US House Passes Bill to Make Credit Freezes Free

May 23, 2018

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A bill passed by the US House of Representatives on Tuesday includes a provision that makes it free for consumers to freeze their credit.

Currently, there’s a cost — ranging from $2 and $10, depending on where you live — for freezing your credit. However, with the new legislation passed on Tuesday and that now goes to President Donald Trump’s desk for approval, you can place, lift and permanently remove credit freezes for free no matter where you live.

The new legislation requires consumer credit rating companies to fulfill your freeze request within one business day if made online or over the phone, or within three business days if the request was made via mail.

Credit freezes can seem confusing, but they’re not. The Federal Trade Commission defines a credit freeze as:

“Also known as a security freeze, this tool lets you restrict access to your credit report, which in turn makes it more difficult for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name. That’s because most creditors need to see your credit report before they approve a new account. If they can’t see your file, they may not extend the credit.”

In order to freeze your credit report, you’ll need to contact each of the three major credit reporting agencies, Equifax (1-800-349-9960), Experian (1-888-397-3742) and TransUnion (1-888-909-8872). There’s no impact on your credit score. Once you’ve requested to freeze your report, each agency will send you a confirmation letter with a unique PIN or password. It’s vital you keep the PIN or password in a safe space, as it’ll be needed when you want to unfreeze your report.

Following the massive Equifax data breach of 2017, many called on Congress to make freezes free. Less than one year after the hack, which exposed the personal information of more than 146 million Americans, the potential for free credit freezes seems imminent. Once the bill is signed, freezing your credit will be free after about four months.

As CNN Money reports, following the Equifax hack, the agency made it free for users to freeze their credit until June 2018.

Featured image by mixetto/Getty Images.

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