Superbia, BMO Harris among first to offer Mastercard ‘True Name’ option for transgender customers

Nov 12, 2019

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In June 2019, Mastercard revealed plans to roll out what it’s calling the “True Name” initiative, which will allow its nonbinary and transgender customers to put their chosen name, rather than their legal birth name, on their card. The first two financial institutions to launch this feature across their card offerings have now been announced —  BMO Harris and Superbia. 

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.

Starting December 2019, you’ll be able to have your chosen name displayed on your BMO Harris Bank Debit Mastercard®. 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. The True Name feature will only be available on personal debit cards when it initially launches.

Superbia Credit Union will be rolling out the True Name feature across its Mastercard products in 2020. Superbia is a new financial organization focused on bringing non-discriminatory banking and credit services to the LGBTQ community. The credit union is hoping to officially open in Spring 2020, and presumably, all Mastercard products issued by Superbia will have the True Name feature as an option for cardholders.

About the Mastercard ‘True Name’ card option

The new card was 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 22 states and three U.S. territories failing grades on what it takes to make changes to government-issued IDs. Five 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 Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for Mastercard.

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