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Credit Lock vs. Credit Freeze

Both locking and freezing your credit with all 3 major consumer credit bureaus will stop creditors from accessing your credit file for most applications. That means would-be fraudsters will have a tough time opening new financial accounts in your name.

However, a credit lock provides more flexibility than a credit freeze, as it’s quicker to place and lift a lock.


Credit Lock

Credit Freeze


Credit Karma members who have are a part of the Credit Lock beta program can instantly lock and unlock their TransUnion credit report.

However, locking your credit report with 1 bureau won’t lock it across all bureaus.

To lock your credit directly with the 3 major consumer credit bureaus, you can contact the bureaus directly:

TransUnion TrueIdentity:



Equifax Lock and Alert™:



To freeze your credit, you can contact each of the major consumer credit bureaus:







For Credit Lock beta members, it’s free to lock your TransUnion credit report through Credit Karma!

TransUnion TrueIdentity is free through their site.

Equifax Lock & AlertTM is free through their site.

Experian offers a credit lock for free. for the first 30 days, and $19.99 each additional month.

A federal law passed in September 2018 made it free for you to freeze and unfreeze your credit with all 3 major consumer credit bureaus.

How long does it last?

Credit Lock through TransUnion and Equifax will stay enabled until you choose to unlock.

Credit lock through Experian will last the length of your subscription to the applicable credit bureau or until you unlock it.

Members who lock their TransUnion credit report through Credit Lock beta can disable the credit lock on their TransUnion credit report at any time. The lock will last as long as your Credit Karma account is active.

Most states will allow a credit freeze to stay in place indefinitely until you remove it.

In other states, a freeze will expire after 7 years.

How long does it take to go into effect?

Changing the lock status directly with the credit bureaus can be instant if done online, but may take longer if done via phone.

For the Credit Lock beta program, locking and unlocking your TransUnion credit report through Credit Karma is instantaneous.

Unfreezing your credit may be a longer process as you’ll need to contact the bureau directly. You may need to provide certain information, such as a PIN, to the bureau in order to have the freeze lifted.

Will my credit scores be affected?

Locking your credit will not directly impact your credit scores. However, your credit scores may still change while your credit is locked.

Freezing your credit will not directly impact your credit scores. However, your credit scores may still change while your credit is frozen. 

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