How To Freeze and Unfreeze Your Credit With Experian, Equifax and TransUnion

Written by |

Money expert Clark Howard is a strong proponent of freezing your credit as a way to better protect your finances and keep your hard-earned money away from criminals. 

“A credit freeze is the best way to protect yourself from identity thieves,” says Clark.

When you hear “freeze your credit,” you may think it’s a complicated process, but it’s actually pretty simple. And best of all, freezing your credit is free!

In this article, we’ll show you how to place a security freeze on your credit with all three main credit reporting bureaus: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.

To freeze your credit, you have to contact each of the three major credit reporting agencies individually via online, the phone, or through the U.S. mail.

What Information Will I Need To Provide To Freeze My Credit?

To freeze your credit, you will need to give each credit bureau some information to prove your identity. This typically includes your:

  • Name
  • Previous name(s) (if applicable)
  • Address
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security number

You will also likely be asked some questions about prior places of residence and credit accounts you may have or have had in the past. This is all done to verify your identity.

Below you’ll find direct links to the credit freeze page for each credit bureau. In addition, we’ve included phone numbers and addresses.

How To Freeze Your Credit With Experian, Equifax and TransUnion

Credit BureauOnlineBy PhoneBy Mail
ExperianExperian Credit Freeze page888-EXPERIAN (888-397-3742)Experian Security Freeze
P.O. Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013
EquifaxEquifax Credit Freeze page888-298-0045Equifax Information Services, LLC
P.O. Box 105788
Atlanta, GA 30348
TransUnionTransUnion Credit Freeze page800-916-8800TransUnion
P.O. Box 160
Woodlyn, PA 19094

The quickest and easiest way to freeze your credit is online. To get started, you’ll need to create an account online with each of the credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. If you already have an online account, log on and click on the respective credit freeze page (see the links above) of each of the bureaus.

Important note: If you choose to request your credit freeze via mail, make sure you do so by certified mail. You can use this sample letter and be sure to include the necessary attachments.

TransUnion credit freeze page

Screenshot via


For example, when I logged onto my TransUnion account, I clicked on “Add a Freeze” and had to confirm my choice for it to take effect.

Once you freeze your credit, you will receive documentation, or if you make the request electronically, a notification, saying that your ability to open new lines of credit will be restricted.

How to freeze my credit with TransUnion.

Screenshot via

Freezing your credit online with the other two credit bureaus is pretty much the same process.

How Do I Lift, Unfreeze or Thaw My Credit Freeze?

To apply for a loan or open a new line of credit, you’ll need to unfreeze (some credit bureaus may use the terms “lift” or “thaw”) your credit with one or more of the credit bureaus, depending on which one your lender uses.

Here are all the contact points you need to unfreeze your credit:

Credit BureauOnlineBy PhoneBy Mail
ExperianExperian Credit Unfreeze page888-EXPERIAN (888-397-3742)Experian Security Freeze
P.O. Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013
EquifaxEquifax Credit Unfreeze page800-349-9960Equifax Information Services, LLC
P.O. Box 105788
Atlanta, GA 30348
TransUnionTransUnion Credit Unfreeze page888-909-8872TransUnion
P.O. Box 160
Woodlyn, PA 19094

Here are some important things to keep in mind when you go to lift your credit freeze:

  • If you unfreeze your credit online, you don’t need the PIN that you set up when you froze your credit.
  • If you choose to call the credit bureaus to have your freeze lifted, you will be asked for your PIN, but if you don’t remember it you can still unfreeze your credit by answering some ‘challenge’ questions.
  • If you request to lift your credit freeze by mail, you will be required to provide some documentation (like a driver’s license) to prove your identity.

When I unfroze my credit online with Equifax, I signed into my account and clicked on “Manage a Freeze.” When you do the same, you’ll have the option to:

  • Temporarily lift your credit freeze (With this option, you’ll have to fill in the dates).
  • Permanently lift your credit freeze.
Unfreeze my credit with Equifax.

Screenshot via

Whichever option you choose, click “Continue” for the credit thaw to take effect.


If you are having issues unfreezing your credit or retrieving your PIN, your goal at that point is to gain access to your account. Read our guide on how to get in touch with a live person at the major credit bureaus.

The credit thaw process online is very similar with Experian and TransUnion and takes just minutes. With both of them, you’ll get a confirmation screen that says your credit is unfrozen.

Unfreeze your credit with TransUnion

Screenshot via

With Experian, simply toggle the Frozen / Unfrozen button (see image below) to manage your credit freeze.

Unfreeze your credit with Experian.

Screenshot via

You can freeze, thaw and refreeze your credit anytime you like by following the steps above.

Common Credit Freeze Questions

Team Clark’s Consumer Action Center gets a lot of calls about freezing your credit. Here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions:

  • How long does it take before your credit freeze is activated? The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says that the agency must activate the freeze within one business day if you freeze your credit online or by phone. If you request online that your credit be thawed, the agency must lift the freeze within one hour. If requested by phone, it must be done within three business days, according to the FTC.
  • Will freezing my credit hurt my credit score? The short answer is “no.” Freezing your credit will not hurt your credit score at all.
  • Does freezing my credit affect my existing credit cards? No, freezing your credit does not affect your existing credit cards. You will still be able to use them as you have been. However, if you want to request a credit line increase from your credit card company, you may need to unfreeze your credit.
  • Can I still apply for a loan or a new line of credit with a credit freeze? Yes, but you’ll have to unfreeze (thaw) your credit temporarily. See the information above for how to do that.
  • What’s the difference between a credit freeze and a credit lock? There’s a big difference. A credit lock costs money and most cases shouldn’t be necessary if you freeze your credit. Read about a credit freeze vs. a credit lock.
  • Can I place a credit freeze for my child? Yes, you can. Read our step-by-step guide on how to freeze a child’s credit with all three main credit-reporting agencies.

Final Thoughts

As we said at the outset, freezing your credit is the most important step you can take to stop criminals from opening accounts in your name. But even with your credit frozen, you’ll still want to keep an eye out on your credit reports and scores.

That’s why Clark says that before you freeze your credit you should sign up for free credit monitoring with Credit Karma or Credit Sesame.

Sign up for these free tools to monitor your credit going forward to make sure your credit freeze is working as it should. Don’t pay for credit monitoring!


Experian, Equifax and TransUnion all offer credit monitoring services that cost money, but why pay when you can do it for free?

If you haven’t already frozen your credit, take a few moments today to get it done. The small amount of time you spend following these steps will be well worth it when you consider the peace of mind you’ll have going forward.

If you have more questions about freezing your credit, contact Clark’s free Consumer Action Center.