While digging into the details of your credit report, you may have come across this strange abbreviation CFNA. Undoubtedly, finding an unrecognizable mark on your credit report may make you feel concerned that it’s hurting your credit.
Here’s how CFNA interacts with your credit score, and if you should be on the lookout for identity theft.
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What is CFNA?
CFNA stands for Credit First National Association.
Credit First National Association is a bank that serves as the consumer credit branch of Bridgestone Americas, Inc., a major international manufacturer of auto parts (tires in particular). 1 As such, CFNA provides private-label credit cards for companies in related industries, like car repair.
If you see items labeled “CFNA” or “CRDT First” on your credit report, then you probably applied for a credit card with one of Credit First National Association’s affiliate companies—they don’t offer cards to consumers directly.
Credit First National Association’s affiliates
Credit First National Association offers credit card services for many local and regional auto service companies.
The following companies are just a few of Credit First National Association’s affiliates:
- Firestone Complete Auto Care
- Southern Tire Mart
- Best-One Tire & Service
- Peerless Tires 4 Less
- Gateway Tire & Service Center
- Commercial Tire
- Wheel Works
For a more comprehensive list, you can use their official lookup tool to check what businesses in your area partner with the CFNA.
If you see an item labeled CFNA on your credit report, you likely have a line of credit with one of these affiliates.
Is CFNA a scam?
No, CFNA isn’t a scam—Credit First National Association is a legitimate organization. If their name is on your credit report, it probably indicates that you have an account with them or they checked your credit.
If you’re certain that there’s activity on your credit report under CFNA that shouldn’t be there, it’s possible you’ve been the victim of identity theft.
We’ll discuss the reasons (both legitimate and fraudulent) that CFNA might be on your credit report in more detail in the next section.
Why is CFNA on my credit report?
CFNA can appear on your credit report for a number of reasons, some negative and some harmless. Here are the four most common reasons why CFNA might appear on your credit report:
1. Credit First National Association checked your credit
You’ll see CFNA on your credit report if Credit First National Association ran a credit check to determine whether or not to issue you a credit card. This type of check can appear as a hard inquiry or as a soft inquiry.
- Hard inquiries: These generally appear on your credit report when you apply for new credit, such as credit cards, store cards, rewards cards, or installment loans. For example, CFNA will show up on your credit report if you actually applied for a card from Credit First National Association.
- Soft inquiries: These show up on your credit report when someone checks your credit but you’re not actually looking to open a new account. For example, if you received an unsolicited offer letter in the mail for a credit card issued by Credit First National Association, then they may have triggered a soft inquiry during the prequalification process.
Thankfully, soft inquiries won’t affect your credit score. Hard inquiries will usually lower your credit score by a few points, but the effect won’t last more than a year, and the inquiry will fall off your credit report entirely after two years. 2 Note that you usually can’t remove a hard inquiry early unless the bureau added it to your report by mistake.
2. You have a Credit First National Association credit account
CFNA will appear on your credit report if you currently have or previously had a Credit First National Association credit account. Even if you closed your account, CFNA can stay on your credit report for 7 years (if the account was delinquent due to missed payments) or 10 years (if the account was in good standing). 3
You might find your Credit First National Association credit account marked as closed even if you never took any active steps to close it. This can happen due to account inactivity—it’s common for lenders to close credit accounts if they haven’t been used for a while.
3. You’re an authorized user on someone else’s Credit First National Association credit account
CFNA can show up on your credit report if someone else added you as an authorized user to their own Credit First National Association credit account.
You might have been named as an authorized user by your:
- Business partner
If someone designated you as an authorized user on their Credit First National Association credit account, their activities on the account could affect your credit score. 4
If the primary cardholder is a responsible person and a reliable borrower, being an authorized user on their account will probably improve your credit score by helping you build a positive payment history. On the other hand, you might see a small drop in your credit score if the primary cardholder neglects their payments or cancels their account with unpaid debt.
Similarly, your use of someone else’s credit will affect their credit score, so take care when acting as an authorized user.
4. You’re a victim of identity theft
If you see a CFNA hard inquiry on your credit report but you’re sure you didn’t apply for a Credit First National Association credit account, it could be a sign of identity theft.
If you suspect that someone’s trying to fraudulently open accounts in your name, take these steps:
- Contact the company that made the hard inquiry (Credit First National Association). Tell them you didn’t authorize the inquiry. Ask them for details (i.e., when and under what circumstances their records show the inquiry was authorized).
- Report the identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Go to www.identitytheft.gov and answer the questions to generate an identity theft report and recovery plan.
- Contact any of the three main credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion) and have a fraud alert placed on your credit report. You only need to contact one of the bureaus; they’ll coordinate with the others, and your fraud alert will be acknowledged by all three. 5
Carefully monitor your credit reports over the next few months for further signs of fraudulent activity.
How does CFNA affect my credit score?
There are several ways that CFNA can affect your credit score, depending on whether it’s been reported as an inquiry or an account.
This effect is usually cumulative, so too many hard inquiries can really hurt your score. However, a single inquiry isn’t something to worry about—your credit score ranges from 300 to 850, which means 5 points in either direction isn’t significant.
Open and closed accounts
If you have an open or closed Credit First National Association account on your credit report, then it’s contributing to your credit score by influencing the following factors:
How to remove CFNA from my credit report
If you want to delete CFNA from your credit report, then try one of the following approaches.
1. Send a dispute letter
If you see an item listed under CFNA on your credit report that you suspect is a mistake, then you can dispute it by sending a dispute letter to Credit First National Association and/or the credit bureaus.
Send your letter to Credit First National Association if you believe the error originated with them (e.g., they reported a late payment when you actually paid on time). Send it to the credit bureaus if you believe they made the mistake (e.g., they confused you with someone with a similar name or Social Security number).
Either way, it’s usually a good idea to send copies of the letter to both parties (the bureaus and Credit First National Association). They may contact each other as they investigate the matter, and it’s important to make sure everybody has received the relevant information.
Once you’ve filed your dispute, the credit bureau will be required to investigate and correct any inaccurate information on your report, usually within 30–45 days. 8
2. Use a credit repair company
A credit repair company will act as a middleman between yourself and your creditors (and the credit bureaus). They might be able to get a hard inquiry or other CFNA item off your credit report by helping you gather evidence and handling all the required communication.
However, be wary of scammers. By law, credit repair companies are not allowed to charge you before they’ve helped you. 9 If they ask for payment upfront, hire a different company.
Although hiring a credit repair company can save you some time and hassle in disputing items on your credit report, bear in mind that they can’t do anything for you that you can’t do yourself.
They also won’t necessarily be able to erase valid negative information or turn a bad credit score into a good credit score overnight. Think carefully before hiring a third-party company to get CFNA off your credit report.