Posted by Chuck on May 22, 2018
Consumer Credit

Published on May 22nd, 2018 | by Chuck

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Congress Passes Bipartisan Legislation to Require Free Credit Freezes

A few hours ago, the House passed a bipartisan bill which includes the provision that credit bureaus be required to freeze and unfreeze your credit report free, CNN reports. Thirty-three Democrats voted along with the Republicans to pass the bill, part of a broader financial bill aimed at rolling back some of the Dodd-Frank banking regulations.

Having passed both houses of congress, the bill now awaits the president’s signature before becoming law, a positive outcome of the massive Equifax data breach last year.

A way of limiting 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. Equifax has only waived these fees until July, and this bill will make it obligatory that all credit bureaus nationwide allow freezes and unfreezes at no cost, either electronically or by mail. It also requires credit bureaus to fulfill your request within one business day if made online or over the phone (three business days when requested by mail).

This bill is a step in the right direction in terms of empowering consumers. It’s obviously a pain to freeze and unfreeze three bureaus each time you apply for credit, but at least now the option will be free nationwide.



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Gadget
Gadget

DoC, Something you may want to add to the article. The need to unfreeze isn’t just when applying for credit. Many banks/CU’s use a soft pull and get their identity verification questions from the big three CRA’s when applying for a checking account, even if you avoid the overdraft option. Utility companies/cable, Telecom/cell, brokerage, and prepaid/financial apps are known for this too.

For example, my SO got denied last week for Citi checking. I assumed the denial letter would mention Chex. Nope – decision was based on information from EQ.

That’s great if it’s going to be free to do freezes/thaws, but lets hope it works well and quick, otherwise people like me aren’t going to use it. I am not going to wait a week every time I want to open a new account somewhere. Plus, it’s not a given which bureau is going to get pulled, so you have to thaw all of them each time.

Gadget
Gadget

I forgot job seekers/employment, apt. seekers, and insurance co’s, will want credit reports thawed out too.

Snorlax
Snorlax

Good point, definitely insurance! (Unless you like in Hawaii or Massachusetts, where it’s illegal to take into account your credit history for determining insurance premiums.)

I can imagine a situation where an insurance company would approve you with a frozen report but put you in the “people who don’t have credit history” risk pool, where your rates would be higher than the “people who have a good credit score” risk pool.

joE
joE

Any creditor can do a permissible soft pull even if your credit report is frozen. If she gets denied sighting the credit freeze then they were actually trying to do a hard pull. Think of all the creditors you have existing relationships with and how they soft pull your credit all the time. It has nothing to do with your credit being frozen, it has everything to do with them having the right to access your credit because they have an existing relationship. So moral of the story any entity who needs a soft pull can do so with a frozen credit. If they say they can’t, they’re trying to do a hard pull.

Yoni

@joE

Yoni

…… Gadget yes hopefully they don’t make it a PITA or force you to do by snail mail for free but pay for online/phone (even though the later is cheaper for them to do than process mail requests.) But then again it is the CRA, so I wouldn’t put it pass them to try to push a paid rapid version.

joE I think you might be right I opened a Biz checking (Sole prop with an EIN – with no biz credit reporting that I know of) and the Banker listed my Biz as opened in 2018 instead of 2015. That said all CRA were frozen, but I was pre-approved and they issued a biz Visa $15k cl 0% 9 months @ prime +9.9%. But no prior relationship with the bank, I would be shocked if they didn’t SP somehow.

I was hit by the Best Buy breech from last fall so I think I will request my free copies of my consumer file which should include the SP.

I’ve seen the SP in the past but they don’t show on MyFico quarterly credit reports or on any of the free score websites (which Credit.com makes you unfreeze even with existing history, but it seems it is mainly an issue just with Experian and SP.

tim
tim

Do you know how to freeze or unfreeze experian for free?

emergdoc67
emergdoc67

“Part of a broader financial bill aimed at rolling back some of the Dodd-Frank banking regulations” – that’s great, I’ve been itching for another predatory lending-devised recession. Hey – maybe banks will learn to regulate themselves this time! Wells Fargo even sent me an “I’m sorry” email today!*

*As part of a federally mandated notification of their class action lawsuit

MarcoPolo
MarcoPolo

I’m always skeptical when a new laws is passed since history has shown that “loopholes” are created on purpose for someone to exploit later.
Also there is always a “give & take” behind the scenes. Only time will tell what has been taken from us in order for them to give this to us.

