Protect Your Finances with Free Credit Freezes

A Seattle Times article about protecting your finances by using credit freezes caught my eye this weekend. Protecting your credit is important, and I’ve blogged about it in the past. Here are some recent changes you should know about, particularly if you haven’t yet set up a freeze after the Equifax breach.

The Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, which went into effect on September 21, allows consumers to freeze their credit without charge, regardless of the state in which they reside. Previously, some states allowed credit agencies to charge for freezes and others did not. It is now FREE for everyone.

That means you can no longer use the charges as an excuse not to freeze your credit, a step I have recommended in the past and still encourage.

There’s also another change that you should note: credit bureaus are relying less on personal identification numbers (PINs). TransUnion, which used to require a PIN, a user name, and a password, has now dropped the PIN. Equifax is following the same route. Only Experian still requires a PIN—at least, for now.

For the time being, you should hang onto your old PINs just in case. But the next time you sign onto Equifax, you will have to establish an account with a user name and a password. Once you have that, you can manage your freeze going forward.

For more details about securing your credit and initiating or canceling a freeze, the Seattle Times article is a good source.

And the links to the credit bureaus that I published at the end of my post last year still work just fine.

Please—be safe and freeze your credit.