Q: What is a Credit Freeze?
A Credit Freeze is a block you can add to your consumer credit reports, which will prevent creditors from accessing your credit reports. Freezes must be placed at each of the Credit Bureaus individually and fees may be charged. (See more about fees below.)
Q: Why would I want to set up a Credit Freeze?
This is one way to help prevent anyone from opening fraudulent accounts using your personal information. The majority of creditors will need to access your credit report before finalizing an application for credit.
Q: What problems can a Credit Freeze create?
A Credit Freeze will prevent ALL access to your credit report, even applications you submitted. If you are planning on applying for a loan, credit card, mortgage, or need your credit run for rent, insurance or anything else, this might not be a good option for you. If you need to remove a Freeze, you can, but it may cause a delay in your application process and could cost you in fees. (More about this below.)
Removing a Freeze can take up to 3 days, according to the FTC, and that will delay the completion of your credit applications.
Q: How do I remove a Credit Freeze?
You can temporarily lift a Freeze or remove it permanently. You must request the removal with the individual credit bureau you want to unfreeze. Temporary lifts will be in effect for the time period you set and will unfreeze your report to ALL creditors trying to access your report during that time. The best practice is to make the temporary lift as short as possible, while still giving the creditor you authorized enough time to access your report. Check with individual creditors to see what their temporary lift guidelines are. (Fees may apply. See below.)
Q: If I don't want to UnFreeze my credit report, is there another way an authorized creditor get access to my report?
Yes. You can request a one-time PIN from the credit bureau, which you can provide to the creditor. They will then be able to access your credit report, but the report will remain frozen to everyone else. This is not an ideal option if you are shopping around for rates or need to apply for credit at multiple institutions. (Fees may apply. See below.)
Q: Will I have to Pay to Freeze or UnFreeze my credit report?
Charges and fees vary by Credit Bureau and State. For the majority of CJCU Members, who live in PA and NY, the answer is Yes, you will have to pay a fee. There are some exceptions for individuals who have been a victim of Identity Theft and for individuals meeting certain age requirements, but these also vary by Bureau and State.
We have set up a chart of fees* which will apply to the majority of our members and links for other states can be found below.