While credit locks and credit freezes are similar in the sense that they restrict access to your credit reports, there are key differences between the two.
Credit freezes are protected by federal law, while credit locks are simply an agreement between you and a credit reporting agency. If someone fraudulently accesses your credit while it’s frozen, you’re legally protected from any financial liability. Credit locks don’t offer the same legal protection.
With that said, credit locks are more convenient and less time-consuming than credit freezes. They can be activated and deactivated instantly, usually from an app on your smartphone. Credit freezes can take longer to “thaw.”
Finally, the three major credit bureaus’ credit lock services may carry a monthly fee, while their credit freeze services are typically free of charge.