Millions of Americans placed a credit freeze or restricted access to their credit file in recent months to keep identity thieves at bay. Credit freezes keep any new creditors from seeing a consumer’s credit file, which makes it nearly impossible for hackers to open new accounts fraudulently. But a credit freeze can also be problematic for consumers when they are finally ready to consider new credit products and loans.
We’ve heard from credit unions and other lenders about sharing best practices to help streamline the process for consumers who want to permanently or temporarily lift the freeze to apply for a legitimate line of credit.
Following are the three ways to help clients with a frozen Experian report quickly and efficiently allow access.
Unfreeze account: This will remove the freeze entirely from the consumer’s credit report so that it may be accessed with the consumer’s permission. To do this, the consumer will need to contact Experian online, by phone or mail and provide his unique personal identification number (PIN) code—provided when the consumer froze his account—to un-freeze the report.
Thaw account: An action that will temporarily remove the freeze for a timeframe determined by the consumer. The consumer should contact Experian online, by phone, or mail and provide his unique PIN code to thaw the report.
Grant a creditor one-time access: A consumer may provide a different/temporary PIN to a lender to access the report just once. The PIN can be emailed to the consumer, presented on screen if the consumer is online, or provided on the phone or by mail.
Typically, a consumer’s request to thaw or un-freeze his credit file online or by phone will thaw or un-freeze the file within minutes.
Experian can be reached:
Mail: P.O. Box 9554, Allen, Texas 75013
Remember, if a consumer has a frozen credit file with all three credit reporting agencies, he will need to contact each agency to enable access to his report.