The quickest and easiest way to unfreeze your credit report is to contact the credit bureau (or bureaus) you used to freeze your credit either online or by phone. But you also have the option to contact them by mail.
If you froze your credit report with each of the major credit bureaus — Experian®, Equifax® and TransUnion® — you'll need to contact all three individually. You may also need the PIN or password you received when you initially froze your credit.
Keep in mind, a credit freeze and credit lock are different. Make sure you know the differences between freezing credit and locking credit.
How do I unfreeze my credit report?
There are two options for unfreezing your credit report:
- Temporarily lift credit freeze: Allows a creditor to check your file for a set period of time then refreezes your credit
- Permanently remove credit freeze: Leaves your report open unless you request another credit freeze
How long does it take to lift a credit freeze?
If you make the request online or by phone, the three major credit bureaus are required to lift the freeze within an hour. The request can be done by mail, but note that this is a longer process. The credit bureaus, however, are required to remove the freeze within three business days of receiving notice.
If you are making the request on behalf of a minor, note that submitting a request to lift a credit freeze can only be done by mail.
Ways to unfreeze credit
To unfreeze your credit, you have to put in a request with each major credit bureau.
Have your name, address and Social Security Number handy so you're able to provide all your information. Here's how to unfreeze your credit with each major credit bureau:
- Online: Experian® doesn't require you to create an account to lift a credit freeze. Simply fill out their remove a security freeze form.
- By phone: Call 1-800-493-1058
- Online: Start by creating a MyEquifax™ account if you haven't already. From there, you can unfreeze your credit, check on the status of your request, or make a new request to freeze your credit if you need to. With Equifax®, you no longer need the 10-digit security freeze PIN to manage your credit freeze.
- By phone: Call 1-866-349-5191
- Online: Create a TransUnion® account online or by using the myTransUnion™ app.
- By phone: Call 1-800-916-8800
When should you unfreeze your credit?
You should unfreeze your credit before you apply for a new line of credit. Some examples include when you're house hunting, opening a store credit card or are looking to get a car loan. In order to qualify, the lender will need to pull your credit report to see if you qualify. If your credit report is still frozen, they won't have access and you are likely unable to get the loan you may need.
Does it cost anything to remove a credit freeze?
Both freezing your credit and lifting a credit freeze are free, as per the Fair Credit Reporting Act.