How to Lift a Security Credit Freeze from Each of the 3 Major Credit Bureaus

Credit puzzle piecesIdentity theft has been a growing concern for consumers over the past decade, as more activities become Internet-based. Shopping, banking and applying for credit can all be done online, making it a challenge to fully protect yourself from the malicious intent of identity thieves. However, there are tools in place meant to protect you from having your information used for the benefit of someone else, including a credit freeze.

What is a Credit Freeze?

The process of freezing your credit provides a barrier between your personal credit file and an identity thief. By placing a credit freeze on each of your credit reports held with the three major credit bureaus TransUnion, Equifax and Experian, new applications for credit cannot be approved because creditors are unable to view your credit file and history. A credit freeze is powerful because even when a criminal gathers your personal information, he or she has no way to use it to open a new account. A credit freeze does not have an impact on your current credit accounts, and it can be thawed or lifted when necessary.

Why Would I Lift a Credit Freeze?

The process of enacting a credit freeze on your credit file involves the creation of a unique personal identification number (PIN) with each of the three major credit bureaus. This PIN can be used to temporarily or permanently thaw or lift a credit freeze when a new, legitimate application for credit is submitted. Because credit decisions cannot be made without a full review of your credit file and history, you may want to lift a credit freeze when you are applying for a new credit card, personal loan, mortgage or line of credit. Once the application is approved, you can reinstate the credit freeze if you deem it necessary.

Considerations

While a credit freeze is an important tool in protecting your identity and financial life, it should be used with care. Each bureau assesses a fee for implementing a freeze if you are not a victim of identity theft. It also costs to lift a credit freeze, whether permanent or temporary. Current victims of identity theft, however, are able to freeze a credit file and lift it as necessary at no cost. Prior to implementing a freeze or lift, you should weight the total cost of doing so against the benefits this tool provides.

Credit Freeze Lift Process

Each of the three major credit bureaus have similar procedures for lifting a credit freeze. Here are the instructions for Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

Equifax

You can lift a credit freeze from your credit file with Equifax by one of the following:

  • Request it with your PIN via the website.
  • Call the automated system at (800) 349-9960.
  • Mail your request to Equifax Security Freeze, P.O. Box 105788, Atlanta, Georgia 30348. Include your 10 digit PIN and two forms of identification.

You can mention specific creditors you would like to have access to your credit file, or permanently remove the freeze if necessary. Costs to lift a credit freeze with Equifax vary by state.

Experian

You can lift a credit freeze from your credit file with Experian using one of the following ways:

  • Request it using your PIN on the website.
  • Calling a customer service representative or using the automated system at 888-397-3742.
  • Mail your request via certified mail to Experian Security Freeze, P.O. Box 9554, Allen, TX 75013, or by overnight mail to Experian, 701 Experian Parkway, Allen, TX 75013. Be sure to include your PIN and a couple of forms of ID.

You can provide the specific creditors you would like to have access to your credit file, or permanently remove the freeze if necessary. Costs to lift a credit freeze with Experian vary by state.

TransUnion

You can lift a credit freeze from your credit file with TransUnion using any of the following methods:

  • Request the lift with your PIN via the website.
  • By calling a customer service representative at 888-909-8872.
  • Mail your lift or removal request to TransUnion Fraud Victim Assistance, P.O. Box 2000, Chester, PA 19022-2000. Include your Personal Identification Number and other documentation such as your ID.

You can provide information on the specific creditors you would like to have access to your credit file, or permanently remove the freeze if necessary. Costs to lift a credit freeze with TransUnion vary by state.

Posted on February 27, 2017 by in Credit Monitoring

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Comments & Discussion



4 Responses to “How to Lift a Security Credit Freeze from Each of the 3 Major Credit Bureaus”


maqubela mxolisi October 4, 2016

Could you please check my credit report, so that I can be able to pay if there is any company I am owing?

Wes October 4, 2016

Hi Maqubela,
Unfortunately we don’t do that here, but can request a copy of each of your credit reports through annualcreditreport.com

Dorothy Sanders Shad April 3, 2017

I have lost my file on the freeze Put on my accountas part of the IRS issue the state of SC several years ago. I want it lifted. What can I do?

Wes April 3, 2017

Hi Dorothy, have you tried any of the methods listed in the article? You will need to contact each of the credit bureaus individually. Let us know if you have trouble.