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The best way to remove (or "thaw") a credit freeze, also known as a security freeze, is to use a digital tool―a website or smartphone app―because that typically yields instant results. Removing a freeze by phone or mail is equally effective but may take longer.
How to Unfreeze Your Credit
Limiting access to all your credit files requires placing separate security freezes with each of the three national credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax). Unfreezing those credit files also requires communicating with each bureau individually and following its procedures for lifting a security freeze. The steps at each bureau are slightly different, as outlined below.
- Online: You can remove (and reactivate) a security freeze from your Experian credit report quickly and easily. If you have an Experian account, unfreeze your credit by logging in, clicking on "Help Center" and toggling the freeze status to "Unfrozen" or scheduling a future thaw. Experian will lift your freeze in real time. If you don't already have an Experian account, you can create a free account at Experian's Security Freeze Center to unfreeze your credit online. You can remove a credit freeze permanently or for a limited time (during a period when you may be applying for credit, for example).
- Mail: You can also request removal of an Experian security freeze by mail:
Experian Security Freeze
P.O. Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013
Removing a security freeze takes up to three days following receipt of your mailed request.
- Phone: Additionally, you can request removal of an Experian security freeze by calling 888-EXPERIAN (888-397-3742).
- Online: The simplest way to unfreeze your TransUnion credit report is online:
- On the TransUnion.com homepage, mouse over "Products" in the menu bar across the top of the screen, then click the "Freeze Credit Report" option in the right column of the pop-down menu.
- Click the "Unfreeze" button and you'll be directed to a login page for the TransUnion account you had to set up to freeze your TransUnion credit report. Enter your login credentials and you'll be shown a status page indicating your credit report is frozen.
- Click the "Remove Freeze" button to thaw your credit report indefinitely, or click the "Temporarily Lift Freeze" button to set a range of dates during which your credit report will be unfrozen.
- Phone: You may also unfreeze your TransUnion credit report by phone at 888-909-8872. To do so, you'll need the six-digit personal identification code (PIN) you created when you froze your credit report. If you lose the PIN, you'll either need to verify your identity with TransUnion or submit your request online.
- Mail: Requests to thaw your TransUnion credit report by mail should be directed to:
P.O. Box 160
Woodlyn, PA 19094
- Online: The quickest way to thaw an Equifax credit report is online:
- On the Equifax.com homepage, scroll down to the "Visit the Equifax Consumer Services Center" heading and click "Place or Manage a Freeze."
- On the Security Freeze page, click the "Manage a Freeze" button. You'll be directed to an MyEquifax account login page. Enter your username and password and you'll be shown your account dashboard.
- In the Credit Report Status on the right side of the page, click "Manage a Freeze."
- On the Freeze page, click the "Manage a Freeze" button.
- Click the "Temporarily lift a security freeze" option to set a range of dates during which your Equifax credit report will be unfrozen or click "Permanently remove a security freeze" to lift the freeze indefinitely.
- Phone: You may also request to unfreeze your Equifax credit file by phone, at 888-298-0045. You will need to provide information to verify your identity, receive a one-time PIN by text or answer questions based on information in your Equifax credit report.
- Mail: You can submit a request to thaw your Equifax credit file by mail to:
Equifax Information Services LLC
P.O. Box 105788
Atlanta, GA 30348-5788
When Do You Need to Remove a Credit Freeze?
A security freeze helps protect you from criminals looking to use your credit information, but also can limit legitimate reviews of your credit. You should unfreeze your credit reports any time you submit to a credit check. These instances could include:
- When you apply for a loan, such as an auto loan, mortgage loan or personal loan
- When you apply for a credit card
- When you permit a landlord or property manager to check your credit as part of a tenant-screening process
- When you authorize a prospective employer to check your credit as part of a pre-employment background check
Is It a Good Idea to Permanently Unfreeze Your Credit?
It's quick and easy to remove a security freeze, and your decision whether to do so largely depends on why you froze your credit in place to begin with.
If you froze your credit purely as a precaution, or because you knew you would not be authorizing access to your credit files for an extended period, then it's probably fine to lift the freeze permanently if you are now actively seeking credit.
If you froze your credit reports because you were a victim of credit fraud or believe your personal information was stolen or abused, then consider making your credit thaw temporary.
The Bottom Line
Your right to remove a security freeze (and to activate one in the first place) is guaranteed by law, and online tools make the process quicker and easier than ever. A freeze can be an important tool for preventing identity theft and protecting your hard-earned credit history. If you're concerned that your personal information has been compromised, free credit monitoring, which alerts you to any attempts to access your Experian credit report, is an additional safeguard worth considering.