Is it a good idea to freeze your credit?

It depends. You’ll need to weigh the benefits against the costs. Benefits include blocking access to your credit file by potential identity thieves. Costs include both time and fees. Credit bureaus typically charge $10 per request to implement a freeze. And then there is the inconvenience of (and an additional fee for) temporarily “thawing” your frozen credit, if necessary, to obtain new credit lines.

Some financial experts have noted that the credit freeze process is cumbersome and may not be necessary unless consumers have reason to believe that they are at high risk for identity theft. Others think that credit freezes are a reasonable precaution, especially for those with significant credit lines and no plans to apply for loans or credit.

It is important to realize, however, that a credit freeze will not protect you from all forms of identity theft. For example, it cannot protect you from having an identity thief use your existing credit card accounts.

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