Have you noticed a new account on your credit report listed as Citibank North America (CBNA)? If you recently applied for a new credit card, a CBNA entry indicates a hard inquiry in your credit history, and there is no need for you to worry. However, if you didn’t apply for a credit card, it generally indicates something more serious. Read on to learn more about CBNA and what a hard inquiry can mean for your credit score.
What is CBNA?
CBNA is the third-largest credit card issuer in the U.S, supplying own-brand and co-branded cards for companies like Best Buy. A CBNA entry on your credit report probably indicates that Citibank has conducted a hard credit inquiry into your account.
However, other institutions use the acronym CBNA on credit reports:
- Credit Bureau of North America: It collects unpaid debts on behalf of third-party companies. If you owe money, and CBNA is on your credit report, this credit bureau could be trying to collect an unpaid bill, and it will phone you and send you letters.
- Community Bank NA: It is a small bank that offers personal and business banking services to residents in New York and Pennsylvania. If you applied for a loan or line of credit, it could conduct a hard inquiry.
- Comenity Bank: It is a credit card provider that helps manage store credit cards for large brands, such as Victoria’s Secret. If you recently applied for a store credit card, it may conduct a hard inquiry.
How long does a CBNA inquiry stay on your credit report?
Although a hard inquiry can negatively impact your credit report, the effect should be minimal, around five points, and it should not impact your long-term score, as it only remains on your credit report for up to two years. However, the impact can be bigger if you have a short credit history or several hard inquiries in a short period.
What to do if you didn’t authorize a hard inquiry
If you didn’t apply for any line of credit and CBNA appears on your credit report, either someone may have committed fraud using your credit card or the entry is a mistake. Someone may have mistyped a Social Security number or confused your credit profile with someone with a similar name. Either way, you will need to dispute the entry, but if you are a victim of identity theft, it may make your life complicated. If you suspect the entry is fraudulent, take the following steps to ensure that it doesn’t have a major impact on your finances.
Contact the company
Reach out to Citibank and ask for documentation that proves you triggered the inquiry. Tell the bank that you believe the account is fraudulent and would like to speak to a fraud specialist to resolve the issue. Citibank should provide information that authenticates the inquiry. If it cannot, it must contact the three major credit bureaus to remove the entry from your credit report.
Citibank Customer Service
P.O. Box 6500
Sioux Falls, SD 57117
Phone number: 800-950-5114
Document and report the fraudulent activity
You should document all instances of identity theft and report fraudulent activity on your credit report. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) website allows consumers to file a complaint and an affidavit form, as well as document and report instances of identity theft. In some instances, it is beneficial to file a police report.
Notify the major credit bureaus
After notifying the FTC about possible fraud, you need to notify the major credit bureaus: TransUnion, Experian and Equifax. You must complete each bureau’s paperwork and freeze your accounts to prevent new fraudulent accounts from appearing. You can also request a free 90-day fraud alert from the credit bureaus to inform you about any new activity on your account that may result from identity theft.
Monitor your credit moving forward
It is important to monitor your credit report to ensure that you can quickly flag and remove any fraudulent activity. Credit monitoring is a great habit that helps prevent extensive false activity and enables you to understand the status of your credit score. You can request free copies of your credit report from the major consumer credit bureaus periodically.
If you’ve noticed an inquiry from CBNA on your credit report, you probably applied for a credit card recently, so you have nothing to worry about. However, you need to take action immediately if you have not applied for a credit card.
Understanding what’s on your credit report can be confusing, but there are many resources available to help you feel comfortable about monitoring your credit, taking steps to improve your score and removing collections accounts from your credit report.
Update: This article has been updated to reflect current contact and overall information for Citibank.
Disclaimer: This story was originally published on November 4, 2020, on BetterCreditBlog.org. To find the most relevant information concerning collections or credit card inquiries, please visit: https://money.com/how-to-remove-collections-from-credit-report/ or https://money.com/get-items-removed-from-credit-report/