Consumers in all 50 states, District of Columbia and Puerto Rico can ask the national credit bureaus--Equifax, Experian and TransUnion---to place a freeze on their credit report. That’s a move we think is worth considering if you suspect identity thieves may have access to the information required to apply for credit in your name, including your address and Social Security Number.
A credit freeze prevents lenders from pulling your credit report, typically a necessary step lenders require in approving new credit. If you subsequently apply for new credit, and so want lenders to be able to access your reports, you may “unfreeze” those records, either permanently or temporarily.
The maximum fees the agencies may charge for freezing (and later unfreezing) a report are governed by state law. Since all three credit bureaus may be contacted by a prospective lender, and because you must freeze your report separately at each bureau, we’ve combined the fees from all three to calculate a total cost by state to freeze and unfreeze your reports.
The Cost to Freeze and Unfreeze Your Credit
These figures reflect the combined costs to freeze your credit record at all three national credit bureaus. We show two costs to freeze due to the fact that Equifax, following its massive breach of customer data, has announced a waiver of its fees for the time being. The higher figure reflects the total costs for when the waiver is lifted on January 31, 2018.
You will not pay in any state to freeze your credit should you actually have suffered a credit fraud incident--that is, fraudulent credit was obtained in your name, and you reported that fact. A police report may be required to receive the waiver.
Freeze (during waiver)
Freeze (after waiver)
|District of Columbia||$20.00||$30.00||$0.00|
This data was obtained online from the national credit bureaus--Experian, Equifax and TransUnion--in September 2017. It assumes the individual who is freezing their reports is between 18 and 61 years old. Some states either eliminate or discount freeze fees for seniors, minors and other vulnerable consumers; if you or a family member qualifies in one of these categories, the total cost to freeze your reports may be lower than we show here. It further assumes the freeze is being initiated online. (North Carolina charges $3 for freezes and unfreezes made via mail or by phone.)