Posted by Chuck on February 25, 2015
Credit Cards

Published on February 25th, 2015 | by Chuck

58

Which Credit Card Issuers Will Approve an Application with a Frozen Credit Report?

We’ve written about placing a security freeze on your credit report, see Credit Freeze/Security Freeze. It’s meant for someone who has a specific security concern, but anyone who prefers their credit report frozen can do so. Some people feel more comfortable knowing with certainty that their credit report is only pulled when they give special permission.

A reader recently asked if we can provide more info on which credit card issuers will approve you for a credit card when your credit report is frozen. Which card issuers will agree to switch over and pull your credit report from a different credit bureau that they usually don’t use?

Freeze Your Credit

Credit card issuers typically pull your credit report from one of three major credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, or Transunion. When they ‘pull’ your credit report, it shows up as a ‘hard inquiry’ on your credit report and reduces your FICO score. If we could freeze one bureau and convince the card issuer to manually pull the report from a different bureau, we’d be able to stagger the pulls across the three different bureaus, so that any single report isn’t full of hard inquiries. This – in turn – would improve your credit score and improve your chances of credit card approval.

[RELATEDMy Credit Card Application Strategy]

Just to be clear, if there’s a freeze on your Experian credit report, for example, and you apply for a card from an issuer who pulls Experian, there definitely won’t be any instant approval. The application will automatically come up as ‘pending approval’ – since they weren’t able to access your credit report. The question is whether we can call up the card issuer and ask them to manually pull a different report and approve the application based on that.

This point is very important since many of us apply for lots credit cards and our approval rate is partially based on the fact that there’s no human intervention; the system sees our credit score and certain other info and auto-approves the application. This won’t happen when your credit report is frozen. Besides the headache of calling in to get an application approved, it may also make it harder to get approved, under the prying eyes of a human.

That being the case, many of us have a high number of inquiries on one credit bureau, Experian usually being the case, and very few on the other reports. Because of that we ventured to collect data points about which issuers will be amenable to pulling the credit report from a different bureau.

Please note, many of the data points are a couple years old. Things could have changed since then, and – in any case – these things vary a lot based on the agent you speak to.

How to Freeze

You can place a freeze on your credit report at these links:

Experian – https://www.experian.com/freeze/center.html

Equifax – https://www.freeze.equifax.com/Freeze/jsp/SFF_PersonalIDInfo.jsp

Transunion – http://www.transunion.com/personal-credit/credit-disputes/credit-freezes.page

After freezing your report, if you decide that you want to allow a lender access to your frozen credit report, you have 3 options:

  • you can permanently remove the credit freeze
  • you can temporarily remove the credit freeze
  • you can give the lender a one-time use PIN so that they can access your credit report

Option 1 would only be a good idea if you no longer want your credit report frozen at all. If you still want your report frozen, then you should use option 2 or 3. Option 2 will allow numerous lenders to view your credit, while option 3 will only allow a one-time view of your report by the lender whom you give the one-time PIN.

Note: Experian limits us to 2 temporary PINs per day. Beyond that, you’d need to remove the freeze, either a temporary removal or a permanent one (1).

Cost: For more details on the cost of placing and removing a credit freeze, see our previous post on the topic. It’s either free or costs $5 or $10.

List

Here’s a list of reports on which issuers will allow freezes:

  • Chase Varying reports. Some have had success with them agreeing to pull a different credit report (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6), but other attempts have not been successful (1, 2, 3 4). Chase will allow you to give them a temporary PIN in order for them to access your report (1, 2).
  • Bank of America Some found Bank of America willing to pull a different report upon request(1, 2), including recently (1, 2, 3,). Others found that they won’t allow pulling a different report (1, 2,)   BoA won’t allow using a temporary PIN to access the report; you’ll have to temporarily remove the freeze on your end (1). Others had success conferencing the credit bureau into the call, and giving BofA access to the report that way (1).
  • Citi They won’t agree to pull a different report (1, 2, 3, 4, 5), unless that report is Experian (1, 2). Citi is willing to access your report with a temporary PIN, you don’t need to unfreeze it on your end (1), but one person had trouble actually getting Citi to use the temporary PIN (1). Citi will send you a letter saying that you need to unfreeze your report in order for them to  process the application (1) .
  • Amex They won’t agree to pull a different report (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7). Amex will allow you to give them the PIN to temporarily access the report, without needing to remove the freeze on your end (1, 2). If your report is frozen, Amex won’t do anything to inform you of an issue, they’ll just let the application expire (1). Others report that they’ll send you a letter saying that you need to unfreeze your report in order to process the application(1).
  • Capital One As we know Capital One pulls all 3 bureaus for any single credit card application. We’ve now seen numerous reports which indicate that you can freeze one report and still be approved by Capital One. You can even get an instant approval with one bureau frozen (1, 2). More than one report frozen is assumed not to work. The particular data points that we’ve seen mentioned were in regard to freezing Experian and still getting an instant approval. From this myFico thread, it sounds like Equifax can never be frozen, but you can have either Experian or Transunion frozen. More recently, this seems to be YMMV with some people reporting that Capital One will not approve with a frozen Experian (and, possibly, with Transunion frozen either). Others are still having success with freezing Experian (1).
  • US Bank One report indicates US Bank  does will not agree to pull a different report, even with a temporary PIN; you’ll have to unfreeze it on your end. Also remember that it’s helpful to freeze two smaller credit reports (ARS and Sagestream) before applying for a US Bank credit card.
  • Barclay We haven’t seen any reports on freezes before a Barclay application. That’s probably because Barclay pulls Transunion 99% of the time, and Transunion is one of the lesser-used Bureaus; most people are happy to just leave it be and have their Transunion report pulled.
  • First National Bank of Omaha. They will just deny you if the reported they wanted to pull is frozen.
  • Discover Won’t approve you with a frozen report, they’ll ask you to unfreeze it first. You’ll have to unfreeze it on your end; they won’t accept a PIN to access the frozen report.

