State laws require CRAs to provide consumers with the means to temporarily authorize release of “frozen” credit reports. This temporary lift of a security freeze is commonly referred to as a “thaw.”
PINs – By state laws, CRAs must enable consumers to temporarily lift (“thaw”) the release of their credit report(s) to specific new potential lender(s) or for limited time periods, such as when you are buying a new home or shopping for a car. CRAs do so by issuing consumers personal identification numbers (PINs) when consumers order a security credit freeze.
Fees – Most state laws authorize CRAs to charge consumers fees to thaw or temporarily lift a security credit freeze, and CRAs typically charge the maximum fees permitted by state laws. Some states, like North Carolina, prohibit CRAs from charging consumers any fees to “thaw” or temporarily lift a security credit freeze. See our “Security Freeze Fees” webpage for more information about fees CRAs charge residents in each state for temporarily lifting a security credit freeze.
Timing – It takes CRAs only fifteen (15) minutes to release your credit reports when you request a “thaw” online or by telephone. Some states, like Washington and North Carolina, require such quick electronic temporary release of security credit freezes. If you mail a request to “thaw” or temporarily lift a security credit freeze to the CRAs, most state laws allow the CRAs up to three (3) business days to thaw or temporarily lift a security credit freeze.
KEEP YOUR PIN SAFE – It can be a difficult process to get new PINs from the CRAs. Additionally, CRAs are authorized by most state laws to charge additional fees for replacement PINs. IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT TO KEEP A RECORD OF YOUR CRA PINS IN A SAFE PLACE.