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SYWMC/CBNA: What Is It And Why Is It On My Credit Report?

Written by Mike Pearson
Updated August 10, 2022

SYWMC/CBNA is the shorthand for Shop Your Way Credit Card/Citibank North America. Citibank is a subdivision of Citigroup. It was also one of the biggest banks in the United States. Citibank provides private credit cards as part of its financial offerings. They have partnered with Sears in order to provide store cards and a Shop Your Way Mastercard. This partnership was established in 2003.

In 2017, Citibank and Sears established the Shop Your Way Mastercard. This card enables you to earn significant reward points for your purchases. If you see that you have been issued a SYWMC/CBNA remark on your report, you will probably have already applied for or are in ownership of a Shop Your Way Mastercard.

Is SYWMC/CBNA Indicative of a Scam?

SYWMC/CBNA is not a scam. Citibank is one of the biggest banks in America and is undoubtedly a legitimate company. If Citibank appears on your credit report, this suggests that you have a credit account with them, or that they have previously assessed your credit. 

If you are certain that there is fraudulent activity on your credit report that has been listed under SYWMC/CBNA, then it is entirely possible that you have been a victim of identity fraud. We will highlight the reasons why this may appear in your report in further detail below. 

Why Is SYWMC/CBNA Appearing On My Report?

SYWMC/CBNA may appear on a report for numerous reasons. Some of these reasons are harmless, whilst others are negative. The four reasons why SYWMC/CBNA may appear on your report are as follows:

1) Citibank Has Checked Your Credit

SYWMC/CBNA may appear on your report if Citibank has engaged in a credit check to ascertain whether you are eligible for a credit card. This type of check will appear as a soft or hard inquiry on your report. Hard inquiries usually appear on credit reports when you have applied for a new line of credit, including store cards, rewards cards, or installment loans. For instance, this mark will appear on your credit report whenever you apply for a credit card from Citibank. 

Soft inquiries will show up on your credit report whenever someone has run a credit check on you but you have not directly requested to open a new account. For instance, any unsolicited offer that is sent in the mail for a credit card from Citibank may have incurred a soft credit check prior to it being sent.

Luckily, soft inquiries do not impact your credit score. However, hard inquiries will normally lower your credit score by a number of points. This won’t impact you for longer than a year, on average. Hard inquiries will also fall off your report completely after a period of two years. You should note that hard inquiries are not able to be removed from a report unless the credit bureau has added it by mistake. 

2) You Are The Owner Of A Citibank Credit Account

SYWMC/CBNA appears on a credit report if you have or used to have a credit account with Citibank. Regardless of whether you have closed your credit account, SYWMC/CBNA will remain on your report for a period of 7-10 years. You may also discover that your Citibank credit account has been closed if you did not personally close it. This occurs whenever an account remains inactive for a long period of time. It is common practice for lenders to close credit accounts when they have been out of use for a period of time. 

3) You Are An Authorized User On Another Person’s Citibank Credit Account

SYWMC/CBNA will show on your report if you have been added as an authorized user to another individual’s Citibank credit account. People are usually named as authorized users by their spouses, parent, or business partners. If you have been assigned as an authorized user on a Citibank credit account, then you should also consider the fact that their account activities may impact your own credit score. 

Thus, you should only allow yourself to be designated as an authorized user on another person’s Citibank account if they are a reliable borrower. This way, you will enhance your own credit score by building a more positive payment history. 

Alternatively, you will see a small drop from your credit score whenever a cardholder has neglected their credit payments or has canceled their accounts with unpaid debts. Similar to this, you using someone else’s credit account poorly will also impact their credit score. Therefore, you should always exercise caution when designated as an authorized user. 

