Mastercard has expanded the ability to use your preferred name on its products — here’s why it matters

Jun 9, 2021

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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new information. 


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Mastercard first rolled out its “True Name®” card feature in 2019, allowing nonbinary and transgender customers to put their chosen name, rather than their legal birth name, on their card. The first bank to then implement “True Name” cards for all of its consumer and business debit and credit cards was BMO Harris Bank — a U.S. Bank based out of Chicago, a subsidiary of the Canadian Bank of Montreal.

Now — exactly two years later — Mastercard has just announced the global expansion of True Name. Global Payments, one of the largest payment technology providers, has implemented this feature for TSYS customers. Additionally, Mastercard partners across Europe and North America, including bunq and Monzo (in Europe) and BM Technologies, Inc. (BMTX) and Republic Bank (in the U.S.), have implemented True Name as part of this expansion.

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“Inclusion is the foundation of what we stand for as a company, which is why we continue to call on the industry to join this effort and enable cardholders to leverage their chosen name because everyone deserves financial products that reflect their true identity,” said Cheryl Guerin, EVP of marketing and communications in North America for Mastercard.

Citi was the first major credit card issuer to launch “True Name” across its eligible credit cards in the U.S. in 2020. The hope is that this push for global expansion will prompt other major banks and issuers to begin rolling out the feature across these cards.

About the Mastercard ‘True Name’ card option

The move by Mastercard is seen as a way to be more accommodating to nonbinary, transgender and gender-nonconforming customers who may face struggles when changing government identification or who may be subject to harassment when their ID and credit card names don’t match. However, it’s still up to individual credit card issuers to implement the change — which is why the global expansion is huge, getting the ball rolling for other banks. Mastercard also claims that True Name presents no additional compliance complications, making implementation a seamless process for issuers.

According to the U.S. Transgender Survey conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality in 2015, “nearly one-third (32%) of individuals who have shown IDs with a name or gender that did not match their presentation reported negative experiences, such as being harassed, denied services, and/or attacked.”

NYC Commission on Human Rights and Mastercard Host #AcceptanceMatters Panel and Unveil Acceptance Street During WorldPride 2019 on June 17, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for Mastercard)
The #AcceptanceMatters panel during WorldPride 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for Mastercard)

While this is the first move by a major payment network to allow customers to personally set their names on a credit card, back in March 2017, HSBC allowed its transgender customers to choose from 10 gender-neutral titles, including Mre, (mystery), Msr. (a combination of Miss and Sir) and Pr (person).

We hope to see more credit card networks and issuers follow suit in the future, a step in the right direction for inclusivity.

Additional reporting by Benet Wilson and Madison Blancaflor. 

Feature photo by Marc Bruxelle/EyeEm/ Getty Images. 

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