Credit Lock vs Credit Freeze: What’s the Difference?

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Credit Lock vs Credit Freeze

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a credit lock vs. credit freeze?

You may be confused but it doesn’t have to be hard!

We learned how important the difference was a few years ago by taking identity theft more serious.

For instance, our accounts were constantly being attacked by online hackers who try to access personal information.

With this in mind, we researched what a credit lock vs. credit freeze actually meant.

However, we don’t rely on our credit score and credit history, but we know it impacts many areas of our lives (insurance, loans, cell phone bill, etc.).

In fact, your credit plays a major role in your family’s life.

You shouldn’t be obsessed with your credit, but it’s important to learn what you can do to protect your credit.

As a result, we think that you can leverage understanding the difference of a credit lock vs. credit freeze.

A credit lock and credit freeze are two ways to protect your credit reports from being used by scammers who are trying to open new accounts.

Now, let’s jump into the details of the differences and why one is clearly better than the other.

Related reading: Identity Force Review: Is It Worth The Cost?

The Difference Between Credit Lock vs Credit Freeze

A credit lock and credit freeze have similar names but do totally different things.

Most importantly, credit locks are handled by private companies. You’ve probably heard of LifeLock and IdentityForce. These type of service usually always cost money by signing up for a subscription.

On the other hand, a credit freeze is offered directly by the credit bureaus: EquifaxExperian, and TransUnion.

In addition, TransUnion Credit Monitoring is a paid premium solution for $24.95/month packed with everything you need to monitor, understand, and protect your credit.

In detail, here’s a side-by-side comparison:

Detailed Comparison

Credit Lock

Credit Freeze

Governed by private company policies

Governed by federal law

Prevents scammers from accessing your credit information

Prevents scammers from accessing your credit information and opening new accounts

Private company policy applies for any losses

Losses protected legally

Run by private companies

Run by credit bureaus only

Typically a cost associated with the subscription

Free of charge with all 3 bureaus

Which Is A Better Option?

Above all, a credit freeze is a better option than a credit lock. A credit freeze allows you to seal your credit reports so only you can temporarily “unfreeze” your credit.

Credit freezes will stay on your files indefinitely until you choose to remove them.

In fact, you will usually only “unfreeze” your credit when legitimate applications for credit and services need to be processed.

Most importantly, a credit freeze is an added layer of security so thieves can’t establish new credit in your name even if they have your personal information.

Credit freezes are different than credit locks. There may be a monthly fee for a credit lock. It’s free to place or lift a credit freeze.

In addition, you can freeze your child’s credit file to prevent it from being shared with potential creditors so new lines of credit cannot be opened in their name.

Credit Lock vs Credit Freeze: Final Words

We recommend you follow these steps to protect your finances:

  1. Sign up for an account with Credit Karma to get free credit monitoring and notifications of suspicious activity. If you are looking for a more sophisticated tool, you can sign up for IdentityForce. This is the service we use to protect our identity and credit. You can receive a discount using our affiliate link.
  2. Freeze your credit with the 3 main credit bureaus today! Use the links below to freeze your credit.

Most importantly, by following these two steps, you will enhance your protection against fraud and identity theft!

But, don’t forget you will still need to check your credit card statements and bank accounts for any suspicious activity.

About the Author

About Us
Neiko & Alexis Johnson

Neiko & Alexis are personal finance experts and founders of Secret to Finance. They learned how to get out of debt and pay off $240,000 in 27 months. Read more.

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