You Ask. Bev Answers: Is now a good time for a credit freeze?
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In a time of great uncertainty, a voice of knowledge and reassurance can make all the difference. Beverly Anderson, President of Global Consumer Solutions at Equifax, answers your questions based on her years of experience in the consumer finance industry.
Question: Can we place a freeze on our credit reports until this pandemic is over so that we can have some time to address the delinquent accounts?
Yes, you can freeze your credit report until the Covid-19 pandemic is over - however freezing your credit report and addressing your delinquent accounts are separate issues.
Placing a security freeze on your Equifax credit report can help prevent certain third parties from accessing your information, which can be a useful tool against identity theft. While a report is frozen, lenders who don't already have a relationship with you will generally be unable to pull your credit report or open new accounts in your name.
A freeze prevents many but not all third parties from accessing your reports. If you already have a relationship with a lender, a freeze generally won't affect their ability to pull your reports.
If you're considering a freeze in response to COVID-19 remember: A credit freeze is a security tool and will not alter any information on your credit report, such as a delinquent account. It won't prevent negative information from being reported about your existing accounts and also does not excuse you from making required payments on any open credit accounts. While your information is frozen, you will still be expected to keep up with whatever you owe and whenever you unfreeze your report, it won't change the fact that you were delinquent when the freeze was initiated.
If you're struggling with delinquent accounts or fear you won't be able to keep up with your monthly debt payments, reach out to your lenders directly and make them aware of your current situation. Many lenders are aware of the challenges facing consumers and may be able to work with you to establish a payment plan during the Covid-19 pandemic. Look to our COVID + Credit resource center for more information on options available to you if you're facing financial hardship during the pandemic.
If you would still like to place a security freeze on your Equifax credit report, create a myEquifax account. You can view the status of your security freeze, and also temporarily lift or permanently remove the freeze through myEquifax. You can also call our automated line at (888) 298-0045. Contact Experian and TransUnion for more information on placing a security freeze on those reports.
Beverly Anderson is the President of Global Consumer Solutions at Equifax. She is responsible for the strategy, development, growth and profitability of direct and indirect businesses serving consumers with credit, identity and financial education products and services.
For more than three decades, Beverly has built businesses and delivered significant results in the Financial Services and Payments industries. She drove consumer and small business strategies, product strategies, and enterprise growth and profitability strategies for First USA (JPM Chase), Fleet (Bank of America) and American Express. Before joining Equifax, she was the Executive Vice President of Cards and Retail Services at Wells Fargo where she led consumer credit cards, co-brand cards, loyalty solutions, retail finance, digital payments and enablement capabilities. She has also held leadership roles managing auto loans, personal lines and loans, servicing, loan operations, collections and fraud operations.