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Does Freezing Your Credit File Affect Other Accounts

Dear Experian,

I just lost my driver’s license and am considering putting a security freeze on my credit files. Would placing a freeze on my credit files interfere with me using my credit card, either online, at shops or for the services that are automatically billed to my credit card each month?

– DBH

Dear DBH,

Placing a security freeze on your credit won’t affect how you use your current credit accounts. Any credit cards or other accounts you currently have will continue to function the same way as they always have, and automatic payments will continue to be processed as usual.

The purpose of a security freeze is to prevent businesses from accessing your credit file as a result of new applications for credit or other services. If someone were to try to apply for credit using your identification information, the company would be unable to access your credit report when processing the application unless you first lift the freeze.

When you freeze your credit report, you are given a PIN, or personal identification number. Before applying for credit, you would first need to lift your freeze using the PIN.

Freezes can be lifted on either a permanent or a temporary basis. You would also have the option of providing a temporary, single-use PIN to the company with which you wish to apply.

Freezing a file is an extreme step that often proves more inconvenient than protective. Before adding a freeze, consider requesting an initial security alert. Because you are at risk of fraud, you can also request a free credit report.

If there is no sign of fraud in your report, you might not need to take additional action. The alert will warn lenders that you are at risk of fraud and ask that they take action to verify your identity before granting credit in your name.

The alert will give you time to request a new license and, perhaps, a chance to find your old one or have it returned.

To learn more about fraud alerts and freezes visit Experian’s Fraud Center and Freeze Center.

Thanks for asking.
The “Ask Experian” team

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