Consumers and businesses who wish to dispute payments to merchants can contact their credit card issuers to request a payment be stopped or frozen. They can also request that the account be frozen. This is useful for consumers who may have high credit card debt and spending problems. A security freeze is offered by the major credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax, Trans Union) that make a consumer's credit file inaccessible to creditors. This prevents the opening of new credit card accounts and can help in instances of identity theft or credit fraud.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Call your card issuer. This is the company that provided you with your credit card. Examples of credit card issuers include your bank, American Express, Visa and Mastercard. If you are disputing payment to a merchant, provide the card issuer with the details regarding the dispute. They can freeze the credit card payment transaction by not authorising payment to the merchant.
Freeze your credit card account. If your credit card has been stolen or if you have high credit card debt and spending problems, contact your card issuer and request that the account be frozen. In cases of credit card theft, it is important to contact the credit card issuer as soon as possible.
Request a security freeze. In cases of identity theft or credit fraud, you can request a security or credit freeze by calling each of the three nationwide credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax and Trans Union). Notify them you wish to place a security freeze on your credit file. The security freeze can be temporary or permanent. You can also recontact the credit bureaus to have it removed. A security freeze will prevent any new credit card accounts from being opened and thus prevent any payments or charges from occurring. Existing creditors or card issuers will also not be able to pull your credit file. This may prevent authorisations such as credit limit increases.
Tips and warnings
- Some credit card charges may be automatic. This often relates to subscriptions or other contracts that may have granted a merchant the right to automatically charge your credit card. You can contact your credit card company to dispute the charge and stop future payments. Closing your credit card account should be a last resort method for stopping any credit card payments.
- A fee may be charged by credit bureaus to place a security freeze on your credit file. When contacting the credit bureau, ask them if there is a charge for a security freeze.
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