Final Thoughts

Being able to manipulate which bureau will be pulled sounds intriguing, especially for someone with unbalanced numbers of inquiries on their various credit reports. As mentioned, there’s a big downside since you’ll need to deal with human approval and the added hassle of having to call in.

Note that if you apply for a credit card when your report is frozen you usually won’t lose anything in terms of credit, since the card issuer didn’t pull anything at all in most cases. However, it may not be good to have lots of unfinished credit card applications, since it may not look good to in the eyes of that issuer.

The one instance where freezing the report seems to be only beneficial is in the case of Capital One where you can still get an instant approval, despite the security freeze. It’s all gain: instant approval and saving an inquiry.

[RELATEDWhy Capital One Credit Cards Are Now on My Radar Screen]

It’s also interesting to know that Chase and Bank of America may be willing to pull a different credit report. And remember to freeze your IDA and ARS reports before doing a US Bank application.

If you’re interested in reading more about freezing credit reports, I’d recommend reading two post written by our friend Rapid Travel Chai here and here.

Here are some other useful credit card posts from our site, broken down by card issuer:



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58 Comments on "Which Credit Card Issuers Will Approve an Application with a Frozen Credit Report?"

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Chao
Chao

When I live in Ohio, Chase pulled both experian and exqufax. what can I do about this.

Corridor!
Corridor!

Chasee will always pull Transunion for me and sometimes pulls Experian too. I have had my Experian account frozen for my last 5 pulls from them and they never ask any questions. Only Transunion gets pulled. This goes for instant approval and recon.

Ista
Ista

Corridor,
Which City are you located in?

Ly
Ly

Hi
I need help
is there a way to check the status of whether credit freeze been placed or not? because I helped a friend trying placed all three. Experian no account created, therefore no way to check. Transunion does allow acccount created so no problem. Equifax, their online says “we cannot process your online request” so I think I have to request by mail.
all my concern right now was the Experian because I wanna make sure I put right info for the right person I helped
thanks

Ly
Ly

Experian has no option for you to login or create a password.
do you have phone # for all three?
thanks

Kampung
Kampung

Slightly OT.

Is there a way to get Experian FICO score for free or cheap, or is there any credit card that provides free Experian score? Unfortunately the cards i have (Barclays/discover/Citi) only provide Transunion and Equifax while most of my pulls seems to be from Experian.

otis
otis

FNBO is one, and now some AMEX cardholders have it too….

trackback

[…] If you freeze a report it’s sometimes possible to get Chase to pull from a different bureau. If you’re trying to limit the number of inquiries on one of your credit reports (e.g Experian) you can freeze that and sometimes Chase will agree to pull your report from one of the other bureaus (e.g TransUnion or Equifax). If they don’t allow you to do this, they will allow you to give them a PIN which gives them access to the original report they wanted to pull. […]

Mile Hustler
Mile Hustler

What about Wells Fargo?

William Charles

We don’t have any data points, if you try it then please let us know!

AZ
AZ

CA, applied with EX frozen, they won’t process the application unless the freeze is lifted.

otis
otis

Re FNBO:

I was simply asked to unfreeze EX and then everything went through.

Not sure why, but most places seem to pull EX when you’re in upstate NY…Citi, Chase, Macy’s (not surprised), FNBO, and Amex.

The sole exception was Discover, which pulled EQ. Barclay’s pulled both TU and EX.

trackback

[…] found the thread here https://www.doctorofcredit.com/which-…credit-report/ Definitely will be looking into this more. Since Citi and Amex are stubborn about Exp, I still […]

Jonathan
Jonathan

Can you walk me through the process? Freeze the credit bureau, then apply for a credit card, receive the “pending” message, then call up recon right away? Or wait a few days? Or wait until we receive the denial letter?

And we are calling recon, right?

trackback

[…] We don’t know if they will approve you for a credit card if you have a frozen report with them. […]

mawmaw
mawmaw

IME WF will not budge when it come to credit freeze i had to unfreeze my EX to get approved

MosheD
MosheD

@Chao @Corridor! @Chuck
When my reports where not frozen Chase always pulled from 2.
Now that I’ve frozen they settle on EX

Vic
Vic

Just a data point for TD Bank
I was applying for the TD Bank Aeroplan Visa Signature with Experian frozen.

The application went pending immediately after I clicked submit.
I called customer service, was transferred to credit analyst and she said that my report is frozen.
I asked whether they can use other bureau’s report, and she said no, they only use Experian.
She also said they don’t take PIN, so I have to unfreeze my report in order to apply.
(I can call back and they can process it, or I can apply again online.)

NoonRadar

Has anyone tried to freeze two credit bureaus and apply for Capital One Venture and/or one of the Spark cards?

I was thinking of leaving only Equifax unfrozen and giving it a try for both of these cards.

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