Here's What You Need to Know
In this blog, we will explain what a credit freeze is, why they are helpful to some people, and how it can affect your next electricity plan.
- What is a credit freeze?
- Will a credit freeze damage my credit score?
- How can it affect or delay the EO enrollment process into a new plan?
- Here’s how to lift it… step by step
- Reminder: If you had to lift it initially, you’ll have to lift it once again for each new plan
What is a Credit Freeze?
Credit Freeze: a credit freeze allows you to manage access to your credit report, preventing U.S. credit bureaus from selling your personal financial information. A credit freeze also prevents you—or someone attempting to steal your identity—from opening a new credit card or line of credit.
Credit freezes may also be known as security freezes. Freezing your credit will not affect your credit score whatsoever. In fact, it may help preserve your score from damage imposed by identity thieves.
Duration: The credit freeze will last until you decide to temporarily lift it or remove it outright.
Eligibility: Anyone can freeze their credit report, regardless of whether or not their identity has been stolen.
Please note, credit freezes are different from credit locks. The two are comparable, but there are a few notable differences.
Credit Lock: Locking your credit is a procedure that can help prevent identity theft and credit fraud by blocking access to your credit report. A credit lock, also known as a security lock, has the same result as a credit freeze, but it's easier and quicker to lock and unlock your credit than to freeze and unfreeze.
Credit locks are also typically paid for by the customer, unlike credit freezes which are always free. For more information about protecting yourself from identity theft, read this article or watch this video from the Federal Trade Commission.
Will a Credit Freeze Hurt My Credit?
No, a credit freeze will not hurt your credit whatsoever. According to the FTC, here are a few things you can do despite your credit freeze:
Obtain your free annual credit report
Open a new account, although you’ll need to lift the freeze temporarily
Apply for a job, rent an apartment, or buy insurance—a freeze doesn’t prohibit these actions, according to the FTC. However, if you’re doing any of these things, you may need to lift the freeze temporarily, either for a specific time or for a specific party, say, a potential landlord or employer.
Be mindful that identity thieves can still charge your existing accounts. You still need to monitor your bank, credit card, and insurance statements for fraudulent transactions.
Energy Ogre Members Should Lift Their Credit Freeze on Two Occasions
First Occasion: New Members Seeking First Plan
When new members join our service, it is essential they lift their credit freeze so that we can place them in the cheapest plan available. Since payment for electricity is made after the service is provided, almost every retail electricity provider (REP) runs a soft credit check on potential customers.
Therefore, when we attempt to enroll our members in a plan, the member’s soft credit check is sometimes rejected because of a credit freeze. In this case, the rejection does not mean the customer has no credit or bad credit. Instead, it just means the REP couldn’t see what their score was.
We will send out an email informing you exactly when it is time to temporarily lift the freeze, and then another email once the enrollment is complete and it is safe to refreeze.
If you prefer to not lift your credit freeze, be mindful this may inhibit our ability to enroll you in the lowest possible plan. If so, we will begin to search for an alternative.
Second Occasion: Existing Members Seeking Subsequent Plans
When we renew our members into subsequent plans, we also experience delays from credit freezes. However, we try to proactively remind our members it may soon be necessary to lift their credit freeze so we can once again enroll them in the cheapest plan.
We do our best to communicate with members as soon as we encounter a credit freeze issue. Please check your email periodically, especially as your current contract’s end date approaches. We will email you to lift your credit freeze just beforehand so that way we can enroll you in the cheapest plan available.
Again, if you prefer not to lift your credit freeze, it may inhibit our ability to enroll you in the lowest possible plan but we will search for the best available alternative.
Steps to Place or Lift Credit Freeze
There are three credit bureaus that transact credit freezes:
Placing a credit freeze with one bureau will prevent that particular agency from disclosing your credit report. However, you must request separate credit freezes from each of the three bureaus to block all access to your credit report.
If you need to place or lift a credit freeze, visit your respective bureau’s site linked above. Typically, these sites are user-friendly. Once you manage your report, changes should be made within the next 24 hours.
According to federal law, credit bureaus must conduct a credit freeze within 24 hours. Also, they must remove a freeze within one hour.
Help Us Help You
We understand how important it is to protect your identity. In fact, our platform utilizes banking-level security measures to ensure our member’s information is safe.
With that being said, we know many of our members rely on credit freezes or credit locks. But all we ask is that you work with us to lift your freeze or lock when we attempt to place you in a plan. After all, it’s our job to enroll you in the cheapest plan possible, and lifting the freeze or lock will allow us to do that.
If you have any questions about how a credit freeze may impact your account, please give us a call at (832) 975-1000 or send us an email at email@example.com.