How To Freeze Your Credit

A credit score, however, sums up a borrower’s likelihood to repay debts. But, on top of knowing where one ranks (scores can range from ‘very poor’ to ‘excellent’), one extra thing to grasp is how to freeze your credit.

What Is A Credit Freeze?

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), a credit freeze, also known as a security freeze, lets individuals limit access to their individual credit report (which differs from a FICO® score).

What Does Freezing Credit Actually Do?

A “credit freeze” does not actually freeze all outstanding accounts, such as credit cards and loans. Instead, it simply limits others from viewing a person’s credit reports.

Freezing Credit: What’s The Process?

Typically, the agencies ask for a Social Security number, birth date, and other information confirming a person’s identity prior to freezing the account. The bureaus will then give the person a password, which they may use to unfreeze their account.

Does Freezing Credit Cost Anything?

Happily, it costs nothing to freeze and unfreeze one’s credit. In 2018, the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act , mandated that credit bureaus offer the service for free to everyone. 

Differences Between A Credit Lock And A Credit Freeze

A credit lock works in much the same way as a credit freeze. But, a credit lock can come with a bit more convenience—as borrowers can opt to open and close their locked credit via an app (rather than needing to reach out to each credit bureau with their password to unfreeze).

When To Consider A Credit Freeze:

It’s really up to individual consumers and their own risk tolerance to decide when it’s time to freeze their credit report. However, if a person isn’t actively shopping for a loan or a new credit card it may be a good idea to freeze credit preemptively.  

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