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 to decide 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. Your score will continue to rise and fall depending on how responsible you are with your credit.
What a Credit Freeze Will NOT Do
There are some other important things that freezing your credit will not change, according to the Federal Trade Commission:
- It won’t prevent you from getting your free annual credit report.
- Freezing your credit 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 may need to lift the freeze temporarily and place it again when you’re finished accessing your credit. You can do all of this for free.
- It won’t stop criminals from accessing your existing accounts, so you need to continue to keep a close eye on your statements for fraudulent activity. The easiest way to monitor your accounts is to sign up for free credit monitoring with Credit Karma or Credit Sesame. (Note: You’ll have to thaw your credit temporarily to sign up for credit monitoring.)
- Freezing your credit won’t automatically stop you from getting pre-screened credit offers. Call 888-5OPTOUT (888-567-8688) to stop those offers.
When it comes to freezing your credit, there really isn’t any downside, and it won’t impact your credit score.
Even lifting the freeze when you need to access your credit and freezing it again takes mere minutes. And that’s certainly worth it for the peace of mind of knowing you’re protected from criminals who could ruin your financial life.