The first major bank now gives cardholders the option to choose your name — here’s why it matters

Oct 19, 2020

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For nonbinary or transgender individuals, paying with your own credit card can be a fraught experience.

According to a 2015 report by the National Center for Transgender Equality, nearly one-third (32%) of people who showed an ID with a name or gender that did not match their gender presentation were harassed, denied service, assaulted or otherwise discriminated against.

There is progress on that front, however. Last year, Mastercard launched the “True Name” card feature, allowing nonbinary and transgender customers to insert their chosen name, rather than their legal birth name, on their credit card.

Now, Citi is teaming up with the “True Name” initiative to give cardholders the option to use preferred names on most U.S.-issued Citi cards.

(Photo by The Points Guy)

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This marks the first major bank to partner with Mastercard to make this feature widely available to most cardholders.

For nonbinary and transgender individuals, that means you can now easily change your first name on your credit card in three simple steps — and you can even do it online here.

Here’s how to change your name on a Citi card:

  • Log in to your Citi-branded credit card account (or you can call the number on the back of your card).
  • Under Profile, go to “Contact Information.”
  • Click “Use a Preferred First Name,” enter the first name you go by and click save. Citi will attempt to use this name in most future communications, but for legal purposes may not be able to do so. Additionally, Citi may ask for your legal name for identity verification purposes.

Citi notes that a replacement card will arrive in about 4-7 business days once you finish the online (or phone) process.

Screenshot courtesy of Citi

“We’re incredibly proud to launch the True Name feature, through our relationship with Mastercard, because we strongly believe that our customers should have the opportunity to be called by the name that represents who they really are,”  Citi’s Chief Marketing Officer Carla Hassan said in a press release.

Related: The best LGBTQ+ friendly destinations 

In the 2015 National Center for Transgender Equality study, more than two-thirds (68%) reported that none of their IDs had the name and gender they preferred. This may be a small, yet important step to changing that statistic.

Screenshot courtesy of Citi

Unfortunately, Citi bank accounts (including debit cards) are not yet eligible for preferred name changes. Additionally, you cannot use the name you go by on the following cards, according to Citi’s website:

Small Business, Corporate, Professional, Shell Fuel Rewards® Mastercard®, L.L.Bean® Mastercard®, My Best Buy® Visa® Card, Shop Your Way Mastercard®, The Brooks Brothers Platinum Mastercard®, Meijer Mastercard® and Wayfair Mastercard®. Credit cards that display the American Express mark are also not eligible.

Although Citi may be the first major bank to allow a self-service option to print an entirely new name on your card, some banks have allowed name changes for years.

Chase, for instance, told TPG that they’ve allowed cardholders to use a preferred name for more than five years, as long as it’s a “reasonable derivative” from a legal name.

That’s progress for the approximately 1.4 million adults in the U.S. that identify as transgender, as well as those who identify as non-binary.

Featured photo by Mixmike/Getty Images. 

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