Jonathan S
Jonathan S

This will probably mean that some other services provided by the credit bureaus will increase in price to offset the cost of providing free credit freezes.

K C
K C

Got me thinking too. Maybe your FICO score will be penalized with “too many” freezes and unfreezes or the credit card issuers with a hard pull might have the ability to view how often or how many times you’ve frozen your credit file, maybe making them skittish to approve someone? Just throwing out bad scenarios.

William Charles

Doubtful, FICO doesn’t lose money from allowing free freezes so not sure why they would update the algo to penalize people that freeze/unfreeze especially when it’s unlikely to affect delinquency rates. That would almost certainly be illegal as well.

tim
tim

Do you know how to freeze or unfreeze experian for free right now?

Yoni

@ MarcoPolo
I have to agree, Dodd-Frank gave us recourse with CFPB, and lots of other things, but speaking of loopholes, so much of it is written to the benefits of the big corporations and damages/fines for violations for example WF, will go to CFPB and not to to the damaged end-users.

Dodd-Frank gave us the CFPB -which some churners have gotten issuers to back-pedal or re-instate changes or closures. Yet the CPFB under the current administration is not what it was under the former and I care for neither of the administrations. But Dodd-Frank has made other thing more expensive (Mortgages) and more of a headache and hassle for others, but still an improvement and greater protection from some bad actors.

The devils in the details as they say and I’m afraid that the devils were the ones writing a lot of the rollback law.

It even seems that even last year tax law change benefits Wall St. more than Main street and in many ways the middle class was better under the prior tax laws (time will tell) but the middle class tax cuts will sunset in about 10 years.

PT
PT

It is a joke to call them “tax cuts” as there will be a large number of people with ordinary jobs/life/home whose taxes are going UP next year.

David
David

News outlets (such as Reuters, see below) are reporting that these roll-backs are actually helping the smaller banks – not the big banks. Which is actually the ideal solution. One of the biggest problems with Dodd-Frank is that it created so much regulation, bureaucracy, drowning banks in forms, filings and in general – paper pushing jobs. Overall, that means it’s expensive. Big banks had NO PROBLEM keeping up with more regulations. They have the capital and revenue to do so. But the smaller banks? They got slammed. The number of small banks before and after Dodd-frank plummeted by more than half.

So what was the result? Obviously it helped the big banks get even bigger – and eliminated more of their competition. But but but we want to make sure the housing market never happens again! And Democrats say they are for the little guy.. Hah!

See: https://www.reuters.com/article/usa-house-banks-lobbying/small-banks-trump-wall-street-on-dodd-frank-rewrite-idUSL3N1SP509

P
P

I got grilled by Citi last January on the reason why my equifax was frozen. Even tho they check both Experian and equifax and they already did Experian they seem to base their approval or denial using equifax. Making it free helps a lot since it’s $5.20 to freeze and another $5.20 to unfreeze in Hawaii.

NinjaX
NinjaX

wtf. they grilled u on why ur CR was frozen? u must have got a bad rep. u should HUCA. total BS dude. they had already pulled once and they wanted a different CRA? i wouldve escalated that crap.

Gadget
Gadget

CSR’s see it as a big inconvenience… and act like your a moron for applying for something with frozen credit. That’s the impression I got from BofA when I “locked” my EX to try to get them to pull TU. It worked in the end, but it was a hassle.

NinjaX
NinjaX

yea. if thats the case, then its a good screener to HUCA. no way do I want to deal with idiots who would get pissed from a frozen report.

Daniel
Daniel

I am wondering if you freeze credit report, will you still get free monthly credit score that some issuers provide? Essentially, the issuer would soft pull you to get your credit info.

