THE MORTGAGE BROTHERS SHOW
How to Freeze and Unfreeze Credit Reports
Here we cover the easiest, most efficient, and cost-effective way to protect your credit from hacks and theft which is to freeze your credit report files. That being said, you don’t want a credit freeze to cause a lot of hassle in your life. We know a lot of borrowers who have had to spend hours on the phone trying to figure out how to unfreeze their credit so that we can pull their credit to get them pre-approved. Don’t let that happen to you…
It is easy to temporarily freeze and unfreeze your Equifax and Transunion bureaus online. It literally just takes 60 seconds to do.
You can elect to unfreeze for specific dates. This is very helpful especially if you are getting a mortgage. There are PINs to unfreeze your credit over the phone or mail, but be sure to store your PINs somewhere safe.
Of course, please keep your login info safe and secure. You don’t want to go through all this effort just to make it really easy for a hacker to get into your credit file.
*The following transcript has been edited for clarity.
Eddie Knoell — I’m Eddie Knoell.
Tom Knoell — And I’m Tom Knoell.
Eddie — Welcome everyone. You are at the Mortgage Brothers Podcast Show. That’s right. And today we’re doing a little how to, and what we’re dealing with is, how to freeze and unfreeze your credit.
Tom — We know you’re driving home right now or driving to work thinking, boy, I really want to know about freezing and unfreezing my credit. Even though it’s not as good as a cup of orange juice or that cup of coffee you’re drinking, it is something that we know we all think about. And in today’s day and age where everything is becoming more and more automated, whether we like it or not, everything is becoming more password oriented, and techie, which means people can start seeing things and accessing things that you don’t want access. And that includes your credit.
Eddie — That’s right. And the most effective way and safest way to actually keep your identity safe, your credit, is to basically freeze your credit. And it’s free. It’s free with two bureaus. Okay, everyone, there are three bureaus you all know. Most of you know that. There are three bureaus, the two bureaus that this is free with is, Equifax and TransUnion. What I’m going to show you today is, I’m going to share a screen here. And really this is anyone who’s listening to this on podcast. Really the best way to participate in this is, to actually go to our YouTube channel, The Mortgage Brothers Team, and you’ll search the freezing credit or unfreezing. So number one, let’s just start Tom, by showing them how to do this. Okay.
Tom — Okay. You’re going to pull something up on the screen?
Eddie — Yeah. I’m going to share my screen right now.
Tom — Okay. And so for all those drivers that are like, dang, I don’t have a screen. Well, we’ll just talk intuitively enough to where they can figure it out when they go.
Eddie — Right. So, if you go to the equifax.com website, and you go under personal, the tab, you will basically be at a scroll down and you can say, place or manager freeze. Okay. Again, Equifax and TransUnion are free. I’m going to show you how to set these up and they’re very easy. Once you set these up, you can unfreeze your credit in 60 seconds or actually literally a maybe 30 seconds.
Tom — Okay, so what happens if the borrower, slash prospect, slash podcast listener, saying, “Well Ed and Tom, that’s only two of my three credit reports, credit bureaus, what about the third?” Well, you can absolutely put a freeze on that third one, which is the Experian, which you can pay for. But what you and I were talking about before the podcast was, you really need to have at least two bureaus to get anything done in the credit world. For mortgages, you need at least two. Typically, you need three, but you typically need only… No, I use typically a lot. You need at least two. By freezing two for free, then even if someone did access the Experian, then they wouldn’t be able to apply for any credit. So, the thought you and I had was, it seems very practical, you can freeze for free, unfreeze for free. Let’s just let our audience know about that. We just think it makes a lot of sense.
Eddie — That’s right. This is the easiest way to do it. This is how I do it, and, I’m going to show you how to do it. Okay. You’re on Equifax. You go to personal, you just scroll down a little bit, you’re going to see place or manager freeze. What you’ll do is, you’ll come down here and if you have never started or created an account with Equifax, you would click on, get started with the freeze. Okay? And you’d fill out all your information. All right? And what will happen is, they’ll set you up, you’ll have a username and password. All right? So whenever you’re ready to go in and manage your Equifax account to freeze or unfreeze, the next time you come to Equifax, you will see this. You’re going to come to the same spot and you’ll see manager freeze, right? So, you’ll click on that –
Tom — So instead of start, a freeze, there’s a little button next to it that says, manage or freeze.
Eddie — That’s right. And so basically what’ll happen is you actually log into your account and I did it already. Here’s actually what my account looks like. It doesn’t show any –
Tom — Is there some personal data we can like –
Eddie — I was looking at that. I was like, is there anything in here that’s… Everything in here is very… Basically, there’s nothing in here that will show anything for you, but it will show my name. But what I’ll do is, I just logged in, it just took me literally 10 seconds to do it. And I scroll down and see here, or wait, where did I see this? Oh, manager freeze. Click on that button. All right. It takes you to this page. You say I want to temporarily lift a security freeze. This is so, if someone’s applying for a mortgage, you know the mortgage is going to last let’s just say 30 days. You couldn’t lift it for 30 days. You can lift for a day if you want. We recommend lifting your credit through the entire mortgage process.
Tom — And the reason why we do that is because not only do we pull credit upfront, but also as we near the end of the loan, we end up doing a credit refresh.
Eddie — That’s right.