4) You Are A Victim Of Identity Theft

If you see that a SYWMC/CBNA hard inquiry has been conducted into your credit, but you are certain that you have to apply for a credit account with Citibank, then this could be a clear sign that you are a victim of identity fraud. If you strongly suspect that you are a victim of identity theft, then you should take the following steps:

  1. Contact Citibank and inform them that you did not authorize a hard inquiry on your account. You should ask them for specific details and ascertain what their records show in regard to the hard inquiry. 
  2. Contact any one of the main credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion, Equifax) and place a fraud alert on your credit report. You will only need to communicate with one of the three main bureaus, and they will inform the other bureaus. 
  3. You may also wish to freeze your credit or issue a credit lock while ensuring that you closely monitor your reports to ascertain whether there is any further fraudulent activity that takes place. 

How Does SYWMC/CBNA Impact My Credit Score?

There are numerous ways that SYWMC/CBNA can impact your credit score. However, this depends on whether it has been reported as a hard inquiry on your account. As previously mentioned, a lone hard inquiry will have a short-term impact on your credit. It usually lowers a FICO score by 5 points, and a VantageScore by 10 points.

Credit scores will range between 300-850, and thus, it may appear that a hard inquiry does not have a significant impact on your credit score. However, the impact of hard inquiries is normally cumulative. Therefore, you should avoid running too many hard inquiries on your account. 

Open and Closed Credit Accounts

If you have opened or closed a Citibank account, then this will contribute to your credit score by impacting your length of credit history, credit mix, and payment history. If an account remains open, then it will also contribute to your credit utilization rate. To understand how Citibank credit accounts impact your overall score, you should understand the different factors that contribute to your VantageScore or FICO score

How To Remove SYWMC/CBNA From My Credit Report

If you want to remove SYWMC/CBNA from your credit report, then you should implement the following methods:

1) Send Citibank A Dispute Letter

If you see that SYWMC/CBNA has been listed on a credit report and you suspect that it is inaccurate. Then you should dispute it by sending a letter to one of the credit bureaus or to Citibank. You should send your dispute letter to Citibank if you are convinced that the error has originated from Citibank itself. However, it is important that you send a letter to both Citibank and the credit bureaus, as they may communicate with one another as part of their investigation. Thus, it is important that both are provided with relevant and updated information. 

Once you have filed a dispute letter, the credit bureau or Citibank will be required to conduct an investigation within 45 days, and correct inaccurate information accordingly. 

2) Hire A Credit Repair Company

A credit repair company can act as the leaser between yourself and a creditor. They may also be able to help you remove hard inquiries from your reports by helping you to gather the appropriate evidence. However, you should be careful to avoid any scams. This is because credit repair companies aren’t allowed to charge you prior to helping you. 

Thus, if a credit repair company asks for an upfront payment, then you should hire a different credit repair company. Despite hiring a credit repair company, you may not be successful in removing SWYMC/CBNA from your report. You should also bear in mind that these companies cannot do anything for you that you cannot do. 

Conclusion

To conclude, SYWMC/CBNA is the shorthand for Shop Your Way Credit Card/Citibank North America. This usually appears on a credit report whenever you have taken out a credit account with Citibank, or have been named as an authorized user on another person’s account. 

If you are convinced that you have not taken out any credit account in Citibank, then you should look into the companies that Citibank is affiliated with to ascertain whether you have a line of credit with any of these companies.

If you are certain that this information is inaccurate, then you should send a letter of dispute to one of the three main credit bureaus. It Is also advisable that you send a letter of dispute to Citibank also. This is because Citibank may liaise with credit bureaus, and thus, it is important that every party is privy to the relevant information. 

You should also ensure that you are cautious about who you share a line of credit with. If you have been assigned as an authorized user on a credit account that is owned by someone who is irresponsible with their finances, this will have a significantly negative impact on your own credit score. 

The impact that SYWMC/CBNA has on your credit score is dependent on whether a hard inquiry or soft inquiry has been run on your credit history. If a soft inquiry has been run on your credit, this will not impact your credit score.

However, if a hard inquiry has been run on your credit history, then this will usually lower your credit score by a number of points.

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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.