Best Practices for Managing Credit Freezes

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
Post Reply
Topic Author
Beatle Boots
Posts: 47
Joined: Mon Nov 12, 2018 11:28 am

Best Practices for Managing Credit Freezes

Post by Beatle Boots » Sat Feb 16, 2019 12:39 pm

Am interested to learn if there any forums or perhaps comments here that describe "best practices" on how to efficiently and quickly turn on or off credit freezes from the major credit reporting agencies Transunion, Equifax, Experian, etc. since credit freezes became free on Sept 21, 2018.

Background: Have maintained freeze for spouse and myself for awhile with not much need to temporarily lift. Seems like when I need to lift the freeze the pin has expired and I end up using UPS to send documents to get new pins, etc. I am now entering into financial situations where I want to expedite this process and avoid timely delays.

Would like to find info from knowledgable folks who can sort of provide parameters to quickly turn on and off freeze for a single transaction.

Suspect the guys that chase bank and credit card promotions may know the hacks for managing this process.

Researched past BH posts on subjects and couldn't find similar post.

Thanks in advance!

rotorhead
Posts: 451
Joined: Wed Mar 17, 2010 3:59 pm
Location: Florida

Re: Best Practices for Managing Credit Freezes

Post by rotorhead » Sat Feb 16, 2019 3:16 pm

We have had credit freeze with all three agencies for several years; and have never heard of a PIN "expiring." Never had any issue in unfreezing when necessary. Retrieving a lost or forgotten PIN is a different matter.

I have file with all agencies freeze info in it, together with ID's and PINS. Never had a problem.

The following link might be helpful to you.

https://www.aprfinder.com/unfreeze-credit-without-pin

User avatar
beyou
Posts: 2698
Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2010 3:57 pm
Location: Northeastern US

Re: Best Practices for Managing Credit Freezes

Post by beyou » Sat Feb 16, 2019 5:12 pm

Actually the pin is no longer used by Equifax. I signed up for a PIN and freeze for all 3 many many years ago. Since then I have had to temporarily unfreeze all 3.

The ONLY one that gave me a problem was Equifax. The basically wiped out all access to the self service capability, and make you register for a traditional online userid/password. This could have been a minor inconvenience but they are a horrible company. All members of my family went through the process to get the free online access for freeze/unfreeze, and NONE worked without CSR telephone hell. Remember we had all sent in paper documents, all had a pin that once worked, and ALL GOT A DIFFERENT ANSWER as to how to re-establish access. 2 of 4 were asked to mail in docs again. One was asked. ridiculous set of questions on phone that most would have trouble answering. One was asked easy questions and given immediate access. They are the worst run company on earth, and should be shut down. If there are any class action attorney’s out there, theu need to be sued and sued good for this idiotic response to their hacker breaches.

Samples of the ridiculous questions asked :

What is your credit card balance ?
Answer : As of what date ? They were not able to answer.
I guessed and looked at last statement balance.

Name a credit card you no longer have open.
I have not closed an account in years, due to the hit to credit score. Fortunately found an old credit report that still showed a really old card.

When did you first freeze your credit report ?
Answer : many years ago.
They wanted exact month and year.

Fortunately I kept notes/documentation but the phone call lasted for an 1-2 hrs hour with being transfered from person to person, on hold and questions that needed “research”.

One of our family that had to mail in docs again, included a note that he wanted online access activated, they sent back a note that his credit report is now unfrozen, and a number to call with any questions. called the number and the recording had nothing at all to do with freezing/unfreezing.

Equifax just does not belong in business.

Above happened this year.
Just last week unfroze experian without a problem, took minutes.

furwut
Posts: 1481
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2012 8:54 pm

Re: Best Practices for Managing Credit Freezes

Post by furwut » Sun Feb 17, 2019 10:50 am

In my case TransUnion and Equifax migrated me to a web account login to manage the credit freeze. No PIN required. Experian still requires I enter a PIN on their site. Little difference in the end. I can temporarily lift the freeze across all 3 agencies in under 5 minutes online.

achoooo8358
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2012 9:57 am

Re: Best Practices for Managing Credit Freezes

Post by achoooo8358 » Mon Feb 18, 2019 11:05 am

Had same unfortunate incident with Equifax - froze account, lost access to self-service, and had to submit tons of paperwork to get my account unfrozen. Have loved the ease of use with freezing and unfreezing accounts with both Transunion and Experian.

Topic Author
Beatle Boots
Posts: 47
Joined: Mon Nov 12, 2018 11:28 am

Re: Best Practices for Managing Credit Freezes

Post by Beatle Boots » Mon Feb 18, 2019 2:04 pm

furwut wrote:
Sun Feb 17, 2019 10:50 am
In my case TransUnion and Equifax migrated me to a web account login to manage the credit freeze. No PIN required. Experian still requires I enter a PIN on their site. Little difference in the end. I can temporarily lift the freeze across all 3 agencies in under 5 minutes online.
The Transunion & Equifax migration from PIN to login may be the cause for my confusion? I may have missed the memo on this one?

