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What is CBNA on my credit report?

George Simons | October 27, 2023

Edited by Hannah Locklear

Fact-checked by Patrick Austin, J.D.

Summary: If CBNA is showing up on your credit report, it could stand for Citibank North America, Credit Bureau of North America, Community Bank N.A, or Comenity Bank. Keep reading to learn why it's showing on your report, for how long, and how to remove it if you're a victim of identity theft.

You may notice a new account listed under CBNA on your credit report if you've recently applied for a new credit card. In that case, you don't need to worry; it indicates that there's a hard inquiry into your credit history. However, suppose you haven't applied for a loan or credit card recently, and you notice a CBNA on your report. In that case, you need to investigate the entry to avoid future financial problems and a damaged credit report.

Let's dig into what CBNA means, its impact on your credit report, and everything in between.

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What does CBNA stand for?

In most cases, CBNA refers to Citibank North America, the fourth-largest credit card issuer in the country with over 138 million customers. However, CBNA on your credit report may also stand for Credit Bureau of North America, Community Bank N.A, or Comenity Bank. These establishments offer different services and have impacts on your credit report. Here's what each one of them means.

Comenity Bank

Comenity Bank is a credit provider that manages credit cards for large stores. If you recently applied for a store credit card that partners with the bank, you may notice a new entry on your credit report for a hard inquiry into your credit history.

Community Bank NA

A CBNA entry from Community Bank NA means that you have applied for a loan from the bank, and CBNA conducted a hard inquiry into your credit history as part of the loan application process. This bank serves residents of New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Massachusetts.

Credit Bureau of North America

The Credit Bureau of North America is a collection agency that collects unpaid debts for third-party companies. If it appears on your credit report, it means that a creditor has forwarded your debt account to the agency for collections.

The agency will contact you through letters, calls, or emails about the debt to request payment. You may try negotiating a repayment plan with the agency and request them to end their agreement with CBNA and eventually remove the entry from your credit report.

What if the Credit Bureau of North America sues me?

If you don't respond to CBNA's requests, you may face a debt collection lawsuit against you. When that happens, you must respond to the suit on time to prevent the court from passing a default judgment against you. Default judgments can cause serious financial problems like wage garnishment. If your wages are garnished, your employer must withhold a portion of your income and send it directly to the collection agency to repay your debt until it is cleared or settled.

You can challenge the agency in court when you respond to the suit with carefully-planned affirmative defenses. Examples of affirmative defenses include:

  • the statute of limitation on the debt is expired;
  • the debt amount is incorrect;
  • you filed for bankruptcy, or;
  • the debt account doesn't belong to you.

Use SoloSuit to make the right affirmative defense and win in court.

What Is a Hard Inquiry?

A hard inquiry is a request made by a lender or a credit company to review your credit history as part of your application process. The creditor or lender accesses your credit history through the credit bureaus.

Your credit history plays a role in determining whether a lender will approve your recent application for a loan. By assessing your track record as a consumer, the lender analyzes your financial habits and the chances of not paying back what you owe.

For example, if you have several missed payments in your credit history, the lender may believe you may do the same with your new credit. As a result, they may decide to deny your credit application or charge higher interests for missed payments.

How long does a CBNA inquiry stay on your credit report?

A hard inquiry stays on your credit report for two years and can impact your credit score for a few months. However, if you have too many hard inquiries on your credit report within a short time, your credit score may suffer a bigger impact.

That being said, a CBNA hard inquiry isn't the only thing that can negatively impact your credit score. Other factors that could hurt your credit score include:

  • your payment history;
  • the length of your credit history;
  • your credit utilization ratio, or;
  • your credit mix (the variety of credits under your name).

What if you didn't authorize a hard inquiry?

If you find a CBNA entry on your credit report and you haven't applied for any credits recently, there's a high chance that you may be a victim of identity theft. Anyone with access to your Social Security Number may take out loans or apply for credit cards in your name and land you in unexpected financial problems. There's also a chance that the entry may be an error which can be corrected by filing a dispute with the credit bureau.

Here are the steps to take if you suspect that the CBNA entry on your credit report is fraudulent.

Contact Citibank for information

Citibank should provide information on the entry to prove that you initiated the inquiry. In addition, they should provide your name, Social Security Number, and details of your credit request.

Report the fraud to relevant authorities

If you suspect that you are a victim of fraud, you need to file a report with relevant authorities, such as the local police and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC is in charge of protecting consumers from unfair, deceptive, or fraudulent practices in the marketplace.

Notify the credit bureaus

Contact the three credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion—to inform them of the fraudulent entry on your report. The credit unions will freeze your accounts and prevent further fraudulent entries from appearing on your report. You can also request a 90-day free fraud alert that will notify you of any new activities on your account.

Can you remove a hard inquiry from your credit report?

Unless there's a case of identity theft or erroneous CBNA entry, you can't remove a hard inquiry from your report. Once entered, it will stay on your credit report until it eventually expires after two years. As a rule of thumb, always check your credit reports as frequently as possible to keep track of any new entries you may not be aware of.

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