Dear Consumer Ed:
If I place a credit freeze on my credit report, will it prevent a credit card company from increasing the credit limit on my credit card?
Consumer Ed says:
A credit freeze will prevent most parties from accessing your credit report or credit score, but it probably wouldn’t prevent your current credit card company from increasing the credit limit on a card that you obtained prior to putting the credit freeze in place.
Credit freezes, also known as security freezes, are regulated on a state-by-state basis. Georgia law allows consumers to place a security freeze on their credit reports by sending a request in writing to a credit reporting agency. Generally, a credit freeze prevents credit reporting agencies from releasing your credit report or credit score unless you first remove the freeze by providing your password. There are, however, exceptions to this general rule.
One of these exceptions is for companies with which the consumer has a pre-existing account, contract, or debtor-creditor relationship for the limited purposes of reviewing the active account, or collecting the financial obligation owing for the account. Your current credit card company is an example of this. Therefore, your credit card company and its employees will be able to view your credit report for the purpose of reviewing your active account. Your credit provider would likely make a determination of whether to increase your credit limit from the information it gathers from this review. This exception also means that putting a credit freeze into place wouldn’t prevent your credit card company from increasing the credit limit on your card.
If you’d like to put a credit freeze into place, you should send a written request to all three of the major credit bureaus—Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion--because different credit issuers may use different credit bureaus. Your request should include the following information:
- Full name (and former name if applicable)
- Current address and former address if it changed in the last 5 years
- Social Security number
- Date of birth
- Photocopy of a driver’s license, state ID card or other government-issued identification
- Proof of current residence, such as a copy of a phone or utility bill
- If you are a victim of identity theft, include a copy of either the police report; investigative report, or complaint to a law enforcement agency concerning identity theft;
- Georgia residents who are not victims of identity theft and are under age 65 should include payment by check, money order or credit card in the amount of $3.00. Do not send cash in the mail.
You can contact the credit bureaus at the addresses below:
Experian Security Freeze
P.O. Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013
Equifax Security Freeze
P.O. Box 105788
Atlanta, GA 30348
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19022-2000
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