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I have my credit frozen with all three credit bureaus. In my opinion it is a big pain to have to unfreeze, because I have to remember all the details to go to three web sites and jump through a bunch of hoops to do the unfreeze. I know that if I have an existing relationship with a bank or credit card company, they can bypass these freezes. In fact, I get a monthly report on my FICO credit score with one reporting agency, despite having a freeze in place.

For this reason, I decided to explore a loan offer with the same banking entity that I have both a credit card and a bank account with. However, when it got to the point where it tried to pull my credit report, it says I have to call three phone numbers to unfreeze my credit, and then call them back. Nowhere does it say I can continue to do anything online. This doesn't seem right. Shouldn't they be able to pull my credit report since I have an existing relationship with them?

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Yes, when you are attempting to open a new line of credit, whether it is with a new lender or a lender who you already have a relationship with, you need to lift a credit freeze. After all, the purpose of a credit freeze is to prevent new lines of credit from being opened. From Equifax (emphasis mine):

A security freeze, also known as a credit freeze, is a tool that can help prevent unauthorized access to your credit reports. Freezes are federally regulated. Once a freeze is placed on one of your credit reports, it prevents access to it by certain third parties, like lenders and creditors you’re requesting new credit from.

This means if you’re applying for credit – buying a car or requesting a loan, for instance – you’ll need to temporarily lift or permanently remove your security freeze to allow a credit check.

Since you are exploring a new loan offer, this falls under requesting new credit and you are required to lift the freeze.

New lines of credit are hard pulls on your credit, which are blocked by the credit freeze. Soft pulls are allowed by the freeze, which is why you can obtain a monthly FICO score.

If lifting the freeze is too onerous, you can explore replacing the freeze with one of the other options on the Equifax page I linked above, which includes fraud alerts. Of course, you would still need to lift the freeze in order to change to a different fraud protection method.

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  • Ah, thanks... that penultimate paragraph explains it. With regards to being onerous, last time I had to lift the freeze there were some "identify verification" questions which I could not possibly answer as they involved my ex-wife (same last name) for events that occurred after we separated - I was on the phone for over half an hour trying to prove I was me. :-/
    – Michael
    Jun 25 '20 at 18:42
  • @Michael I understand your frustration now, those identity verification questions are annoying even in the best case scenario! Hopefully the questions being about her are not indicative that your credit reports are inaccurate. If you haven't done so recently, I would definitely order a credit report and review every item on it to make sure it should be there.
    – lizziv
    Jun 26 '20 at 2:20
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The bank has no reason to lie to you. They do want to sell you this loan, and they do want to make it as easy as possible for you.

If they tell you that you need to unfreeze your credit to continue, then you do.

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  • ok. i wasn't sure if maybe it was a case of one hand (the website) not knowing what the other was doing, and if there was some extra set of steps I would have to go through.
    – Michael
    Jun 25 '20 at 18:45
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This isn't typically how it works.

My wife and I have our credit and identities frozen beyond the big three credit agencies. Yet we needed to have a credit score pulled for an apartment rental. The rental company supplied a web site, where we verified our identity and the credit reporting agency supplied a PIN. The PIN was good for a limited amount of time and only one use. It did not cost us any money. It could have gone faster, but because of schedules it took two days to accomplish this.

They would not be able to pull your credit just because you have an existing relationship. That is very easy to spoof.

Is this for a mortgage? I am unsure why a bank would require all three credit agencies. Most lenders typically use one.

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  • it's for a home equity loan. i ran into the same thing the last time we purchased a car... they ran a preliminary check with one agency but then we had to unfreeze them all before they could finalize the paperwork. i guess lenders are being more careful these days...
    – Michael
    Jun 25 '20 at 18:44

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