MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A new law that goes in effect Friday makes putting a freeze on your credit simple and free.
Credit freezes put a lock on your credit so nobody can use it, or open any new accounts. But it can cost $5-10, plus you also have to pay to “thaw” it, or open it back up if you need access.
As of Friday, all three major credit bureaus have to let consumers freeze and reopen their credit for free. It’s all thanks to a new law called the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act.
The other good news is the process is supposed to be easier.
When a credit bureau gets an online or phone request to freeze someone’s credit, that request must be granted within one day. Also, requests to “unfreeze” or “thaw” someone’s credit must be completed in an hour.
The new law also extends initial fraud alerts from 90 days to one year, and allows victims of identity theft to place a fraud alert on their credit reports for seven years.
You still have to freeze your credit at each bureau, but online portals should make that easier.
Each credit reporting agency — Equifax, Transunion and Experian — will update their websites to reflect the changes. The Federal Trade Commission’s identity theft website will also have links to each bureau.