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How to Lift or Cancel a Credit Freeze

How to Lift or Cancel a Credit Freeze
From Lifehacker - September 15, 2017

If youre one of the 143 million people affected by the Equifax breach, youve likely been considering putting a freeze on your credit report. A credit (or security) freeze restricts access to your credit file so thieves cant open a new line of credit in your name. For those who have never tangled with the byzantine structure of freezes and fraud alerts and credit monitoring before, putting a freeze on their credit may seem easy enough, but what about removing the freeze? Heres what you need to know about how to lift or cancel a credit freeze.

Whats the difference between lifting and canceling a credit freeze?

If you want to open a new line of credit, apply for a loan, rent an apartment, apply for a job, or otherwise make your credit report available, you can temporarily lift or thaw your credit. You tell the credit reporting agency how long you want your freeze lifted, and after this period, the freeze goes back into effect.

When you cancel a credit freeze, thats itits over. Your credit file is once again available for regular inquiries from creditors, lenders and the like.

Do credit freezes expire?

In most states, credit freezes are permanent until the consumer requests a temporary lift or cancellation. In a few states, credit freezes expire after seven years. Check your states security freeze legislation here.

In order to thaw a credit freeze, do I have to contact all credit agencies?

Unless you can find out which of thecredit agencies a potential lender or employer uses, yes. If you have set up a freeze more than one credit agency, you have to get in touch with each one individually to remove the freeze.

How long does it take to remove a credit freeze?

It can usually be done over the phone or online within about 15 minutes. However, given the onslaught of confused consumers that the credit agencies have been facing since the Equifax hack, be prepared for it to take longer. Legally, credit reporting agencies have up to three business days to lift a freeze.

Can I specify which creditors I want to have access to my credit report during a lift?

Yes. You can specify a length of time for which you want your credit freeze lifted, or you can grant one-time access to your credit files to specific businesses.

If I want to temporarily thaw my credit, how long should I do it for?

It depends on who will be checking your credit. A week should be enough time in most instances, but check with the lender, creditor, employer et. al. and try to get a sense of when they will be doing the credit check so you can be sure youve allotted enough time.

How much does it cost to lift or cancel a credit freeze?

This varies by state. Equifax has waived the cost to remove a credit freeze until Nov. 21.

What happens if I forget to lift or cancel a freeze and a creditor requests my file?

The creditor will receive notification that your file is frozen.

OK, Im ready to lift or cancel my credit freeze. How do I do it?

Contact each agency where youve frozen your credit. Use your PIN to thaw your file on their website, call them, or make your request by mail. In any case, youll likely need to provide your name, address, Social Security number, date of birth, proof of identification, your PIN, and in some cases, payment. If you decide to remove your freeze by mail, check with each agency to see what info they require.

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