Posted by Chuck on March 11, 2018
Credit Reports

Published on March 11th, 2018 | by Chuck

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Bipartisan Bill to Prevent Credit Bureaus from Charging Fees for Freezing and Unfreezing your Credit Report

A bipartisan Senate bill, slated to be approved this week, will prohibit credit bureaus from charging for freezing or unfreezing your credit report. The bill would require credit-reporting agencies to institute a freeze within three days of request and unfreeze within an hour. If the bill becomes law, it would amount to at least one positive outcome of the massive Equifax data breach last year. (CNBC | WSJ)

One important way to limit credit fraudsters from signing up for accounts using your identity is to freeze the credit reports under your name, making it impossible for banks to approve a new account. The credit reports most often utilized are Experian, Equifax, and Transunion, though there’s also a Chex Systems credit report which is often used for bank account approvals.

It’s possible to freeze and unfreeze your credit report on whim; currently there is a fee in most states (typically $5 or $10) to freeze or unfreeze or both. Equifax has only waived these fees until July, and the proposed bill would make it obligatory that all credit bureaus forever allow freezes and unfreezes at no cost, either electronically or by mail.

Both Equifax and Transunion already have a free option to ‘lock’ your report. Basically, a lock is the same thing as a freeze, but it’s not government mandated so the can, for example, use it as a platform to up-sell products within the locking process. Transunion has apparently been offering this for a while under the name TrueIdentity, and Equifax rolled this feature out in response to the breach under the name Lock and Alert. Again, these products are not government regulated, and can be changed or used at the bureau’s fancy. Chex Systems does allow free credit freezes.

This bill is certainly a step in the right direction in terms of empowering consumers. There’s no question it’s a pain to remember freezing and unfreezing at each application. Part of the difficulty is the way there are three unique bureaus. Would be much more real if there was a single united login where someone can freeze or unfreeze their credit, but that’s probably not realistic.



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Lea
Lea

I freezed my report several times on experian and they never asked me for any fee

Jefferson
Jefferson

The fees are state specific. Some states have no fees.

Lea
Lea

NY.
It says NY should pay but It never asked me for it .

Jefferson
Jefferson

Also identity theft victims get it free.
Other than that, no clue. Maybe they like you. 🙂

Redrotors
Redrotors

According to the WSJ article on this issue NY is one of 8 states that don’t allow fees for freeze/unfreeze even w/o identity theft report.

Kent C
Kent C

No, NY doesn’t pay.

Paris
Paris

Good news…One step forward 🙂

tribesman55
tribesman55

Make those Experian jerks conform!

Jefferson
Jefferson

I never understand this excitement of making freezing/unfreezing easier, which is what eliminating fees does. What’s stopping the hackers then from unfreezing your reports AND applying for credit, vs just applying? $5 might just be enough to deter them.

Besides, in our business we get much more benefit from each credit application that I gladly pay $5 or $10 to unfreeze.

J. Grant
J. Grant

Have you ever frozen your credit report?

Last time I froze my report with Experian, I was given a code that I would need to use to un-freeze the report. I suppose unless somebody hacks into my computer, or Experian’s computers, there’s no way for somebody to un-freeze my report. It’s kinda hard, even for hackers, to apply for credit cards in my name when my reports are frozen.

Jefferson
Jefferson

You can also answer questions on your report and they can unfreeze that way too.

J. Grant
J. Grant

I sure hope somebody doesn’t hate me that much to go through all the trouble.

Omar
Omar

It’s exciting because currently just having your social security number is enough to apply for credit cards, but with the new legislation, they will have the additional pain of having to unfreeze each and every report they try to access.

So the less tech savvy (and more plentiful) criminals that could get your SSN from something as simple as a job application ( or a roommate or ex partner) will no longer be able to just wreak havoc with only your SSN.

Jefferson
Jefferson

For the general population, maybe. But why should i get excited about it? I get more than $5 or $10 benefit from unfreeze and if it makes others that much lesser chance to unfreeze it, I’m up for it.

J. Grant
J. Grant

FINALLY.

sreenivas satish
sreenivas satish

As I always said, this is just updating a value in a database. Never should be charged.

null
null

While making credit freezes free is a positive change, it REALLY needs to be noted that this is part of the bill that guts Dodd-Frank. They’ve put one small but positive change in a bill with 100 other negative changes, and yet most media coverage (and this article) is focusing on the one positive change while either not mentioning the other changes or mentioning them only in passing.

I hope you will consider amending this article to note that, as this really needs to be publicized more. And this is a bipartisan effort, as you said — all Republican senators (other than McCain, who didn’t vote) and 16 Democrats.

xpiredsodapop
xpiredsodapop

Texas has fees, so this is good news.

JL
JL

does freezing credit report have any impact on targeted offers, or websites that looks for offers across multiple issuers, ie, soft pulls?

Mike
Mike

This’ll bite everybody eventually if we don’t do something about it. For-profit private companies have repeatedly proven their incompetence in ways both large and small to securely manage access to key credit market info. Since the product this industry sells is us, our “private” data, our personal habits, we should have a greater say in how, of if, or when that data is revealed.

Yoni

Gov’t needs to move to Blockchain hashing for SSN, EIN, Title Transactions, Passport /GE/TSA . IT would prevent a lot of Fraud and ID theft.

If this passes it limits/mitigates 10 years of damages for Freeze/unfreeze and 10 yrs of Credit report monitoring damages people are suing Equifax in Small claims court (and winning judgements with punitive damages around 10k (class actions for credit breeches are toothless, here’s one year of free monitoring).

I was going to file in Small claims where I live as judgements are final, and it would take a few hours of time.

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