NinjaX
NinjaX

yes. if you have an account, all banks will access ur shit regardless of freeze. however, of u use other services like credit karma and etc, they may have issues. i forgot which ones had trouble but some will not track if frozen.

Gadget
Gadget

You would think not, right? But per my Google, yes, you can get still get your free score. Once you have those services set up, a freeze after-the-fact doesn’t block them. Existing creditors can still get your report. You still also get prescreened offers, if you have opted in.

YMMV – I am sure someone knows which work/which don’t through trial and error. I tried to find out if Experian free score still works, but their site is full of scare tactics.

Ref:
https://help.creditkarma.com/hc/en-us/articles/202041774-I-have-a-security-freeze-on-my-credit-reports-Can-I-still-use-Credit-Karma-

Yoni

Daniel my personal experience, last fall after EQ breach froze our CR with all 3. DW paid MyFico 3B report no EXP, but mine was fine. Credit.com (have to unfreeze EXP to update our scores.

No problem with EQ/TU with Credit Karma, and most of our free Fako/FICO from banks or issuers. But YMMV.

NinjaX
NinjaX

dammit dude. now i want a refund on the hundreds ive spent freezing and unfreezing. argh!

Simon
Simon

me too

Yoni

NinjaX you could recoup fees for Monitioring and Freezes and maybe damages in Small claims court (google it) people have been winning g $5-$10 against EQ and no appeal judgements final, but you can’t bring an attorney to Small claims.

NinjaX
NinjaX

thanks man. didnt know pple went hardcore to small claims over $10. but then again, i have no idea how thats worth it. filing fees are already over $30. maybe its free in different states. also, im EX is hit a lot. never EQ or TU.

Daniel
Daniel

Nothing is ever “free” you’ll pay for it. one way or another.

Bob D
Bob D

Slap in the face to Chase and other CC banks who punish people with 700+ FICO score just because you have more then 5 cards in 24 months. Screw them ROYALLY now.

Cpaynter
Cpaynter

While I can appreciate the passion, I fail to see how this legislation has any impact on Chase or any other bank. The new law requires credit bureaus to provide free freezes and thaws. That’s it. Nothing about banks or other card issuers.

NinjaX
NinjaX

yea. he was just in the heat of the moment. thats all. haha.

parkdanil
parkdanil

Next step is to unfreeze their websites. Still getting the endless spinning hourglass o_0

NinjaX
NinjaX

thats cuz ur trying to be hipster by going online. CRAs are all analogue baby. its time to bust out that typewriter.

marybeth snodgrass
marybeth snodgrass

Any advice on how to retrieve a misplaced/forgotten Equifax freeze password?

I have tried to retrieve from them, but they don’t have any online option to do this. I had to send a $5 check with a memo requesting my password. This was last summer. They cashed the check and never sent me my password or any correspondence whatsoever. I just haven’t gotten around to getting back to this since then, as it seems like it’s going to be a huge headache.

Any suggestions/similar experiences please comment!

NinjaX
NinjaX

Mary. ur talking about the PIN right? the password is for the online account if u use their services. nobody uses a password for a credit freeze. the best way to get another PIN is to call them and use snail mail for requested docs. u did it once before with the $5. credit bureaus are super old school and they dont do tech. u cant do anything online. if u do, its YMMV. so call them first and they should be able to reset it and mail one to you.

google the best phone number to use for EQ and get a live rep ASAP. “Get A Human” website is the best for this. their IVR system is designed to make sure you never talk to a live human being. thats why its such a headache. after u get someone competent, it works.

bub
bub

I will never freeze my credit. Too much hassle. For me, credit monitoring services are enough, and I get those services for free. To each his own, and others can do whatever they want.

I also don’t follow the Clark Howard advice to having a Chromebook only for bank logins. To me, that advice is silly.

NinjaX
NinjaX

well then naturally, that advice is not targeted for people with your mindset. same thing with other aspects in ur life. some have insurance for many things, some think its dumb as shit. some play this game, many think its going to ruin your credit. that theme exists everywhere. so like u said, do whatever you want.

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