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Citicards CBNA: What Is It And How To Remove From My Credit Report?

Written by Mike Pearson
Updated August 10, 2022

Have you recently discovered a Citicards CBNA entry on your credit report? Seeing Citicards Citibank North America on your credit report can happen for several reasons, and these entries sometimes appear as hard inquiries, so they’ll harm your credit score. 

Having Citicards CBNA might be why a recent credit card application wasn’t approved, or you didn’t get a good interest on your car loan. In this article, we’ll tell you more about Citicards CBNA, why you see one on your credit report, how it affects your credit report, and how to get it removed, so keep reading. 

What is Citicards CBNA?

If you see Citicards CBNA on your credit report, then you’ve probably applied for a credit card from Citibank, one of the biggest banks in the US and an extension of Citigroup that specializes in providing personal and commercial credit card services. 

Citibank offers various credit card deals designed to meet users’ various needs, whether they want to travel, use their cards for business, get cashback on their purchases, have 0%APR credit cards, or receive rewards for their transactions. 

However, some people see Citicards CBNA on their credit reports, and they’ve never applied for a card from this bank or don’t have an account. In this case, it would be possible that you’ve applied for a card from one of Citibank’s affiliates, so this data shows on your credit report. 

Because you’ve written an application, the bank has probably inquired about your credit score, and this appears as a hard inquiry. Due to this inquiry, your credit score will be impacted, and you might not be eligible for other credit cards, loans, or similar banking services. 

Which Major Brands are Affiliates of Citibank?

As one of the largest banking institutions in the US, almost half of the top e-commerce companies cooperate with Citibank to create their cards. These credit cards offer many financing benefits, allowing you to have better deals when you deal with these organizations. 

Using credit cards, buyers can get deferred interests, reward points, more extended return periods, exclusive offers, and various discount deals. If you have a line of credit with one of these companies, you’ll probably see Citicards CBNA on your credit report. Here are some of the major brands that work with Citibank. 

  • Bloomingdale’s
  • Staples
  • Sears
  • Costco
  • AT&T
  • Big O Tires
  • Expedia
  • Honda
  • NTB Tire
  • Macy’s
  • Wayfair
  • L.Bean
  • The Home Depot
  • Brand Source
  • Good Year
  • American Airlines
  • Best Buy
  • Brook’s Brothers
  • Ford
  • ExxonMobil
  • Shell 
  • Tire Kingdom

Why Does Citicards CBNA Appear on My Credit Report?

Seeing Citicards CBNA on your credit report shouldn’t be alarming all the time, as there are some harmless situations in which this piece of information will appear on your credit report. In other cases, you need to take immediate action to remove this entry from your credit report. 

Citibank is Checking Your Credit

If you’re a current customer of Citibank, the bank might check your credit score periodically. In this case, checking your score is called a soft inquiry, and it doesn’t affect your credit score. Instead, the bank is simply trying to assess your ability to commit to financial obligations like paying your loan, your Citibank credit card, or any other card from a Citibank affiliate. 

The bank can also check your credit score before sending you an unsolicited promotional credit offer. For example, an increase to your credit card limit will only be possible if the bank guarantees that your credit score is good enough to allow it. 

You had a Citibank Credit Account

Citicards CBNA will appear on your credit report if you were previously a Citibank client and had a credit account with them. After closing your account, the information can still appear on your credit report for up to 7 years if you weren’t paying your payments regularly or up to 10 years if you didn’t miss payments. 

You’re Added to Someone else’s Credit Account as an Authorized User

You might not have opened a credit account with Citibank, but someone has, and they added you as an authorized user with a supplementary card. Your spouse, parent, friend, business partner, or child can add you to their credit card. 

It’s an easy process and can help a friend or a family member build a good credit score or improve theirs. In this case, Citicards CBNA would still appear on your credit report, even though you’ve never had an account with Citibank in your name. 

When someone adds you as an authorized user, information from the account like the credit card limit and payment history will appear on your credit report. It will help improve your credit score if you’ve had a bad score in the past, as long as the account is in good standing. 

However, your credit score can be negatively impacted if the credit card owner isn’t making timely payments. Unfortunately, even if you’re not responsible for their bad spending and borrowing habits, you might not be eligible for a loan or a credit card. 

Similarly, being added as an authorized user to someone’s credit card can affect their credit score. You should use their credit responsibly because their credit score will be negatively impacted if you’re depleting their credit and not making timely payments. 

You’re a Victim of Fraud

If you’ve never applied for a credit card from Citibank or one of its affiliates, never received any promotional offer, or haven’t been added as an authorized user to someone’s credit card, then you might be a victim of fraud and identity theft. 

Unfortunately, some people will be able to impersonate you and try to fraudulently open accounts in your name, eventually affecting your credit score. In this case, you should do the following. 

