Credit freeze free nationwide as of Friday

FILE- This June 10, 2015, file photo shows a chip credit card in Philadelphia. Consumers can now freeze their credit for free under a new federal law, which takes effect Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. A credit freeze restricts access to your credit file, essentially halting anyone from opening any new credit in your name. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

Consumers can now freeze their credit for free under a new federal law.

A credit freeze restricts access to your credit file, essentially halting anyone from opening any new credit in your name. The rules used to vary by state, but previously it could cost up to $10 to put a freeze in place. That fee often had to be paid again when someone wanted to unfreeze it for any legitimate uses.

But under a new law that takes effect Friday, consumers anywhere in the U.S. can do so quickly and for free.

Congress passed the law in response to last year’s massive Equifax hack, which exposed the private information of more than 145 million Americans. President Donald Trump signed it into law in May.