Mastercard Allows Transgender Customers to Use Chosen Names

In an effort to combat discrimination at the cash register, Mastercard has announced it will allow transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals to use their chosen name on debit and credit cards with their new The True Name Card. 

The True Name Card allows transgender and nonbinary customers to use their preferred name on the front of their card. This means the name on their credit card could be different than the name found on their birth certificate or driver’s license, as Mastercard will not be requiring a legal name change or additional proof of identity.

“For many in the LGBTQIA+ community, the name on their credit, debit or prepaid card does not reflect their true identity,” the company said in a statement.” As a result, for the transgender and nonbinary community, the card in their pocket can serve as a source of sensitivity, misrepresenting their true identity when shopping and going about daily life.”

Nearly one-third of people whose IDs list names or genders that do not match their gender identity report having negative experiences, including denial of service and harassment. Such discrimination has carried through to credit cards and payment mechanisms.

“Identity is an integral aspect of our selves, and our true names should be celebrated and valued,” said Randall Tucker, Chief Inclusion Officer at Mastercard. “Knowing that something as simple as having the name that you identify with on a card can be such an emotional journey, we want to make it easier for each card to reflect the cardholder. Our vision is that every card should be for everyone.”

A 2015 study by Mastercard showed that 32% of transgender people who had to show an ID with a name or gender that did not match their presentation experienced harassment, were denied services or were attacked.

“When we were alerted to this, we realized we could do something about it,” said Raj Seshadri, president of U.S. issuers for Mastercard.

A transgender person will no longer have to wait to get a legal name change, make changes to their birth certificate or other legal maneuvers, Seshadri said. The change of name on a card will not create any security issues, she said, since Mastercard does not require merchants to validate cardholders’ names and uses other security metrics to determine whether a purchase is legitimate or not. It’s already working with banks in the Mastercard network to implement the True Name campaign.

In three states, Tennessee, Kansas and Ohio, transgender people are legally prohibited from changing the sex listed on their birth certificate, according to Out Leadership, a LGBT rights organization that focuses on advocacy at the corporate level. This can create confusion when a person uses one name to reflect their identity but may have a different name legally.

“Mastercard listened to transgender and non-binary consumers’ need for privacy and authenticity and created a powerful tool to make their lives better,” said Zeke Stokes, chief programs officer at GLAAD, said in a statement. “Other businesses should follow suit by working with members of the LGBTQ community to create financial products that reflect true identities.”

Terry Willits

Trans Speak's Editor-in-Chief is an international mixed media artist, writer, LGBTQ advocate, coffee snob, dog dad, and FTM transgender - but not necessarily in that order, who practices what he posts. A native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa; he now does the writing thing from St. Louis, Missouri. You should check out his work - it's recommended by 4 out of 5 people that recommend stuff.

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