The first bank to offer ‘True Name’ cards now lets you use your preferred name on all products

Jun 9, 2020

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

Mastercard “True Name” cards have now become more accessible for BMO Harris Bank customers.

In June 2019, Mastercard revealed plans to roll out what it’s calling the “True Name” initiative, which allows its nonbinary and transgender customers to put their chosen name, rather than their legal birth name, on their card.

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Back in December 2019, BMO Harris Bank became the first bank to implement “True Name” cards for debit Mastercards and ATM cards. Now, the bank has announced that its expanded access to this program across all of its consumer and small business debit and credit cards. BMO Harris is a U.S. bank based out of Chicago, a subsidiary of the Canadian Bank of Montreal. Branches can be found across multiple U.S. states, but they are more common in the Midwest throughout Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and Kansas.

“Breaking down barriers to inclusion and supporting our customers requires a commitment to creating products that not only represent our BMO values but also serve the needs of our customers,” said Denise Press, head of retail and small business payments for BMO Harris Bank, in a press release. “That is why we are proud to work alongside Mastercard to expand the availability of True Name to BMO Harris consumer credit and business debit and credit customers, enabling them to feel at ease when using their cards that reflect their true names. It is an absolute privilege to create products that make a difference in the everyday lives of our customers.”

Superbia Services is the only other issuer that has announced a partnership with Mastercard on the “True Name” initiative. This bank will be rolling out the True Name feature across its Mastercard products in 2020. Superbia is a financial organization focused on bringing non-discriminatory banking and credit services to the LGBTQ+ community. The credit union originally hoped to launch its first products in spring 2020, but it hasn’t officially opened its doors quite yet according to its website. Presumably, all Mastercard products issued by Superbia will have the True Name feature as an option for cardholders once.

Related reading: The best LGBTQ+ friendly destinations 

While neither of these banks are major credit card issuers in the U.S., the hope is that this launch will prompt more banks and issuers to begin rolling out the feature across cards.

About the Mastercard ‘True Name’ card option

The new card initiative was first rolled out during an #AcceptanceMatters Panel hosted by Mastercard and the New York City Commission on Human Rights as part of WorldPride 2019 celebrations.

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 will still be up to individual credit card issuers to implement the change.

The company stated that it wanted to create “a sensitive and private process free of personal questions, that will allow for true names, not dead names, to appear on cards without the requirement of a legal name change.”

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)

The National Center for Transgender Equality’s report card on driver’s license gender change policy gave 13 states and four U.S. territories failing grades on what it takes to make changes to government-issued IDs. Seventeen states and Washington, D.C., were given an A+ for having a gender-neutral option and not requiring provider certification.

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).

Additional reporting by Madison Blancaflor. 

Feature photo by Marc Bruxelle/EyeEm/ Getty Images. 

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