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“The contract may be unclear, may include provisions that allow the other party to change it, or include provisions that you may be better off not agreeing to, such as an arbitration agreement,” she says.
For example, immediately following the breach, Equifax introduced its free Trusted ID Premier product, which lets consumers lock their credit and provides credit monitoring.
And it may take a bit of time before a request to lift a freeze goes into effect.
“The new law mandates that credit freezes can be lifted in less than 1 hour, but I recommend allowing a bit more lead time,” says Credit industry analyst Ted Rossman.
Equifax and Trans Union have you create a password if you manage your credit online, and will issue you a PIN if you manage your credit on the phone or by mail.
These PINs and passwords are important because you’ll need them in case you want to temporarily lift your credit freeze in the future, for instance, if you want to apply for a new credit card.
“With locks, it’s not clear who would be liable” for any losses, she says.
Wu recommends that consumers freeze their credit rather than lock it, because the products are so new and there are still many unknowns, she says.
A credit freeze offers more stringent legal protections, making it the better option for consumers, according to Christina Tetreault, a staff attorney on the financial services team at Consumers Union, the advocacy division of Consumer Reports.
But a lot of people don’t think about the vulnerability of their kids’ future credit, Rossman says.
In a recent study, Credit found that only half of U. adults had checked their own credit score or report in the 6 months after the Equifax breach came to light.
It costs for your first month of access and per month thereafter.
Experian’s credit lock product also includes daily credit monitoring and alerts you if someone tries to apply for credit while the report is locked, as well as access to your FICO Score 8 and Experian credit report.
If you're considering freezing your own credit, remember that you can freeze your children’s credit, too.