Credit card issuers permit card holders to freeze credit accounts for a variety of reasons. You can complete the process on your own without the help of a credit counselor; however, you must make a formal request and answer several questions. After you've frozen a credit account, you will not be able to use your credit cards to make purchases, withdrawals or balance transfers. During this time, you can re-access your financial goals and figure out ways to manage your debt more effectively.
Contact your credit card issuer. State that you are an authorized user or card holder and verify your identify with your first and last name, Social Security number, date of birth and current address. If you previously locked your credit card account because of an incidence of fraud or to obtain added protection, provide your PIN or password.
State the reason for the freeze. Common reasons include suspected fraudulent activity or an inability to curb or rein in excessive spending.
Set an effective start and end date. Your credit card will be frozen until the end date elapses, and, in most cases, cannot be removed until then. Comply with your credit card issuer's rules for freezing an account.
Freeze higher interest accounts first. Suze Orman, a financial expert, suggests paying off higher interest credit cards first when managing credit card debt and restricting use to minimize interest fees.
Place a freeze on your credit reports -- which are documented by TransUnion, Equifax and Experian -- if your credit cards have been stolen or lost. By freezing your credit, you are preventing all access to your credit reports and denying yourself an ability to open new credit accounts. Modifications can be made to meet your specific needs.
Equifax P.O. Box 740241 Atlanta, GA 30374-0241 800-685-1111 Equifax.com
Experian P.O. Box 9595 Allen, TX 75013-9595 888-397-3742 Experian.com
TransUnion P.O. Box 1000 Chester, PA 19022 800-888-4213 TransUnion.com
Not all credit card issuers will freeze a credit card account. If your credit card issuer refuses to temporarily freeze your account, contact each of the three national consumer reporting agencies -- TransUnion, Experian and Equifax -- and ask each company to place a freeze on your credit report and any credit accounts reported therein. Charges may apply; however, a security freeze is typically free. Contact each company by phone and identify yourself with your Social Security number, date of birth and full legal name.