Couple of followon questions:

(1) Do you know if there is any way to use your old PIN as a 1 time (no hassle) conversion to the new Trans/Equifax login system? Or must I go through the process of contacting thes agencies and answering questions and sending them utility bills, etc thru UPS?

(2) Also, did the Trans / Equifax pin/login conversion happen to everyone? Couldn't determine this from the other posters. Perhaps some of the other posters are screwed and don't know it?

(3) Any idea when iExperian is going to convert from PIN to login?

(4) Last question (a little of topic) Do any BHs ever bother with credit freezes at the "Alternative Credit Bureaus""?
This article says there are about 40 (the only 1 I have heard of is Innovis).

Credit Reporting Agencies: Big 3 & Alternative Bureaus, Apr 6, 2018

https://wallethub.com/edu/credit-report ... ies/25518/

I am not aware of any data hacks at these Alternative places although they probably get hacked too. For instance, this weekend there were news posts of Medical Records hacks, etc. Also, I know the freezes are free at the big 3, but no clue about the little guys/no names.

Thanks in advance for your posts. I hate dealing with these guys! I look forward to getting my stuff straigtened out so I can spend 5 minutes loggin on and off!

furwut
Posts: 1481
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2012 8:54 pm

Re: Best Practices for Managing Credit Freezes

Post by furwut » Mon Feb 18, 2019 2:10 pm


furwut
Posts: 1481
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2012 8:54 pm

Re: Best Practices for Managing Credit Freezes

Post by furwut » Mon Feb 18, 2019 2:12 pm

Experian’s site uses the PIN rather than a web login but is just as easy.
https://www.experian.com/freeze/center.html

TravelGeek
Posts: 3097
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2014 3:23 pm

Re: Best Practices for Managing Credit Freezes

Post by TravelGeek » Mon Feb 18, 2019 2:43 pm

Beatle Boots wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 2:04 pm

(4) Last question (a little of topic) Do any BHs ever bother with credit freezes at the "Alternative Credit Bureaus""?
This article says there are about 40 (the only 1 I have heard of is Innovis).

Credit Reporting Agencies: Big 3 & Alternative Bureaus, Apr 6, 2018

https://wallethub.com/edu/credit-report ... ies/25518/

I am not aware of any data hacks at these Alternative places although they probably get hacked too. For instance, this weekend there were news posts of Medical Records hacks, etc. Also, I know the freezes are free at the big 3, but no clue about the little guys/no names.
The purpose of a credit freeze isn’t to protect against “any data hacks” at credit reporting agencies. Your are freezing your credit so no one can open an account that requires a credit inquery in your name.

So the question is, what company is using those 40 alternative credit bureaus?

User avatar
Watty
Posts: 16829
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:55 pm

Re: Best Practices for Managing Credit Freezes

Post by Watty » Mon Feb 18, 2019 3:24 pm

I just temporarily unfroze all three credit bureaus about a month ago and had no problem with using PINs that are probably ten or more years old.

The big difference was that I did this by telephone and not the internet which is how I have always done it.

I don't recall them asking any challenge questions but I could be mistaken on that.

User avatar
beyou
Posts: 2698
Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2010 3:57 pm
Location: Northeastern US

Re: Best Practices for Managing Credit Freezes

Post by beyou » Tue Feb 19, 2019 2:48 pm

Transunion is the only one I have NOT recently had to unfreeze ( I only unfreeze the ones requested by a bank as needed).
I am thinking it may make sense to try a temp unfreeze just to make sure my PIN still works, because if it does not, better to jump through
hoops now than when urgent.

I only tried this via the website for Equifax and Experian, not via the phone, assuming this would be as easy to do as it was historically.
I don't really like using telephone menus, slow and inefficient, I prefer a well designed website. Once we each got our new id/pwd on Equifax, the website worked just fine (and yes experian website works great with the old PIN).

User avatar
beyou
Posts: 2698
Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2010 3:57 pm
Location: Northeastern US

Re: Best Practices for Managing Credit Freezes

Post by beyou » Sat Feb 23, 2019 2:09 pm

Took a month to resolve for all in my family, to get access to freeze/unfreeze online with Equifax.
Today the last person in my family got a letter from Equifax accepting the proof we had to mail (for 2nd time),
but that still required a phone to re-activate the userid/pwd for my.equifax.com that he already had.
They kept him on hold, transferring SIX times since each person didn't know how to resolve the problem.
The 7th rep resolved in 5 minutes, but the call lasted an hour.

