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How to Deal with a Consumer's Frozen Credit File

Unfreeze your credit
As you are aware, there have been many major security breaches recently affecting the personal data of millions of consumers. One of the largest and most notable (and the one that most affects our industry), happened at Equifax.

As a result of this, consumers are increasingly placing freezes (sometimes referred to as a "lock") on their credit files. This can create problems when requesting a credit file if your customer doesn't know the proper procedure to follow to unfreeze (or "unlock") their credit and allow you to pull their credit file.

To allow their credit report to be pulled, the borrower must contact each of the credit bureaus to remove the credit freeze. A borrower can unfreeze their credit file permanently or temporarily. Instruct the borrower that if they choose temporarily, they may need to provide authorization again before the loan is finalized. Alternatively, consumers also have the option of providing their PINs to you (the lender) so that you can lift the credit freeze as needed during the loan process.

Each of the credit bureaus have slightly different requirements, but all will request the file access PIN issued when the borrower initially requested the credit freeze in order to unfreeze their credit. In addition to their PIN, the borrower should be prepared with the following information:

  • Social Security Number
  • Date of Birth
  • Complete Address
  • Proof of identity (birth certificate, driver's license, Social Security card, passport, etc.)
  • Proof of address (utility bill, bank statement, pay stub, driver's license)

Following is the contact information for Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Again, the borrower must contact each repository to lift the credit freeze:


Equifax
Online: https://www.freeze.equifax.com
Phone: 800-685-1111

Experian
Online: https://www.experian.com/freeze/center.html
Phone: 1.888.EXPERIAN (397-3742)

TransUnion
Online: https://freeze.transunion.com
Phone: 888.909.8872