Last updated on August 31st, 2020
A person’s name holds a lot of power; it’s their identity, who they are. When a given name does not reflect an individual’s true identity, it can be a source of anxiety and stress. Mastercard aims to make it easier for transgender and non-binary individuals to use their chosen name, rather than their deadname, in everyday life.
In time for WorldPride and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, Mastercard recently unveiled the True Name™ credit card, which will allow all non-binary and transgender customers to put their chosen name, rather than their legal name, on their card. This is the first move by a major credit card issuer to allow customers to personally select the name they want to use on their credit card. Previously, cardholders have had no choice but to use their birth name, which can be a point of sensitivity for many people who identify as non-binary or transgender.
The LGBTQIA+ community faces many challenges and prejudices, and often the name that appears on important documents like birth certificates, passports and driving licenses as well as credit, debit and prepaid cards is not the name that the person they are issued to wants to use.
A legal (birth) name that has been changed is often called a deadname, a term that is used most often by someone who is transgender and has elected to go by their chosen name instead of the name given when they were born. This deadname can serve as a source of sensitivity and insecurity, since it misrepresents the true identity of the individual when shopping and going about daily life. This sensitivity is compounded when someone who has changed their name needs to use a credit card that misidentifies them when they are required to prove that the credit card they are using is, in fact, theirs. This situation is one that all too often leads to a string of uncomfortable, personal questions that are not only emotionally draining but can lead to stereotyping, prejudice and even violence.
Mastercard aims to ease this pain point for the transgender and non-binary community by creating a product that will allow for true names to appear on cards without the requirement of a legal name change. The cost, complexity, and anxiety associated with an official name or gender change can be a huge challenge, one that many transgender individuals choose to avoid due to the inconvenience (and the amount of time this can take). According to a recent survey, nearly one-third of participating individuals indicated that when they used IDs that feature a name or gender that does not match their presentation, negativity that includes harassment, denial of services, and even physical attacks occurred. It can be embarrassing when a person is confronted at a store because their ID and credit card names don’t match.
This sort of discrimination also has carried through to credit cards and other payment mechanisms, either due to lack of empathy from card issuers and banks or lack of awareness of the issue. Luckily, more LGBTQIA+ voices are heard every day, and change is on its way. In March of 2017, HSBC implemented gender-neutral titles as a way of improving the banking experience for its customers; unfortunately, this is not a standard across the industry. Mastercard is making a commitment to bring this change to life with their True Name™ credit card; watch the video below:
“We are allies of the LGBTQIA+ community, which means if we see a need or if this community is not being served in the most inclusive way, we want to be a force for change to help address and alleviate unnecessary pain points,” Randall Tucker, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for Mastercard, says. “This translates not only for our Mastercard employee community but for our cardholders and the communities in which we operate more broadly. Our vision is that every card should be for everyone.”
This announcement was made in conjunction with a statement that, along with the New York City Commission on Human Rights, Mastercard will “champion the power of acceptance to create and unveil an all-inclusive version of the iconic street sign at the corner of Gay and Christopher Streets in New York’s West Village.” The card was rolled out during an #AcceptanceMatters Panel hosted by MasterCard and the New York City Commission on Human Rights during the WorldPride 2019 celebrations. Mastercard cardholders who will benefit from the ability to use a chosen name on their credit card can expect to see the Mastercard True Name™ Credit Card hit the world markets in early 2020, according to the company. It is the goal that this initiative will spark conversation within the industry and other card issuers will begin to apply these standards.
We at BestCards look forward to seeing this inclusivity become the norm, both in the credit card industry and in daily life.