Anyone who complains about Vanguard support, try calling Equifax and you'll never complain again.
Absolutely the worst consumer facing company I have EVER dealt with. Banks should be banned from using their
data for credit checks, this is such a poorly run company. I would pick one credit card over another, if issued by a bank
that DOES NOT use equifax to check my credit. Just horrible.

furwut
Posts: 1481
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2012 8:54 pm

Re: Best Practices for Managing Credit Freezes

Post by furwut » Sun Feb 24, 2019 8:14 am

beyou wrote:
Sat Feb 23, 2019 2:09 pm


Anyone who complains about Vanguard support, try calling Equifax and you'll never complain again.
Absolutely the worst consumer facing company I have EVER dealt with.
Equifax exists to service credit issuers not credit users. As they say, you are the product not the customer. :wink:

fourwheelcycle
Posts: 665
Joined: Sun May 25, 2014 5:55 pm

Re: Best Practices for Managing Credit Freezes

Post by fourwheelcycle » Sun Feb 24, 2019 9:15 am

We went to a dealer to buy a car recently, intending to pay cash. The carmaker, not the dealer, had a spiff going where we could get an extra $3K discount if we took out a loan, borrowing through their in-house financing arm. We were promised we could pay-off the loan in full after making the first four monthly payments. We selected the shortest possible loan with the largest possible downpayment, then we had to unfreeze our credit (with TransUnion??) on the fly, with no record of our PIN or log-in passwords, which were stored at home. The dealer got us on the phone with the credit bureau and we had to answer a series of questions - Which of these companies has your mortgage? (easy, since we don't have a mortgage), Which of these people has lived at your address (easy, we recognized our son's name), What is your credit limit on these three credit cards (we knew one, guessed correctly at a second one, and missed the third one). Overall, we passed and got the loan. The next week I went on the carmaker's finance web site and learned we could pay-off the loan right away, even before the first month's payment. I paid it off and the total cost of the loan was about $36.

NoHeat
Posts: 308
Joined: Sun Sep 18, 2016 10:13 am

Re: Best Practices for Managing Credit Freezes

Post by NoHeat » Sun Feb 24, 2019 9:42 am

Before applying for a credit card, one dilemma is deciding at which of the bureaus should one lift a freeze.

Most recently, I just lifted all three online for two days, then submitted my credit card application.

Another time, I chose one bureau. Here's some info:

https://www.doctorofcredit.com/credit-b ... suer-pull/
AMEX - Experian
Barclay - Transunion
Chase - various bureaus depending on the state.

based on my recent phone call to a rep at BoA:
BoA- Experian. That's for a new credit card application, but Transunion is pulled for some other less-common purposes after you have a card.

I'm glad that we're no longer charged to lift and restore freezes - that's one bit of good news. Maybe a another bit of good news is that it seems that the much-despised Equifax is a less commonly used bureau, for new credit-card applications.

User avatar
Blueskies123
Posts: 559
Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2014 7:18 pm
Location: South Florida

Re: Best Practices for Managing Credit Freezes

Post by Blueskies123 » Sun Feb 24, 2019 10:02 am

There are more than 3 credit reporting agencies. I froze my credit at all six, including these 3 lesser known agencies.



https://www.chexsystems.com/web/chexsys ... /!ut/p/z1/

https://www.innovis.com/personal/securityFreeze

https://www.nctue.com/Consumers

algorithm
Posts: 45
Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2016 2:53 am

Re: Best Practices for Managing Credit Freezes

Post by algorithm » Wed Jul 03, 2019 11:57 pm

Beatle Boots wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 12:39 pm
Am interested to learn if there any forums or perhaps comments here that describe "best practices" on how to efficiently and quickly turn on or off credit freezes from the major credit reporting agencies Transunion, Equifax, Experian, etc. since credit freezes became free on Sept 21, 2018.
All you need to know about a security freeze is in this article. It has very useful information including information about Innovis, ChexSystems, pre-approval, etc.

https://www.hotpersonalfinance.com/impo ... t-reports/

1rl9DS5gl2
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Jun 26, 2019 2:22 pm

Re: Best Practices for Managing Credit Freezes

Post by 1rl9DS5gl2 » Wed Jul 10, 2019 11:12 am

As so many others have said, Equifax really should be out of business.I was so frustrated in trying to unfreeze my credit that I honestly felt I might never have access to new credit again and filed a formal complaint with the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. Thankfully a couple of BH pointed out that if I still had my original 10 digit pin, I could unfreeze my report using their automated phone system with no need to speak to anyone in their "customer service" department. It took 3 tries but did eventually work and I permanently thawed my report. My advice is freeze with Experian and Transunion but don't mess with Equifax.

rj342
Posts: 431
Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2019 12:21 pm

Re: Best Practices for Managing Credit Freezes

Post by rj342 » Wed Jul 10, 2019 12:07 pm

I find the notion of them requiring sending paper copies of sensitive ID document through ordinary insecure USP mail to be sheer insanity.

Should have a secure website option to upload photos of the documents. This IS about to be the third decade of 21st century.

User avatar
lthenderson
Posts: 4157
Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:43 pm
Location: Iowa

Re: Best Practices for Managing Credit Freezes

Post by lthenderson » Wed Jul 10, 2019 12:56 pm

NoHeat wrote:
Sun Feb 24, 2019 9:42 am
Before applying for a credit card, one dilemma is deciding at which of the bureaus should one lift a freeze.

Most recently, I just lifted all three online for two days, then submitted my credit card application.
I solved this by just applying anyway. When they deny you because your credit is frozen, they send you a letter with a phone number to call if you disagree. I call the number and tell them that my credit is frozen and ask which agency they are checking. They tell me and I unlock it while they are still on the phone and have them recheck it again. No guessing or needlessly unlocking credit reports they don't check.

Post Reply