Summary: An Experian credit freeze is a free and easy way to secure your credit file. Learn how to freeze and unfreeze your credit to protect against identity theft and credit fraud.
An Experian credit freeze is a simple option to keep your identity safe and your credit history unscathed.
Even if a fraudster has your sensitive information - like your Social Security number and your birthdate - you can put a stop to criminal activity before it starts.
Sounds good, right?
But wait... there’s more.
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With Experian, a credit freeze is easy to put into place and it won’t cost you a dime.
Here’s how to set it in motion and do an Experian credit freeze lift if you need to unfreeze your credit.
What Is A Credit Freeze?
A credit freeze, sometimes called a security freeze, is a free tool to help you protect yourself from credit fraud and identity theft. It puts a lock on your credit file that makes opening new accounts in your name nearly impossible.
A freeze lasts a full year, although you can unfreeze your account at any time.
It lets businesses know they should double-check with you before opening a new account.
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6 Reasons You Might Need An Experian Credit Freeze
Why get a security freeze?
Here are six reasons why you might want one:
You’ve been a victim of identity theft or credit fraud
You suspect identity theft or credit fraud
You get a notice that your personal information was compromised in a data breach
New accounts or inquiries you know nothing about appear on your credit report
Bills or collection notices you don’t recognize start showing up
You notice unauthorized withdrawals or transfers from your bank accounts
If you experience any of those things, you need to take action… and fast.
Payment history is the number one component of your credit score, accounting for 35% of your score.
Disputing the information yourself is pretty straightforward.
In fact, we walk you through how to do it and even provide free credit dispute templates you can use.
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How To Do Experian Credit Lock Free Online
Now it’s time to go through the steps to set up an Experian credit freeze. But before we do, there are two things you should know.
First, a freeze doesn’t do anything to your existing accounts.
You’ll still be able to use bank accounts and credit cards that are already open.
Second, locking your credit won’t prevent misuse of your current accounts, either.
Now that that’s out of the way, here’s how to request an Experian security freeze.
Step 1: Request A Freeze
Locking your credit file online is easy when you visit Experian’s Freeze Center. Once you’re there, click Add a security freeze and then Freeze my own credit file.
Step 2: Complete The Form
You’ll be directed to an online form that asks for your personal information, such as your name, address, Social Security number, and date of birth.
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A lot of people make the mistake of tracking their VantageScore, the free score you get from Credit Karma. However, 90% of lenders use your FICO score when making lending decisions. MyFICO is the best place to get your FICO scores.
Step 3: Create A PIN
Now, this next part is important.
When you set up a security freeze, you also set up a Personal Identification Number (PIN).
Don’t lose this number!
Experian requires your PIN to remove the freeze from your credit report.
Step 4: Submit
After you’ve filled out the form, click Submit.
That’s all there is to it.
Pretty easy, right?
What If You Don't Want To Request A Freeze Online
An online freeze request is the easiest and most straightforward option to lock your credit file.
But if you don’t want to submit an Experian security freeze online, you can request it by phone at 1-888-EXPERIAN (1-888-397-3742).
You can also submit it in writing and mail your request to:
Experian Security Freeze
P.O. Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013
If you’re doing it by mail, just make sure to include:
- Your full name
- Social Security number
- Address history for the past two years
- Date of birth
- Copy of government-issued ID card
- Copy of utility bill or bank statement
How To Unfreeze (or Lift) Your Experian Credit Freeze
If you want to apply for a loan or open a new credit card, you must unfreeze your credit report.
But don’t sweat it.
Unfreezing your credit is a breeze, and you can do it any time with an Experian credit freeze lift.
The quickest way to do it is to visit Experian’s Freeze Center online and select Remove or lift a security freeze.
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The form is almost exactly the same as the one you filled out to request the freeze, so you should have no trouble filling it out.
But here’s the thing…
You don’t have to lift the freeze permanently!
You can do a temporary Experian unfreeze that automatically resets itself after a specific date.
If you’d rather call Experian to unlock your credit file, just dial the number above.
And don’t forget…
You’ll need to have your PIN handy!
The Bottom Line
Freezing your credit is a simple way to safeguard yourself against identity theft and credit fraud. It’s especially helpful if you’ve already been a victim of identity theft.
However, you shouldn’t wait until you’re a victim to take action.
Remember: Credit freezes are free and they don’t hurt your credit score.
Plus, locking and unlocking your credit is as easy as the click of a button if you do it online.
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So what are you waiting for?
If you haven’t already put an Experian credit freeze in place, take a few minutes to do it today. It can give you peace of mind knowing there’s an extra layer of protection between you and credit fraud.
And if you need some help repairing your credit, don’t hesitate to reach out to a credit repair company for expert advice.
*A recent nationwide survey by Credit Knocks showed 48% of credit repair clients got a 100+ credit score gain if they stayed with their company for at least 6 months.
By Amy Beardsley