Seeing Universal CD CBNA on your credit report most likely means you had a credit-related interaction with a lender, like applying for (or possessing) a credit card.
It’s not a negative mark that you should be overly worried about, but it does have an impact on your credit, depending on why it’s on your credit report.
Here’s what you need to know about Universal CD CBNA.
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What is Universal CD CBNA on my credit report?
Universal CD CBNA stands for AT&T Universal Card/Citibank North America. This mark is associated with a line of credit cards that AT&T and Citibank used to issue.
AT&T and Citi discontinued their Universal cards in 2014, but it’s possible for the Universal CD CBNA mark to still appear on your credit report if you applied for one of these cards in the past, or if you’ve retained an active Universal card over the years.
History of the AT&T Universal Cards
AT&T, Inc., a telecommunications company, first offered credit cards under the Universal Card brand name in 1990. The original Universal Card came with unusual perks like extended warranties on certain products, no annual fee, and discounts on long-distance calls. 1 2
Citibank purchased the Universal portfolio from AT&T in 1997, taking over as the card issuer. 3
The Universal line of credit cards included: 4
- AT&T Universal Cash Rewards Card (discontinued in 2006) 5
- AT&T Universal Savings and Rewards Card
- AT&T Universal Savings Platinum Card
- AT&T Universal Business Rewards Card 6
In 2014, these cards were retired and replaced with the AT&T Access and AT&T Access More cards (the latter of which has itself been discontinued). This means that if Universal CD CBNA is appearing on your credit report, it’s a fairly old mark associated with a credit count you opened some time ago.
Citibank’s other affiliates
If Citibank North America (CBNA) appears on your credit report but you don’t have an AT&T Access card, then you may have an account with another Citibank affiliate or with Citi themselves.
As one of the nation’s largest providers of private-label and co-branded credit cards, Citibank partners with many major brands. 7 They also offer their own cards under the name Citicards CBNA.
Is Universal CD CBNA a scam?
No, Universal CD CBNA isn’t a scam—CBNA 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 Universal CD CBNA 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 Universal CD CBNA might be on your credit report in more detail in the next section.
Why is Universal CD CBNA on my credit report?
Universal CD CBNA can appear on your credit report for a number of reasons, some negative and some harmless. Here are the four most common reasons why Universal CD CBNA might appear on your credit report:
1. CBNA checked your credit
You’ll see Universal CD CBNA on your credit report if CBNA 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, Universal CD CBNA will show up on your credit report if you actually applied for a card from CBNA.
- 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 CBNA, 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. 8 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 CBNA credit account
Universal CD CBNA will appear on your credit report if you currently have or previously had a CBNA credit account. Even if you closed your account, Universal CD CBNA 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). 9
You might find your CBNA 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 CBNA credit account
Universal CD CBNA can show up on your credit report if someone else added you as an authorized user to their own CBNA 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 CBNA credit account, their activities on the account could affect your credit score. 10
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 Universal CD CBNA hard inquiry on your credit report but you’re sure you didn’t apply for a CBNA 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 (CBNA). 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. 11
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 Universal CD CBNA affect my credit score?
There are several ways that Universal CD CBNA can affect your credit score, depending on whether it’s been reported as an inquiry or an account.
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. 12 13
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 CBNA 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 CBNA account will affect your credit score, familiarize yourself with the factors that make up your FICO score and VantageScore.
How to remove Universal CD CBNA from my credit report
If you want to delete Universal CD CBNA from your credit report, then try one of the following approaches.
1. Send a dispute letter
If you see an item listed under Universal CD CBNA on your credit report that you suspect is a mistake, then you can dispute it by sending a dispute letter to CBNA and/or the credit bureaus.
Send your letter to CBNA 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 CBNA). 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. 14
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 Universal CD CBNA 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. 15 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 Universal CD CBNA off your credit report.