Tom — And even a loan officer will sometimes forget about that. But, we’ll get a ping from the underwriters saying, “Hey, please reach out to your borrowers. We tried doing a credit refresh and the bureaus are frozen again, please let them know.” And that’ll just delay things. So typically unfreeze for a good 30 days and that should get us covered.
Eddie — That’s right. Because again, you want this credit freeze, everyone who’s listening, and we want this credit freeze to be easy. You do not want the credit freeze to be a pain, a pain in your life where every single time you go and buy something to get financing, you can’t do it. Okay. If it takes too long, if it takes longer than a couple of minutes to do, it’s probably not worth doing, in some cases. Right?
Eddie — You have to figure out. Okay, are you either going to do this or not? And I think to do it efficiently, again, you don’t want this to jam up your life and have it be a pain. So again, that’s why we’re showing you this.
Tom — Okay. So speaking of easy, this is Equifax, right?
Eddie — Yep. This is Equifax. So you scroll down here, you click on temporary lift a security freeze for a specific date range. What happens here is that you actually… You just put in the dates. And it’s a range, it doesn’t have to be today or a number of days. It’s a date range.
Tom — Yeah.
Eddie — Okay. That’s how easy it is. And it just will be, you hit submit, and then that’s what would happen.
Okay, let me show you how it works over at TransUnion, because that’s the second. Okay.
Tom — Again, the second free Bureau that you can lock.
Eddie — Right. So we’re going to come to the main page, transunion.com, you’re going to go to under credit help and click on credit freeze.
Tom — So even if you haven’t started an account, you still go to credit freeze.
Eddie — Yes. And that’s why… If you want to freeze my credit, again, you would actually create an account. If you wanted to freeze or unfreeze, the first thing that would happen, if you didn’t have an account, it would prompt you to create an account. You’d have a username and password. And there’s something else I forgot to mention is that, each of these, TransUnion and Equifax will give you a pin. The pin is only if you want to unfreeze your credit, or freeze it by the phone or mail. If you don’t have access to the internet or you don’t want to get on the internet or go onto these websites, the pin is what is most important.
Tom — Got it.
Eddie — Okay. They’re going to give you the guidance, but that’s –
Tom — So people that have flip phones, will probably need a pen.
Eddie — That’s right. Anyway, I would create my account like I’ve already done. I would go to unfreeze or let’s just say, I’ll go to member login. Let me do that. Once I do, it logs me in and I’ve just logged into my TransUnion account, and I can remove the freeze or temporary lift it. And of course, same thing. I’m going to temporarily lift and I put in the dates. Just like Equifax, it gives me the dates and I would continue, I would go through the continue button, and I would then submit it. And it’s that easy. So I can do that in literally 30 seconds.
Tom — I don’t actually have my credit frozen.
Eddie — It’s a hard decision. I know a lot of people are probably thinking about it, who are obviously watching this.
Tom — Well, I think you just convinced me. I think I’m going to go do it. It’s a no brainer.
Eddie — That’s right. Let’s just say you’re going to go buy an appliance, or you’re going to go get a mortgage and you know that your credit’s frozen? Hey, you keep your credentials safe because again, you want to keep your credentials really safe to unlock your credit because you don’t want to make it extra easy for a hacker. But yeah, Tom, I’m glad. This is what I think everyone will benefit from is, just seeing these two.
Tom — Yeah. Perfect. Okay. What else have we forgotten?
Eddie — Let’s see. I will say, some of my borrowers have been on the phone for a couple hours trying to unfreeze their credit because they don’t know how to log in or they forgot their pin or let’s say they don’t use the online version and they’re trying to call in and unfreeze their credit. Don’t do it. If you’ll have to call in or mail in to unfreeze, don’t freeze your credit. You’ll be so unhappy you did.
Tom — Right. And for those that are curious to what’s the difference between this and some type of credit monitoring system, this is in no way a monitoring system. This is simply, you kind of doing it yourself, reaching out to two to three bureaus saying, I want it frozen. Why does it matter to freeze? Because when someone takes your identity and applies for a Best Buy, big screen, like 85-inch plasma curved TV, whatever they’re called, they’re going to need to pull your credit. That’s why you’re simply doing this. If you’re very sensitive about identity theft, there are programs out there that can help you monitor, and set up certain alerts. But this is kind of a do it yourself.
Eddie — That’s right. I mean something. I know that the big one is LifeLock or something like that, but, we’re not making a recommendation for one of these companies, but that’s one of those services, there are services out there. Anyway, what we’re showing you here, again, just as a disclaimer, we’re not experts in credit. This is how we personally, I have personally done it. We wanted to share it with you guys. I hope it helps.
Tom — Yeah. Awesome. All right. You ready to call it a day?
Eddie — That’s right. Time to go home.
Tom — Okay. Let’s call it a day folks.
Eddie — Thank you, everyone.
Tom — All right, thanks, guys.
Eddie — Hey guys, thanks for listening to the Mortgage Brothers Show. Please let us know if you have any questions you’d like us to answer on this podcast. You can email your questions at, tom@AZMortgageBrothers.com or yours truly at eddie@AZtheMortgageBrothers.com. And be sure to ask us for a free quote on your next mortgage. Tom and I will personally work with you and help you through the whole process.
Signature Home Loans, LLC does not provide tax, legal, or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for information purposes only. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting and advisors before engaging in any transaction. Signature Home Loans, NMLS# 1007154, NMLS# 210917 and NMLS#1618695 equal housing lender.