  • Contact Citibank, and explain that you didn’t authorize any inquiry, and ask them about any details regarding the inquiry. 
  • Freeze any credit card issued in your name, so it can’t be used by anyone else. 
  • Visit the Federal Trade Commission online website and fill out the information to report the situation. 
  • Contact TransUnion, Experian, or Equifax to issue a fraud alert in your name, so this person isn’t able to issue any more credit cards. 

What is the Difference Between a Soft and Hard Inquiry?

Despite all the benefits you can have from owning a Citibank credit card, applying for this card means that you’ll probably end up with a hard inquiry on your credit report. So, what is a hard inquiry, and why is it so bad?

A hard credit inquiry appears on your credit report when you apply for a new credit card or loan like an insurance policy, car loan, mortgage, or installment plan for a cellphone. The creditor or lender runs a credit check to see your credit score and decide if you’re able to commit to your financial obligations. 

One hard inquiry isn’t disastrous if it appears on your credit report, as it will only decrease your score by a few points. However, seeing too many, especially over a short period of time, will significantly impact your credit score. 

When you have too many hard inquiries, your credit report shows that you’ve repeatedly been trying to get a loan or a credit card. So, this means that you’re probably dealing with a financial crisis. 

Whether you get approved for the loan or the credit card or not, the hard inquiry information will still appear on your credit report. The worst part is that this piece of information will affect your credit score for up to 2 years. 

Lenders and creditors can tell a lot about your financial situation by tracking hard inquiries. For example, with too many recent hard inquiries, a lender can see that you’re actively looking for a loan, so they might be able to sell you a good deal. 

Nevertheless, in some cases, hard inquiries won’t be treated as multiple inquiries when you’re shopping for specific loans. For example, when you’re looking for a mortgage loan, it’s normal to check with various lenders. All your inquiries will be counted as one, and this one inquiry will affect your credit score for a specific period of time. 

According to the credit scoring model used, an inquiry can affect your credit score from 14 to 45 days, so you can check various lenders and pick the best deal. However, this exception doesn’t apply to all types of loans. For example, if you’re applying for various credit cards, each application will result in a hard inquiry. 

Soft inquiries aren’t as harmful as hard inquiries because the creditor or lender checks your credit score and history without your permission. This happens when an employee is trying to sell you a mortgage deal, a promotional credit card, or you’ve previously talked with someone about a pre-approval quote to determine how much exactly you’ll be able to borrow, although you haven’t applied for the loan yet. 

What if I Never Applied for a Credit Card or Loan?

Citibank is a legitimate organization that does business with great precision. So, if you see the organization’s name on your credit report, then you’ve probably done some activity that leads to this. 

You might not have known that you can get a hard inquiry from Citibank when you’ve been approved for a special credit card to finance your purchases. However, when you apply for a credit card offered by any of Citibank’s affiliate brands, you’ll have a hard inquiry on your credit report because the bank has checked your credit information. 

However, if you’re absolutely positive that you haven’t applied for any credit card or loan, nor have you got a credit card from any brand, then you are a victim of identity theft. Unfortunately, this means that someone has been using your name, and applying for credit cards to receive money, and these actions are affecting your credit score. 

As a result, your application might get rejected when you actually need to apply for a credit card or loan. 

Can I Remove Citicards CBNA From My Credit Report?

A Citicards CBNA appearing on your credit report isn’t always a bad thing, and you can’t remove it if it’s legit. However, if the inquiry is affecting your credit score, or it was issued according to fraudulent activity, you can do the following. 

  • Send a dispute letter to Citibank itself or one of the three credit bureaus. For example, you can contact Citibank if they’re posting inaccurate information like a late payment that you’ve actually made or to the bureaus if someone is pretending to be you or the bank has mixed up your name or social number with someone else’s information. You can also send the same dispute letter to both parties, just in case. 

In some cases, the credit bureau itself might confuse you for someone else. So, if you notice any suspicious activity, you should send a dispute letter. It usually takes 30 to 45 days to have the issue investigated and resolved. 

  • Use a credit repair company that contacts your creditors to help remove a hard inquiry from your credit report. A credit card company will send the dispute letters on your behalf and monitor the whole process until the incorrect information is removed from your credit report. 

However, you should be realistic regarding your expectations, as your credit score will take time to improve. Moreover, you should avoid scammers who might ask for upfront payments before doing anything. 

Wrap Up

Citicards CBNA can appear as a hard or soft inquiry on your credit report. Therefore, it won’t always affect your credit score unless too many hard inquiries appear on your report over a short period of time. 

Moreover, you should be careful if someone is falsely using your name or if you’re being added as an authorized user to someone else’s credit card, as such activities will impact your credit score. 

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Mike Pearson


Mike is a recognized credit expert and founder of Credit Takeoff. His credit advice has been featured in Investopedia, CreditCards.com, Bankrate, Huffpost, The Simple Dollar, Reader's Digest, LendingTree, and Quickbooks. Read more.