Have you recently had the name "CBNA" appear on your credit report and are unsure what it means? If so, you’re not alone. Many consumers have had hard pulls on their credit report from CBNA, which most commonly refers to Citibank North America, but can also refer to the Credit Bureau of North America, Community Bank, N.A., or Comenity Bank.
In this article, I’ll talk about what seeing CBNA on your credit card means, what each of the companies associated with the acronym CBNA are, and what you should do if you find something unexpected on your credit card.
What Is CBNA On My Credit Report?
An unexpected inquiry on your credit card can be stressful and lead to many questions. Where did the inquiry come from? Does an unexplained inquiry mean my identity has been stolen? Will this inquiry hurt my credit score?
One of the most confusing inquiries on credit reports is for CBNA. CBNA mainly refers to Citibank North America, which is a major consumer and business banking institution in the United States. If you see the letters CBNA on your credit report, that means that Citibank has pulled a credit inquiry on you.
When a bank or credit card company pulls a hard credit inquiry on you, that means the potential lender is reviewing your credit because you’ve applied for credit with them. Hard credit inquiries happen when you’re applying for things like a credit card, mortgage, or car loan.
Hard credit inquiries do adversely affect your credit report. For most consumers, a hard credit inquiry will take less than five points off their reports. If you only have a few credit accounts or a short credit history, however, a credit inquiry may hurt your credit score more. Having many hard credit inquiries in a short space of time will also hurt your credit score.
If you’ve got an inquiry from CBNA on your credit report and you’ve applied for a CBNA credit card or loan, you shouldn’t worry. Hard credit inquiries are a part of the process that comes with applying for a new credit account. You can write to the institution to ask them to remove the credit inquiry from your report, but they won't always do so, especially if the inquiry isn't fraudulent.
If you see the letters CBNA on your credit card and you haven’t applied for an account with a CBNA institution, you should take steps to protect your identity. I’ll explain the other institutions associated with CBNA in the next section, as well as what to do when you’ve got an unexplained inquiry on your account.
What Else Does CBNA Stand For?
While Citibank North America is the most common institution that uses the CBNA acronym on credit reports, there are several others.
#1: Credit Bureau of North America: CBNA may stand for Credit Bureau of North America, which is a debt collection agency. If you’ve got an open account with the Credit Bureau of North America, that means that you have an unpaid debt that they’re attempting to collect. You should attempt to settle your debt by paying it off. The best way to do this is to negotiate a pay for delete agreement with CBNA that says that CBNA will remove their information from your credit report once you’ve paid the debt.
#2: Community Bank, N.A.: CBNA may also stand for Community Bank, N.A., which is a small local bank that offers personal and business banking in New York and Pennsylvania. If you’ve got a credit inquiry from Community Bank, N.A., you may have applied for a credit line or loan there.
#3: Comenity Bank: Comenity Bank is a bank that manages credit cards mainly associated with stores and brands such as Victoria’s Secret or Gamestop. If you’ve applied for a credit card recently at a store, you may see an inquiry from CBNA on your credit report.
What To Do If You’ve Got Something Unexpected on Your Credit Report
If you’ve got an unexpected inquiry on your credit report that doesn’t match any of your recent credit activity, you should take steps to protect your identity. Start with these five steps to make sure your identity is secure.
#1: Contact the Company That Made the Inquiry
The first thing to do is to contact the company that made the inquiry. Call the company associated with the inquiry and ask them to prove that it was you that triggered the inquiry. If they can’t, then you can ask the company to notify the three major credit bureaus to remove the inquiry from your account.
#2: Document the Fraudulent Inquiry
If you’ve determined the inquiry is indeed fraudulent, you should download and complete an identity theft complaint and affidavit form from the Federal Trade Commission’s website. These can be sent to banks, creditors, and credit bureaus in order to explain the inquiry and any other fraudulent credit activity.
Depending on the situation, you may also want to fill out a police report.
#3: Notify the Three Credit Bureaus
After documenting the inquiry with the Federal Trade Commission, you should place a credit freeze on your credit report, which restricts access to your accounts and limits the new inquiries that can be made. You need to contact all three credit companies individually.
#4: Place a Fraud Alert at the Three Credit Bureaus
You can also place a free, 90 day fraud alert with each of the three credit bureaus. This alert tells creditors to verify your identity through extra steps before extending credit in your name.
#5: Dispute the Inquiry at the Three Credit Bureaus
The best way to dispute an unexplained inquiry is to call the credit bureau or mail a formal notification of your dispute, proving that the inquiry was fraudulent and unauthorized. Unauthorized inquiries are relatively easy to remove, but may require a number of different conversations to remove.
Many consumers have asked themselves the question: “What is CBNA on my credit report?” or wonder if they've applied for a CBNA credit card when they see those letters on their credit report. An inquiry from CBNA on your credit report means that you’ve applied for a credit account with an institution associated with those letters, or that you’ve got an open debt in collection with the Credit Bureau of North America.
If you haven’t applied for a CBNA credit card, you should take steps to protect your identity from fraud.
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Hayley Milliman is a former teacher turned writer who blogs about education, history, and technology. When she was a teacher, Hayley's students regularly scored in the 99th percentile thanks to her passion for making topics digestible and accessible. In addition to her work for PrepScholar, Hayley is the author of Museum Hack's Guide to History's Fiercest Females.