A credit freeze, which is also sometimes called a security freeze, is a way of locking down your credit reports, which makes it nearly impossible for criminals to open new accounts in your name. This is because most creditors need to look at those reports in order to make the decision whether to extend you credit or not.
We here at Team Clark know that thousands of you have already frozen your credit or are considering it, in part because of all of the questions we get from people related to credit freezes. Chief among those questions is: “Can freezing my credit hurt my credit score?”
Does freezing your credit hurt your credit score?
Freezing your credit has no direct impact on your credit score. It certainly will not lower it. Indirectly, freezing your credit can actually help improve your credit score (or at least keep it from dropping) because it prevents unwanted credit lines from being opened in your name.
A credit freeze also does not “freeze” your credit score where it is. It will continue to rise and fall depending on how responsible you are with your credit.
What a credit freeze won’t do
There are some other important things that freezing your credit won’t have any affect on, according to the Federal Trade Commission:
- Freezing your credit won’t prevent you from getting your free annual credit report
- It won’t prevent you from opening new accounts yourself, applying for a job, renting an apartment, or getting insurance. However, to do any of these things you’ll need to temporarily lift the freeze and place it again when you’re finished accessing your credit. This is all free to do.
- Freezing a credit won’t stop criminals from accessing your existing accounts, so you’ll need to continue to keep a close eye on your statements for fraudulent activity.
- It won’t automatically stop you from getting pre-screened credit offers. If you’d like to opt out of those, see our guide here.
When it comes to freezing your credit, there really isn’t any downside — and it certainly won’t impact your credit score.
Even lifting the freeze when you need to access your credit and freezing it again takes mere minutes — which is certainly worth it for the peace of mind you’ll having knowing that you’re protected from criminals who could ruin your financial life.
More stories you might enjoy from Clark.com:
- How to freeze your credit with Equifax, Experian and TransUnion
- What is a good credit score?
- 5 sneaky ways to improve your credit score