How to Set Up a Credit Freeze

Quick Look

  • To set up a freeze on your credit, you need to do it with each of the three major credit reporting agencies.
  • There is no cost but their website may try to upsell you into a paid product.
  • Below are the links to the credit freeze pages for the three agencies.
    1. Equifax
    2. Experian
    3. TransUnion


A credit freeze is a great way to protect your online identity and ensure identity thieves can’t open loans or lines of credit in your name.

How Credit Freezes Work

A credit freeze blocks a potential lender from accessing your credit file. Since lenders always check your credit score before issuing any kind of credit, if they encounter a “freeze”, they’ll ask for the freeze to be removed before proceeding with the application. 

When you create a credit freeze, you’ll have to create a secret pin code or a free account with the credit reporting bureau. Then, only through that account and/or with the pin code can the freeze be lifted.

If you are asked to create a pin (or if you receive an automatically assigned pin/authorization code) make sure to store this in a secure place. Since most password managers allow you to store secure notes, this is a great place to do that.

Obviously, when you’re applying for any kind of credit, you will want potential lenders to be able to access your credit file so your application can proceed smoothly. Fortunately, you can “unfreeze” your credit for a set period of time. So, if you’re shopping for a mortgage or the best credit card deal for a few weeks, set that as an “unfreeze” timeframe. Then once that time period is up, it will automatically “refreeze.” This saves you the trouble of having to remember to put the freeze back on.

What’s the difference between a “credit freeze” and “credit lock?”

A credit freeze is something that you’re legally entitled to for free from all the credit bureaus. Credit freezes are regulated by federal law. A credit “lock” is a private product – often bundled with other identity theft services. In theory, a credit lock can give you the ability to briefly allow a lender to see your credit file momentarily and then allow for an immediate return to the “lock” state. However, this is pretty easy to do with a credit freeze as well once you have your pin number or account.

If you find offers bundled with the credit lock compelling, feel free to opt-in. But for most people they don’t get you much you’re not already entitled to for free.


  1. Go to each credit bureaus website and set up your freeze.
  2. Add your account information and/or credit freeze pin (if required) to your password manager for each of the accounts.

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