You’ve Frozen Your Credit Report: Now, How to Thaw It

Written By Mary Beth Eastman
Last updated December 7, 2020

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November 26, 2018

Simple. Thrifty. Living.

Whether you’ve frozen your credit report because of a concern with fraud or some other important reason, you may be wondering what’s the next step to take. This becomes even more important to know when you want to simplify access to your credit report during times you need creditors to review it. Read this quick guide to learn when and how to “thaw” out your frozen credit report:

Unless you make a request to remove a credit freeze temporarily or completely, it remains in place. But there are times where you may want to lift the credit freeze. For example, you may want to unfreeze your credit report when you are looking to apply for a new line of credit, mortgage, car loan or any type of credit request where a company needs to verify your identity and check your credit history. If you initially froze your credit report due to identity theft concerns and you only need to unlock it temporarily, you should always request to freeze your account again.

Unfreezing or unlocking your credit report with the three major credit bureaus—Experian, Equifax and TransUnion—is free, as of September 21st, 2018. It requires that you put in a request with the credit bureaus separately. Each credit bureau has their own requirements for unlocking your credit report. For instance, Equifax requires that you fill out the request online and creating a myEquifax account while Experian requires a security PIN. You may also unfreeze your credit report via mail or by phone.

You’ll also need other personally identifiable information, such as your password, Social Security Number, date of birth, full name and address for verification purposes. While your account may be unfrozen in as short as 15 minutes, it can take up to three days to unlock your credit report. If you only want to request for an unlocked account temporarily, make sure you put in another request to freeze your account again. You can also specify a timeframe to unfreeze your credit report, such as for one week.

Freezing your credit report is a great way to reduce possible identity theft or fraud if you’re at risk. So is investing in an identity theft protection service. But when you need your credit report unlocked to access the best online loan opportunities, then it’s important to know what to do. By taking these steps, you can unfreeze your credit report successfully when you need it the most.

About the Author

Mary Beth Eastman

Mary Beth Eastman serves as the content manager for Simple. Thrifty. Living, where she is dedicated to helping readers use money and credit wisely. Mary Beth believes that access to the right financial information paired with a growth mindset are essential tools for getting out of debt and building wealth. Mary Beth has a degree in Journalism from Bowling Green State University and has focused her 20-year journalism career on putting readers front and center, carefully considering their concerns and presenting information that will help them in their everyday lives. She has won numerous statewide journalism awards. Her writing on personal finance as been featured on numerous websites in addition to Simple. Thrifty. Living, including Huffington Post and Lexington Law blog. Mary Beth resides in Pittsburgh, Pa., with her family and two rescue dogs.

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