Friday is the first day that a no-charge credit freeze is available to consumers, mandated under regulatory relief legislation enacted this spring – and the federal consumer financial protection agency highlighted the launch date on its blog.
In late May, President Donald Trump enacted (with his signature) the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (EGRRCPA, S. 2155), which included a provision requiring credit reporting agencies Equifax, Experian and TransUnion to freeze and unfreeze Americans’ credit reports for no charge. The effective date of the provision was set for four months after enactment – Friday.
In its blog post, the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (BCFP, formerly known as CFPB) noted that credit freezes (also known as “security freezes”) restrict access to a consumer’s credit file, making it harder for identity thieves to open new accounts in their name.
The agency also noted that consumers can obtain a free freeze for their children under age 16; guardians, conservators or those with valid powers of attorney can also obtain a free freeze for those under their charge as well.
“How will these freezes work? Contact all three of the nationwide credit reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion,” BCFP advises. “If you request a freeze online or by phone, the agency must place the freeze within one business day. If you request a lift of the freeze, the agency must lift it within one hour. If you make your request by mail, the agency must place or lift the freeze within three business days after it gets your request. You also can lift the freeze temporarily without a fee.”