In Pride Month, Mastercard Calls for Cardholders’ Ability to Choose the Name on Their Cards

Melissa Lambarena
By Melissa Lambarena 
Edited by Kenley Young

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In line with Pride month, Mastercard is calling on credit card issuers and banks to develop a method that allows customers to display on their payment cards the name that aligns with their gender preference and eliminates certain challenges they face otherwise.

The major payment processor acknowledged in a news release that payment cards often fail to reflect the true identity of many in the transgender and non-binary community — people who define their gender differently than “male” or “female.”

Mastercard announced that it’s working with partners to create a process that allows debit, credit and prepaid cardholders to print the name they identify with on their card. The network is calling this initiative the “True Name” card. The network's vision is that all cards can become True Name cards, says Chaiti Sen, a Mastercard spokesperson.

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Some issuers have already implemented the True Name feature. BMO offers it on qualifying credit and debit cards. Citi provides it on eligible credit cards.

Under the proposed True Name initiative, a bank or credit card issuer could require your legal name for an application, but you would be allowed to choose the name displayed on your card. This initiative would spare the requirement of a legal name change and the negative experiences someone could encounter upon checking out.

Thirty-two percent of individuals who have shown IDs with a name or gender that did not match their presentation have reported negative experiences such as harassment, denial of services or an attack, according to a 2015 report by the National Center for Transgender Equality cited in Mastercard’s news release.

“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,” said Randall Tucker, chief diversity and inclusion officer for Mastercard, in the news release. “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.”

A True Name card product does not yet exist, and it will be up to credit card issuers and banks to decide whether they want to create one in line with this initiative. If adopted, cardholders shouldn’t run into as much resistance at the checkout line. Mastercard does not require a photo ID for credit cards upon checking out. A merchant may still request ID, but it must not be conditional to accepting your payment card. Exceptions may apply for other transactions.

In fact, with EMV chips and other security features, photo IDs are no longer essential for many transactions. And as for the payment cards themselves, many consumers are also no longer physically handing them over to merchants to make their payments.

In cases where a merchant does insist on matching a card name with a government-issued ID, Mastercard recommends asking the merchant to call their acquirer.

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