only if you have to and for a limited time only until youve fixed the problem with your compromised information.
Can I freeze or Unfreeze my Credit Reports on All Major Credit Bureaus at One Time? No. You have to get in touch with each of the credit reporting agencies to freeze and unfreeze your credit report.
How A Parent Can Freeze A Minors Credit
Usually, children are not the group to be concerned about when it comes to credit scores and reports, but also keep in mind that their credit is a blank slate. Many thieves know it, and if they get the chance to use your childs identity to open accounts, you may not know until they are an adult! Putting a freeze on your childs credit is a free way to restrict access to their personal information. It also provides the opportunity to give them the blank slate they deserve until they are 16. To freeze your childs credit, you will need to:
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How To Freeze Your Experian Credit Report
Experian offers a Security Freeze Center page where you can manage your Experian security freeze.
If you dont have a security freeze yet, select Add a security freeze. On the next page, select Freeze my own credit file.
On the next page, youll need to fill out a similar form that you had to fill out for Equifax. Fill in your name, address, social security number, date of birth, and email address. At the bottom, you can select your own PIN.
Once you select Submit, youll see a confirmation that your security freeze with Experian is active. Remember to write down the PIN and email address you used in a safe place. My personal recommendation is to use a password manager to create a secure note with this information.
Should I Freeze My Credit Report
A credit freeze is a free tool available to help victims of identity theft protect themselves and their credit. But it is an extreme step, and there are some drawbacks. When you have a freeze on your credit report, you will need to remember to lift the freeze prior to applying for credit.
If you have had your personal information compromised and are concerned about credit fraud, there are some other free fraud tools to consider:
- An initial security alert: This alert is also called a temporary security alert or temporary fraud alert. It lets lenders know that someone may be trying to apply for credit fraudulently and asks them to take extra steps to verify your identity before extending credit. Initial alerts are automatically removed after one year.
- A fraud victim statement: Also called an extended fraud alert, this alert also lets lenders know that you have been a victim of identity theft and asks them to contact you at the number you provide if someone applies for credit in your name. To add an extended alert, you must submit a copy of your police report or identity theft report. Extended fraud alerts remain on credit reports for seven years.
- An active-duty alert: Members of the armed forces on active duty can add an active-duty alert to their credit report to help protect themselves from fraud and identity theft while deployed. Active-duty alerts remain on the credit report for one year.
For more information on file freezing, visit Experian’s Freeze Center.
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What Are My Choices For Unfreezing Credit
You can temporarily unfreeze credit in two ways:
Lift a freeze for a certain number of days. You might do this if you’re shopping for a mortgage or car loan or applying for a credit card.
Allow access to a specific creditor.
If you are applying for a loan, you may be able to ask the lender which credit bureau will be used and unfreeze only that one.
Permanently unfreezing your credit is also an option, but NerdWallet doesn’t recommend giving up the protections a freeze gives you. Temporarily lifting a freeze occasionally is much less trouble than unwinding the effects of identity theft.
You have to unfreeze your credit with each credit bureau individually. Experian requires a PIN to lift a credit freeze, while TransUnion and Equifax require that you set up online accounts.
You can unfreeze and freeze your credit reports online or by mail. You need a PIN to unfreeze your Experian credit report. TransUnion and Equifax require that you set up accounts to freeze or lift a freeze online.
Unless you use postal mail, unfreezing your credit reports online takes effect within minutes of requesting it. Freezing and unfreezing your credit reports is free. You can also freeze and unfreeze your child’s credit for free.
About the author:Bev O’Shea writes about credit for NerdWallet. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, MarketWatch and elsewhere.Read more
How Do I Lift Unfreeze Or Thaw My Credit Freeze
Once youve frozen your credit, you may find that you need to apply for a loan or open a new line of credit.
In that case, youll need to unfreeze your credit with one or more of the credit bureaus, depending on which one your lender uses.
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Here are some important things to keep in mind when you go to lift your credit freeze:
- If you unfreeze your credit online, you dont need the PIN that you set up when you froze your credit.
- If you choose to to have your freeze lifted, you will be asked for your PIN, but if you dont remember it you can still unfreeze your credit by answering some challenge questions.
- If you request to lift your credit freeze by mail, you will be required to provide some documentation to prove your identity.
If you are having issues unfreezing your credit or retrieving your PIN, your goal at that point is to gain access to your account. Heres how to get in touch with a live person at the major credit bureaus.
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When To Use A Credit Freeze
You should freeze your credit if you believe youve been the victim of identity theft or if your personal or financial information has been exposed in a data breach. Freezing your credit can help keep predators from opening new accounts in your name.
But this isnt the only time you should consider a credit freeze. If you want to help protect yourself from identity theft, you should keep your credit frozen at all times unless you are actively applying for a new credit card or loan. When you are applying for credit or debt, you can unfreeze your credit temporarily.
Make sure, though, that you freeze your credit at all three credit bureaus.
