Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations.
You can contact Equifax®, Experian®, or TransUnion® online, over the phone, or by mail to unfreeze your credit. The process is free, but it may take up to an hour to fully take effect.
Someone might freeze their credit for several reasons, including identity theft concerns. However, they’ll eventually need to unfreeze their credit by contacting the three credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
In this guide, we’ll show you how to unfreeze credit with each bureau—and we’ll answer a few common questions about unfreezing credit. You’ll also learn how to monitor your credit more effectively long-term.
Someone who’s experienced identity theft can unfreeze their credit after the authorities have helped them resolve their case. Conversely, someone who plans to apply for a new credit card or secure a loan will want to unfreeze their credit beforehand. In general, one must unfreeze their credit to let trustworthy sources verify their identity and credit history.
There are two ways to unfreeze your credit—temporarily or permanently. You might temporarily lift a freeze if you need to apply for a loan or a credit card. Conversely, you might opt to permanently unfreeze your credit after you’ve resolved an outstanding identity theft case. Knowing how each unfreezing method works can help you decide which suits your needs.
- Temporary Unfreeze Credit: Temporarily unfreezing or “thawing” credit allows creditors to check your profile for a set time. The precise length of a thaw will vary from one state to the next. Kentucky, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, and South Dakota impose a seven-year time limit on credit thaws, while the limits of other states are essentially indefinite.
- Permanently Unfreeze Credit: Permanently removing a credit freeze returns your credit profile back to normal. If you want to freeze your credit in the future, you’ll have to individually contact the three bureaus once again.
Equifax lets clients freeze and unfreeze their credit online, by mail, or over the phone.
- Online: Create a “my Equifax,” visit the “Equifax Consumer Services Center,” then select “Security Freeze.”
- Mail: Download and fill out Equifax’s security freeze request form, then mail the document (along with proof of identity and proof of address items) to the following address:
- Equifax Security Freeze, P.O. Box 105788, Atlanta, GA 30348.
- Phone: Call 888-298-0045, then verify your identity through security questions or a one-time PIN number.
Experian offers three ways to freeze and unfreeze your credit—mail, online, and over the phone.
- Online: Create an account on Experian.com, hover over “Protection,” then select “Security freeze” under “Identity Theft Support”.
- Mail: Send your written request (and a copy of an ID and a utility bill) to the following address:
- Experian Security Freeze, P.O. Box 9554, Allen, TX 75013.
- Phone: Call 888-397-3742, then wait to speak with a representative.
Like Equifax and Experian, TransUnion also provides three ways to freeze and unfreeze your credit.
- Online: Make a TransUnion Service Center Account, then choose “Freeze Credit Report” under the “Services” tab.
- Mail: Ship your written request, proof of identity, and a six-digit PIN number to the following address:
- TransUnion, P.O. Box 160, Woodlyn, PA 19094.
- Phone: Call 800-916-8800, then prepare to provide your six-digit PIN number.
Freezing and unfreezing credit isn’t exactly a common practice, so it’s no surprise when people have a lot of questions about the process. Thankfully, some of the most common credit freeze questions have fairly straightforward answers.
The credit bureaus can unfreeze your account as soon as they receive your request. It’s worth noting that it may take an hour or more for your credit report to be fully updated.
No, a freeze won’t negatively or positively affect your credit score in and of itself. Creditors won’t be able to access your credit report, but you also won’t be able to apply for new loans or cards while your credit is frozen.
You can freeze and unfreeze your credit as often as needed. However, you will have to repeat the unfreezing process with the corresponding bureaus.
Placing and removing a credit freeze is completely free every time. Neither Equifax, Experian, nor TransUnion will charge you for submitting a request or creating an account on their websites.
You Might Also Like
March 7, 2023
March 6, 2023