Equifax vic­tims may face an­other has­sle in buy­ing an iPhone

Manteca Bulletin - - Dollars & Sense -

CU­PER­TINO (AP) — Ap­ple fans that froze their credit af­ter the Equifax data breach may end up with an­other has­sle on their hands if they try to get one of the new iPhones that can cost more than $1,000. Peo­ple who rushed to lock down their credit and want to make any other big pur­chases may find the same in­con­ve­niences.

Since Equifax dis­closed that 143 mil­lion Amer­i­cans had their So­cial Se­cu­rity num­bers and other per­sonal data hacked, ex­perts have en­cour­aged peo­ple who may af­fected to put in place what’s known as a credit freeze. That locks down a per­son’s credit from be­ing stolen by iden­tity thieves — but could also mean de­lays and more fees for Equifax vic­tims who want to fi­nance a new phone.

You can un­freeze your credit be­fore a big pur­chase and freeze it again af­ter­ward. How long it will take and how much it costs vary state by state. Ex­perts say gen­er­ally it’s best to give the ma­jor credit bu­reaus — Tran­sUnion, Ex­pe­rian and Equifax — no­tice of sev­eral hours or even a few days be­fore you ap­ply for fi­nanc­ing. And peo­ple just get­ting used to the idea of freez­ing their credit could pay $3 to $10 for each ac­tion at each of the three bu­reaus.

Pay­ment plans are a grow­ing business for the ma­jor wire­less carriers, many of which no longer sub­si­dize a cus­tomer’s pur­chase, be­cause a monthly pay­ment makes an ex­pen­sive smart­phone more af­ford­able. And Ap­ple and the wire­less carriers of­ten need ac­cess to your credit re­port in or­der to ap­prove the sale of a new phone un­der a monthly plan.

“But if you are some­one who has frozen their credit record, you may sud­denly dis­cover that you can’t af­ford an iPhone X, af­ter all,” said Pa­trick Moor­head, an in­dus­try an­a­lyst with Moor & In­sights.

Prov­i­dence, Rhode Is­land-based Cit­i­zens Fi­nan­cial Group, which runs the Ap­ple fi­nanc­ing pro­gram, said any new or ex­ist­ing cus­tomer who has a credit freeze on their information will be de­clined fi­nanc­ing.

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