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When Should I Consider A Credit Freeze
You might consider a credit freeze if you know your information has been exposed in a data breach. Why? Cybercriminals may have accessed your personal information, which could be used to commit financial fraud.
Often, the exposed information which might include personally identifiable information like your name, address, date of birth, and Social Security number is sold on the dark web. If you think youve been a victim of identity theft, a credit freeze might be a smart move.
Other examples? You might also consider freezing your credit if you start to receive bills for credit accounts you didnt open. For instance, it could be a medical bill you dont recognize. Or you might receive calls from a collection agency seeking payment on a credit line you never opened. These are signs that youre a victim of identity theft.
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How To Set Up A Credit Freeze With Experian Online
Go to and click on “Add a security freeze,” then “Freeze my own credit file.”
Then fill out the online form, which will ask for your full name, current street address, Social Security number, date of birth and email address. You’ll get the option of choosing your own PIN or having one generated for you.
Once Experian is satisfied that you are you, you’ll be told that the credit freeze has been added. Make sure your write down your PIN.
What To Do With Unfrozen Credit
Use it! Unfrozen credit means you are free to apply for new credit cards, get approved for a mortgage, or apply for other credit products. If you found Snowcap.Me helpful or want to support our mission, shop our latest offers by clicking the button below.
Important note: Unfreezing your credit only at Experian may cause a new credit application to fail, if your Equifax or TransUnion credit files are still frozen. If you havent already done so, unfreeze your credit at Equifax and TransUnion to be certain a company can check your creditworthiness.
After you use your unfrozen credit, be sure to re-freeze your files so you are once again protected against major identity theft. You can use our freeze guides to re-freeze your credit. Without an account to sign into like the other bureaus, how to unfreeze your credit at Experian isnt as fast as the other bureaus.
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How To Unfreeze Your Credit Reports
In most states, a credit report freeze is in place until you request it be removed. You have two options for removing a credit freeze: either a temporary lift or removing it altogether. If you have a specific reason for removing a credit freeze, like those mentioned above, a temporary lift may be the smarter option.
The credit bureaus have three days to remove a freeze after youve submitted your request, and it may cost money to have a freeze temporarily removed. With each credit agency, the process differs slightly.
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When You Shouldnt Consider Freezing Your Credit
You should always have a good reason to freeze your credit, though you shouldn’t do it under these circumstances:
- Right before you apply for more credit: It takes a while to “thaw” your credit. Youre better off leaving your credit visible in case you’re in a situation where a credit check will occur.
- When no data hack or threat occurs: You may feel tempted to keep your credit frozen all the time until you need to apply for a loan. However, this tactic could backfire on you because you might lose out on a loan or job opportunity if you forget to unfreeze your credit.
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How To Keep Track Of Your Pin
If youre worried about losing your PIN, there are many ways to store it securely. According to Russell Schrader, former executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance, common PIN storage options include using a password manager, hiding it in your phone, writing it down on a piece of paper and putting it in a desk or keeping it in a document with other passwords thats stored on an external hard drive. Schrader explains the goal is to make it so that if somebody stumbles upon your PIN, they dont know what it is.
Since Experian and TransUnion both allow you to create your own PIN, you can choose numbers that are easy for you to remember but difficult for others to guess. Instead of choosing your birthday, for example, use the birthday of a favorite fictional character. Anything that makes your PIN a little more memorable can help.
When Is A Pin Necessary To Unfreeze Your Credit
The need for a PIN to unfreeze your credit depends on the specific credit bureau.
Both Equifax and TransUnion let you unfreeze your credit online without your PIN by entering your account username and password on their websites. While TransUnion requires a PIN to unfreeze your credit over the phone, there may be ways you can unfreeze your credit with Equifax over the phone without a PIN.
Experian is the only credit bureaus that requires a PIN to thaw a credit freeze regardless if you do it online, over the phone or by mail.
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How To Lift A Freeze On Your Credit Report To Apply For Apple Card
A credit freeze locks down your credit report so that no one can open a new account in your name without you knowing. If you know you’re going to have a credit check run, like when applying for Apple Card, you’ll need to first unfreeze your report. Different credit bureaus have slightly different methods, but it never affects your credit score. Here’s how.
How To Get A Credit Rating Report
You can unfreeze your credit report either temporarily or permanently. A temporary thawing makes your credit report available to creditors for a few days, while a permanent thawing makes it available until you choose to freeze it again. Unfreeze your credit report if you are applying for credit or employment and know that the creditors or employers will likely check your history. Plan ahead so your report is available for the search. Unfortunately, there is no central website to unfreeze credit reports for the three credit-reporting agencies so you must submit your request to each agency.
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For Credit Score Help
So many things in life hinge on your credit score. Thats why Experian lets you track your FICO Score for free when you create an account.
If you need help with your credit score, Experian customer service can help.
No need to search for the number we did the hard work for you.
A quick call to 866-617-1894 can get you the help you need.