MasterCard announces True Name card to address realities of the LGBTQ community

June 21, 2019

Imagine if Caitlyn Jenner were still using a credit or debit card with the imprinted name, Bruce Jenner. Every time she used her payments card, her transition would be exposed—and she could legitimately be asked to prove her identity.

That’s a reality for many transgender and nonbinary people—and one that MasterCard aims to address with its new True Name program.

Cardholders soon will be able to swap out MasterCard-branded credit, debit, or prepaid cards imprinted with their “dead name” with new ones featuring the names they actually use. Experts say it’s a first for the financial services industry.

According to Healthline, deadnaming occurs when someone, intentionally or not, refers to a person who’s transgender by the name they used before they transitioned. You may also hear it described as referring to someone by their “birth name” or their “given name.”

On June 17, MasterCard announced that it was making a commitment to address that challenge. In a press release, the Purchase, New York-based payments company said, “ We are working with partners to create a product, as well as a sensitive and private process free of personal questions, that will allow for true names, not deadnames, to appear on cards without the requirement of a legal name change. This will ease a major pain point for the transgender and non-binary community.”

MasterCard calls on the industry to apply these standards for everyone, ensuring a way for people’s financial products to reflect their true identity.

Overall, 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, according to the National Center for Transgender Equality. As such, many transgender individuals choose to forego the cost, complexity, and anxiety associated with official name and gender changes. Until now, this discrimination has carried through to their cards and payment mechanisms.

In a panel discussion on Monday with the New York City Commission on Human Rights, MasterCard unveiled this initiative and is working to bring the True Name card to market.

“We are allies of the LGBTQ 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 Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for MasterCard Randall Tucker. “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.”

Research contact: @MasterCardNews

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