Mastercard to Allow Customers to Use Chosen Name on Cards

Mastercard has launched the True Name initiative, allowing some banks in the network to allow card users to put their chosen name on their payment cards—even if their legal name hasn’t been changed.

For many transgender and nonbinary people, paying with a card that bears their birth name and doesn’t align with their gender can be stressful, with users suffering anxiety or even harassment. According to a 2015 survey from the National Center for Transgender Equality, a third of transgender people reported suffering harassment or denial of service after showing identification that didn’t match their appearance—either in name or gender.

Now, some Mastercard users won’t have to worry about that.

“We’re focused on inclusion,” Cheryl Guerin, the executive vice president for marketing and communications at Mastercard, told the New York Times. “If any community has a pain point, we want to do something about it.”

People will still have to apply for card accounts using their legal name, because banks are obligated to collect that information for identity verification. However, Mastercard banks will now adjust their application process to allow customers to request a card with their chosen first name—the choice won’t extend to last name—even if it differs from their legal name (which will remain on the account but not on the card).

BMO Harris Bank would become the first of Mastercard’s banks to offer the initiative in December. According to the Federal Reserve, BMO Harris Is the 24th largest bank in the U.S.