Unfreeze credit: Overview
In the previous post, we went through the steps to freeze our credit. We did this to protect ourselves.
As the Federal Trade Commission states: “Also known as a security freeze, this free tool lets you restrict access to your credit report, which in turn makes it more difficult for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name. That’s because most creditors need to see your credit report before they approve a new account. If they can’t see your report, they may not extend the credit.”
But what happens if we apply for a new loan or credit card?
If we now want to apply for a new loan or credit card and submit the application when we have a credit freeze, we will most likely be denied immediately. Yes, the credit freeze that has been offering us protection, is now preventing us from being approved.
The bank needs our credit reports, so let’s unfreeze our credit.
Just like we placed a freeze on our credit with each credit bureau, we will now need to unfreeze our credit with each credit bureau. We may hear or read terms: unfreeze, lift, or thaw. The good news is that we can go to all three and unfreeze for FREE.
P.S. We may be able to save a little time if the bank we are using will tell us the specific bureau they use. The problem is that many banks use all three and may choose anyone at a given time.
- Go to the TransUnion website.
- You can call: 1-888-909-8872
- Click “LIFT OR REMOVE AN EXISTING FREEZE”
- Lift will remove the freeze temporarily for a period of time
- Remove will remove the freeze permanently
- Then keep going. For example, if we are on a computer, click “Manage Freeze”
- The TransUnion wizard walks us through a few more steps to choose the time period for the lift.
- Go to the Equifax website.
- or call: 1-888-836-6351
- When we set up a freeze with Equifax, we didn’t need to create an account. But, we do need one for the freeze lift.
- Click “Get started” and walk through the wizard to create an account and ultimately lift a freeze.
- Note: if we have lifted a freeze before, then we’ll skip the “Get started” and instead log in to our Equifax account.
- Note: one time when I chose to lift a freeze, the system had errors, so I had to call Equifax. I was pleasantly surprised: they answered the call within a few minutes. But be prepared: they ask many questions to verify we’re legitimate (date of birth, social security number, and other personal info).
- Go to the Experian website.
- or call: 888-397-3742
- Choose “Remove or lift a security freeze”
- There is one page to fill out. We input our pin.
- Choose Temporary lift or
- Permanent lift.
- Done! We will get a confirmation screen that will say “Security freeze successfully removed” and the dates for the lift.
Freeze – Unfreeze credit
The great thing is that we can both freeze and unfreeze our credit. We can take steps to protect ourselves and still apply for loans.