The quickest and easiest way to remove (or "thaw") a credit freeze is to contact each credit bureau online or by phone, and to use the PIN code or password you were assigned when you activated your credit freeze. If you've frozen your credit at all three national bureaus (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax), you'll need to thaw it at each bureau separately.
How to Unfreeze Your Credit
When you enter the PIN at Experian's Security Freeze Center, you can lift a credit freeze online immediately. You also can call 888-EXPERIAN (888-397-3742) and provide the PIN to lift the freeze from your credit report. If you lost your PIN, Experian will need to reissue one.
Getting a new PIN or password from the credit bureaus requires submitting the same proof of identity information you provided when setting up the security freeze: copies of a photo ID and a recent piece of mail, such as a utility bill or bank statement (as proof of address), plus your Social Security number.
Is It a Good Idea to Permanently Unfreeze Your Credit?
It's necessary to unfreeze your credit reports anytime you want to enable someone to run a credit check on you—such as when you apply for a loan or credit or fill out a rental application with a landlord. It's quick and easy to remove a freeze altogether, and your decision whether to do so or not largely depends on why you put a credit freeze in place to begin with.
If you froze your credit purely as a precaution, or because you knew there would be an extended stretch of time when you would not be applying for credit or otherwise needing to grant access to your credit reports, then it's probably fine to lift the freeze permanently. If you applied a freeze because you knew or strongly suspected your Social Security number or other personal information had been stolen or misused, then it might make more sense to make your credit thaw temporary rather than permanent.
When you use your PIN at the Experian Security Freeze Center webpage, the Experian automated phone system, or the equivalent resources at the other bureaus, you'll be given several options, including removing the freeze permanently or suspending it temporarily in a couple of different ways:
- Allow one-time access to your credit report. If you want to authorize one specific creditor (or landlord, utility company or other entity) to use your Experian credit report, you can obtain a single-use PIN that gives them access to the file and then expires, without actually lifting the credit freeze.
- Suspend the freeze for a set time period. If you are shopping for credit and submitting applications to multiple lenders, you can lift the credit freeze for a specific number of hours or days to give all the creditors a chance to check your credit report. Since you likely cannot know which credit bureau or bureaus a given lender uses for its credit checks, it's wise to unfreeze your credit reports at all three bureaus when shopping for credit.
When you use your PIN to unfreeze your credit, your credit file becomes accessible within one hour. If you submit a request by mail, the freeze must be lifted within three business days of receiving the request.
Removing a credit freeze, temporarily or for good, is easy. Keep track of your PIN or password, and you'll be able to thaw your credit quickly whenever you need to.