How to Lock Your Credit

identity larceny can be a concern to deal with if person opens credit cards, loans, or other lines of accredit in your name. Freezing your credit reports is one room to protect your credit ; initiating a credit lock is another. Locking your credit is something you can do with each of the three major credit chest of drawers. Before locking your credit rating, it ‘s helpful to understand how it works and what the alternatives are .

Key Takeaways

  • A credit lock can be a simpler way to control access to your credit report than a credit freeze. 
  • Unlike a credit freeze, you can initiate a credit lock from your mobile device.
  • All three of the major credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion—allow you to lock your credit files, although it isn’t always free.
  • If you’ve already been a victim of identity theft, you may want to consider a fraud alert or credit freeze instead. 

What Is a Credit Lock ?

Your credit reports contain key information about your fiscal accounts, deoxyadenosine monophosphate well as early personal details. A credit lock is a direction to restrict who has entree to that information.

citation lock, offered by all three of the major credit rating agency, lets you control who can view your credit reports from your laptop or mobile device. If you lock your credit report and person tries to check your credit history, access is denied. You can lock your credit reports with just one credit chest of drawers or with all three .

Depending on which citation agency ‘s engage service you use, you may have to pay a tip. Experian and TransUnion, for exercise, both charge a monthly fee to lock or unlock credit. Equifax offers this service for free .


This type of credit lock is different from the lock feature that some credit rating cards offer. With a credit batting order lock, you can lock just that card to block anyone from using it to make purchases in your name if it ‘s lost or stolen.

credit Lock vs. Credit Freeze vs. Fraud Alert

credit locks, credit freezes, and fraud alerts are all ways to protect your credit information, but they differ in some important respects. Understanding how they compare can help you decide which one you might want to use .

credit Locks

again, here are the key points to know about credit locks :

  • You can use a credit lock to restrict access to your credit reports
  • You have the ability to lock or unlock your credit reports from your computer or mobile device
  • The credit bureau may charge you a monthly fee for this service

credit Freezes

With a credit freeze, you ‘re besides restricting access to your credit reports. You can request a credit freeze with one credit chest of drawers or all three, and the freeze stays in place until you ask that it be lifted. A major difference is that you ca n’t do it yourself through an app .

Like a credit lock, a credit rating freeze can keep unauthorized people from accessing your credit file, which helps deter identity thieves from opening accounts in your appoint. It does n’t completely block access to your file, however. Creditors you already have a kinship with and/or government agencies that are executing woo orders, subpoenas, or search warrants can placid access it .

Unlike a recognition interlock, there ‘s no fee to freeze or unfreeze your credit. If you want to place or lift a credit freeze, you ‘ll need to contact each of the three credit agency individually. If you make a request to unfreeze your credit reports on-line or by telephone, the accredit chest of drawers must do so within one hour. otherwise, it can take up to three commercial enterprise days for a freeze to be lifted .


If you have minor children, you can request a freeze of their credit files on their behalf.

Fraud Alerts

A fraud alert is a note you can have placed on your citation file. Fraud alerts are release, but they do n’t completely lock down your credit reports. alternatively, they require creditors and lenders to verify your identity before approving new lines of credit in your name .

A regular imposter alert can stay on your citation history for one year, while an gallop fraud alert can remain for seven years. An elongated fraud alarm is normally recommended if you ‘ve already been a victim of identity larceny .

How to Lock Your Credit

If you want to lock your credit, you can do sol by signing up for a credit locking service with one or all of the major credit chest of drawers. Using the overhaul normally involves downloading an app and creating a unique login to access your account .

once your account is set up you can then lock or unlock your credit as you see match with the touch of a button. If you ‘re wondering when you might want or need to lock your credit, it could make sense if :

  • You’re generally concerned about being targeted for identity theft
  • One of your credit card accounts or bank accounts was recently hacked
  • You don’t have plans to apply for new credit anytime soon

Since it ‘s slowly to unlock your credit file through the app, you can do then at any point you want to apply for citation. The credit locking service may besides provide access to your credit score or ongoing credit rating monitor and alerts .

other Ways to Protect Your Credit

If you do n’t want to pay for recognition engage and a citation freeze seems besides extreme point, there are other things you can do to keep tabs on your credit information and protect your identity .

For case, do n’t forget that you can get your credit reports for barren once each year through Reviewing your recognition reports for errors or suspicious-looking activity—and calling any that you find to the attention of the citation bureau—can help you preserve your commodity credit score .


If you spot an error on your citation reputation, contact the recognition chest of drawers to dispute it. If the information is incorrect, the credit chest of drawers is legally required to correct or remove it.

credit monitoring services are another means to help safeguard your credit. These companies monitor your credit rating reports for raw natural process and transport you alerts when things like new credit lines or inquiries for credit show up on your report. While this wo n’t block anyone from accessing your citation history, it can help you stay mindful of who may be trying to open accounts in your diagnose .

When comparing the best credit monitor services, be sure to check the fees since not all of them are absolve. besides, make sure you know which credit reports are being monitored ; some services review just one of your credit reports, versus all three .

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