How do I unfreeze my credit?
You can unfreeze your credit by contacting each
credit bureau via an online account, by phone, or by mail.
The good news is a credit freeze isn’t permanent, and you can unfreeze your credit just as easily as you froze it initially. Quickly unfreezing your credit will come in handy when you want to open a new credit card, finance a car, or apply for a mortgage.
Here’s how to unfreeze credit at all three major credit bureaus and what documents to keep nearby while you begin unfreezing credit.
How to unfreeze your credit
There are two main ways to unfreeze your credit: a temporary lift or a permanent lift. Here’s how each option works:
- Temporary lifts allow creditors or companies to access your credit report during a specific date range and will automatically expire. Consider this option if you’re shopping for a mortgage, a car loan, or applying for a credit card.
- Permanent lifts allow lenders to access your credit report without your consent. If you’re applying for a loan, you may be able to ask the lender which credit bureau they will use and then only unfreeze that one.
Remember that a permanent lift may leave your credit more vulnerable to fraudulent activity or identity theft. If you’re worried about the security of your information, consider going with a temporary lift instead of a permanent removal.
How to remove an Equifax® credit freeze
Here’s how to unfreeze Equifax credit reports:
- Online: Sign up for or log in to your myEquifax account. Request the unfreeze by verifying your personal information, such as your Social Security number. You don’t need a PIN when you unfreeze your credit online.
- By phone: Call 800-349-9960. You’ll need to provide basic information and the 10-digit PIN you were assigned when you froze your credit.
- By mail: Complete this form, and mark that you want to unfreeze your credit. Next, send it to Equifax Information Services LLC, P.O. Box 105788, Atlanta, GA 30348-5788.
Now, let’s move on to how to unfreeze your credit at another popular credit bureau.
How to remove an Experian® credit freeze
Here’s how to unfreeze Experian credit reports:
- Online: Sign up and complete this form to remove a security freeze. You’ll need the 5-10 digit PIN that was given to you when you first put a freeze on your credit.
- By phone: Call 888-397-3742 and request to unfreeze your credit.
- By mail: Send a letter to Experian requesting to unfreeze your credit report to Experian Security Freeze, P.O. Box 9554, Allen, TX 75013.
Finally, let’s get warmed up to unfreezing your credit for one more credit bureau.
How to remove a Transunion® credit freeze
Here’s how to unfreeze Transunion credit reports:
- Online: Visit TransUnion’s Credit Freeze page, and click on the “Unfreeze” button. Create an account or log in to an existing account.
- By phone: Call 888-909-8872 and request to unfreeze your credit.
- By mail: Send a letter to TransUnion requesting to unfreeze your credit report to TransUnion, P.O. Box 160, Woodlyn, PA 19094.
The documents and methods to unfreeze your credit don’t vary too widely across these bureaus.
Information needed to unfreeze your credit
Before reaching out to unfreeze your credit, you’ll need to have access to the following personal information and documents:
- Full legal name
- Complete physical address
- Social Security number
- Proof of address
- Proof of identity
- Bank statement
Keep this information nearby for a quick and easy credit thawing process. If you attempt to unfreeze your credit by mail, you must send physical copies of these documents.
Tips for unfreezing your credit
The Federal Trade Commission recommends taking security measures to prevent and combat identity theft. Here are a few helpful security measures to consider while unfreezing credit:
- Set up fraud alerts by contacting a credit bureau.
- Subscribe to credit-locking services that require your approval to unlock.
- Give creditors access to specific lines of credit and keep others secure.
Remember that you can also temporarily thaw your credit and freeze it again once you open a new account or share your credit report.
Knowing how to unfreeze credit is an essential financial skill that can help protect your personal information. Now that you know how to unfreeze all three credit bureaus, consider learning about the security benefits of a credit lock.
FAQs about how to unfreeze credit
Still have questions about how to unfreeze credit? We’ve got answers.
How much does it cost to unfreeze my credit?
Due to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, federal law requires that both freezing and unfreezing your credit be free of charge to all consumers.
Will unfreezing my credit help my credit score?
The act of freezing or unfreezing your credit won’t affect your credit score. This doesn’t mean that your credit score can’t change while it’s frozen. There are many inputs that go into your credit score and can cause fluctuations including your amount of debt and the timeliness of your credit card payments on time.
How long does a credit freeze last if I don't request an unfreeze?
Can I apply for credit when my credit report is frozen?
When applying for new credit, you’ll have to unfreeze your credit to allow creditors to access your credit history. Even a soft credit pull requires that your credit be unfrozen. A soft credit check is when a creditor checks your score without lowering it, and a hard check is when your score can be affected. But, it’s free and easy to unfreeze your credit before applying for a new credit card or loan.
How soon after freezing my credit can I unfreeze it?
Freezing and unfreezing your credit can be done as often as you like, but remember that it usually takes an hour for the process to go through when submitting a request by phone or online. There’s no limit to how many times you can unfreeze your credit.