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Innovations and Payment Systems

New Mastercard will use transgender, nonbinary cardholders’ chosen names

Experts believe card issuers and other payment networks will follow suit

Summary

Mastercard is coming out with credit, debit and prepaid cards that enable customers – namely those who are transgender or nonbinary – to show their true identities. Research shows transgender people offer suffer negative consequences while paying with cards that don’t match their chosen names.

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Mastercard is coming out with credit, debit and prepaid cards that enable customers – namely those who are transgender or nonbinary – to show their true identities.

Mastercard says the True Name card will be printed with the chosen name – rather than the so-called “deadname,” or the name assigned at birth – of a cardholder without the requirement of a legal name change. A rollout date for the card hasn’t been set.

“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,” Randall Tucker, chief diversity and inclusion officer at Mastercard, said in a company announcement. “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.”

See related:  Guide to LGBT finances

Card issuers, other payment networks may follow suit

Industrywide adoption of the True Name card will depend on card issuers like Bank of America, Capital One, Chase and Citibank. Mastercard and its chief rival, Visa, process credit, debit and prepaid card payments but do not issue cards to customers.

“I think we probably will see other networks and issuers following suit. This feels like a good common-sense initiative that others can and should get on board with,” said Ted Rossman, industry analyst for CreditCards.com.

Rossman said the new card is more about social and emotional benefits than it is about “financial nuts and bolts,” since your credit score is tied to your Social Security number, not your name, and since most merchants don’t check IDs against payment cards.

See related:  LGBT Americans are handling credit wisely, survey finds

Name change can cause stress in the checkout line

In a 2015 survey by the National Center for Transgender Equality, 11 percent of transgender Americans reported that all of their IDs had the preferred name and gender, while 68 percent reported that none of their IDs had their preferred name and gender.

The survey also showed 32 percent of transgender people who showed IDs with a name or gender that did not match the way they expressed their identity had suffered negative consequences, such as being harassed, assaulted, denied benefits or services, or asked to leave.

“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,” Mastercard said.

Mastercard unveiled the True Name card at a June 17 panel discussion hosted by the New York City Commission on Human Rights. The announcement came during Pride Month, the annual celebration of LGBTQIA+ rights.

In a similar move, card issuer HSBC said in 2017 that it was introducing 10 gender-neutral titles for its customers, meaning they no longer must stick with traditional titles like Mr., Mrs. and Ms. Among the new titles are M, Mx and Myr.

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Published: June 18, 2019

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