Getting yourself worked up over CITGO/SYNCB being on your credit report? It’s probably there as a result of your normal activity related to applying for or possessing a credit card.
So while you should relax, it’s still important to understand exactly how CITGO/SYNCB affects your credit. However, if you really don’t recognize it at all, you may have been the victim of identity theft.
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What is CITGO/SYNCB on my credit report?
CITGO/SYNCB stands for CITGO/Synchrony Bank. CITGO is a petroleum corporation, and Synchrony Bank is the nation’s largest provider of private-label credit cards. The two companies have been in a partnership since 2016 to offer the CITGO Rewards Card. 1
In 2021, Synchrony Bank started offering Synchrony Car Care for CITGO cardholders, which includes benefits like promotional financing and fuel statement credits for buying gas. 2 3
If you see CITGO/SYNCB on your credit report, it means you probably applied for or opened a CITGO Rewards Card account.
Synchrony Bank’s other affiliates
You may also see SYNCB on your credit report if you have an account with one of Synchrony Bank’s other affiliates. Synchrony Bank partners with retailers in a variety of industries.
Is CITGO/SYNCB a scam?
No, CITGO/SYNCB isn’t a scam. Synchrony Bank and CITGO are legitimate organizations. If they’re 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 CITGO/SYNCB 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 CITGO/SYNCB might be on your credit report in more detail in the next section.
Why is CITGO/SYNCB on my credit report?
CITGO/SYNCB can appear on your credit report for a number of reasons, some negative and some harmless. It’s possible for it to show up even if you don’t have a CITGO credit account.
Here are some reasons why CITGO/SYNCB might be on your credit report:
1. Synchrony Bank checked your credit
You’ll see CITGO/SYNCB on your credit report if Synchrony Bank ran a credit check to determine whether or not to extend credit to you. This type of credit check can appear as a hard inquiry or a soft inquiry.
- Hard inquiries: These generally appear on your credit report when you apply for new credit, such as credit cards, store cards, or installment loans. For example, if you applied for a CITGO credit card, Synchrony Bank probably triggered a hard inquiry when reviewing your application.
- Soft inquiries: These show up on your credit report when someone checks your credit but you’re not actually in search of new credit. For example, if you received an unsolicited offer letter in the mail for a credit card issued by Synchrony Bank, then they may have triggered a soft inquiry during the prequalification process.
Thankfully, soft inquiries won’t affect your credit score. Hard inquiries usually lower your credit score by several points, but the effect won’t last more than a year, and the inquiry will fall off your credit report entirely after two years. 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 CITGO credit account
CITGO/SYNCB will appear on your credit report if you currently have or previously had a CITGO credit account. Even if you closed your account, CITGO/SYNCB can stay on your credit report for 7 years (if the account was delinquent due to missed payments) to 10 years (if the account was in good standing).
You might find your CITGO 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 CITGO credit account
CITGO/SYNCB can show up on your credit report if someone else added you as an authorized user to their own CITGO 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 CITGO credit account, their activities on the account could affect your credit score.
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 notice a 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 CITGO/SYNCB hard inquiry on your credit report but you’re sure you didn’t apply for a CITGO credit account, it could be a sign of identity theft.
If you think that CITGO/SYNCB is on your credit report because someone’s trying to fraudulently open accounts in your name, take these steps:
- Contact the company that made the hard inquiry (which will be Synchrony Bank, unless they hired another company to perform the inquiry for them). 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.
You may also want to freeze your credit (or get a credit lock, which is very similar).
Carefully monitor your credit reports over the next few months for further signs of fraudulent activity.
How does CITGO/SYNCB affect my credit score?
There are several ways that CITGO/SYNCB can affect your credit score, depending on whether they triggered an inquiry or manage one of your accounts.
As mentioned, a single hard inquiry will have a small, short-term effect on your credit, usually lowering your FICO score by up to five points and your VantageScore credit score by 5–10 points.
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 CITGO/SYNCB account on your credit report, then it’s contributing to your credit score by influencing the following factors:
If the account is open, then it’s also contributing to your credit utilization rate (also known as your debt-to-credit ratio).
To learn how your CITGO/SYNCB account will affect your credit score, familiarize yourself with the factors that make up your FICO score and VantageScore.
How to remove CITGO/SYNCB from my credit report
If you want to delete CITGO/SYNCB from your credit report, then try one of the following approaches.
1. Send a dispute letter
If you see an item listed under CITGO/SYNCB on your credit report that you suspect is a mistake, then you can dispute it by writing something known as a credit dispute letter.
You should send your letter to whoever you think the error originated with. You can send it to:
- Synchrony Bank: Send your letter directly to them if you believe they made the original mistake (e.g., they reported a credit check to the bureaus that you never actually authorized).
- The credit bureaus: Write to the credit bureaus if you believe the error originated witih them (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 your card issuer (Synchrony Bank). 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 credit dispute, the credit bureau will be required to investigate and correct any inaccurate information on your report, usually within 30–45 days.
2. Use a credit repair company
A credit repair company will act as a middleman between yourself and your card issuer (and the credit bureaus). They might be able to get a hard inquiry or another CITGO/SYNCB item off your credit report by helping you gather evidence and handling all the required communication.
However, be wary of scammers. There are restrictions on the cost of credit repair—by law, credit repair companies are not allowed to charge you before they’ve helped you. 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 CITGO/SYNCB off your credit report.