Generic credit card, with snow on top and icicles hanging from the bottom

The current ability to freeze and temporarily unfreeze a credit report is very cumbersome.

  • It's hard to know which agency(ies) a particular lender might use. They may use only one agency, or need access to all three. Sometimes a subset of two.
  • It’s hard to know precisely when they'll need access. Unlocking all three for arbitrary periods increases the risk of abuse.

A better solution would be for me, the consumer, to be able to request a one-time-access code (OTC) from the agencies that I can then provide to each lender as part of my credit application. That lender then uses the OTC to access the credit report. The codes should have certain features:

  • They must be used within some time period, say 30 days.
  • They must be valid for a short window (say five minutes) after first use, to allow for errors experienced by the lender when retrieving my credit report.
  • They must be easy for me to generate by logging in to the agency's website, then copying and pasting from that website into my lender’s application.
  • Ideally, they are human-readable, for that rare circumstance where the code must be manually copied (say when filling out a paper application). Perhaps a combination of my credit agency user ID (email address) and a randomly-generated code phrase like "how-now-brown-cow-jumped-moon".
  • Ideally, a single website exists where I can request a single code that can work with all three agencies.

It will be impossible for me to request this functionality from each agency. A government authority must mandate this be implemented across all agencies.

I sent a variation of this message to the CFPB, all three of my State representatives, and all three of my Federal representatives. I don’t expect anything to come of it.