How to use your preferred name on a credit or debit card

Many people use a preferred or chosen name over their legal name or the name on their birth certificate. This could be as simple as someone with the legal name Elizabeth following Liz or Beth in their daily lives.

It also includes transgender people. inside Largest study ever done on this topic (warning: PDF documents), nearly 70% of transgender people said they did not have any identification or banking documents matching their preferred name. Nearly a third of people whose documents did not match their current presentation said they were denied service, asked to leave the business, or even physically assaulted when trying to use the materials. this outdated.

About a quarter of these people said they don’t know how to change the preferred name on their document or believe it’s impossible. However, some banks allow people to use their preferred or chosen name on their credit or debit card – even if it doesn’t match their legal name. This allows people to have banking documents that match the identity they present in their daily lives. The most popular of these programs are Mastercard Real Name ProgramLaunched in 2019 and available in North America and Europe.

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Related: Mastercard has expanded the ability to use your preferred name across its products – here’s why it matters

Take a look at the positions of the major banks and credit card issuers in the United States in using fancy names so you understand your options.

Understand: The bank still needs your legal name

Before we review policies from banks and credit card issuers, it’s important to understand that some of them will require you to open an account first, then submit a card request. new with your preferred name (others allow you to do this for the duration of the account opening process). You must use your legal name when you register for any type of bank account or credit account in the United States It is due to a provision (Section 326) in America’s Patriot Act; This rule went into effect in 2003.


The rule requires banks, credit unions and credit card issuers to establish customer identification program to comply with government regulations. This program requires you to provide your personally identifiable information so the bank can verify that you are who you are. One of the requirements is to provide your legal name.

The question is what happens after this. Can you change the name displayed on your credit or debit card to a preferred name, instead of your legal name? Let’s take a look at your options with some of the major banks.

American Express

With a few exceptions, American Express has allowed users to use preferred names on their credit cards for several decades. During the American Express card registration process, users can choose the name they want to display on their card.

If you want to change or update this later, you can call the number on the back of your card. Amex allows cardholders to use a preferred name as long as it’s not someone famous or obscene and a phone representative can help you make this change.

If the name change coincides with your legal name change, you can request this change through your user profile on the website. Once signed in, select the card you want to update in the top right corner, then click “Account Services.” From here, a new menu will appear on the left side; select “Profile”. Next to your name, you will see an option for “Change name”.


The next page will allow you to provide your legal name and then the name that will be displayed on your card.


Once you proceed, you will need to submit documents to support your claim. This online option works best for people who have successfully changed their name on their ID card. So if you’re asking to use a preferred name that doesn’t match your legal name, a phone call is your best bet.

Bank of America

Bank of America declined to provide information for this story.


A Barclays spokesperson confirmed that preferred names cannot be used on its credit cards at this time, providing TPG with the following statement:

“We strive to meet the needs of all of our card members, including those in the LGTBQ+ community. While we don’t currently offer this feature, it’s something we’ve explored and are looking to implement in the future. “

BMO Harris

BMO Harris operates a nationwide network of toll-free ATMs in addition to branches in eight states. Its True Name Initiative allow your preferred name to be used on a credit, debit or ATM card. This also includes business cards.

If you bank with BMO Harris and would like to request your preferred name, call 888-340-2265 or visit a local branch (locations are available). here).


Capitalize one

A recent update to its policy allows Capital One credit cardholders to use preferred names, even if these names are not the person’s legal name. When requesting a change, there is no requirement to submit documentation regarding the preferred name you want on your card.

“At Capital One, our customers are at the forefront of everything we do, so we are proud to share that customers can now choose to display their preferred name on their credit card before legal gender change or legal name change,” according to a Capital One spokesperson. “Customers are not required to provide any documentation or reasons for their name to appear on their credit card.”

The option is currently available on credit cards, and Capital One says it’s “working hard” to allow customers to use their preferred name across all accounts going forward. This means expanding options for things like checking accounts and debit cards, for example. “As we look to grow with our cardholders, we also simplify our interactions to change legal names and update our procedures and systems across all contact points. contact with customers to ensure that customers’ preferred names are used in place of their legal names whenever possible,” according to the same spokesperson.

You can request a change to your preferred name by calling the number on the back of your card.


Currently, customers must use their legal name on their credit and debit cards. However, a Chase spokesperson said the bank is “working to give our cardholders the option to use their preferred name instead.”



For more than two years now, Citi credit card holders have been able to use their chosen name. However, Citi has extended this feature to include debit cards as of August 29.

Customers can update their name on their debit card by calling the number on the back of their card or by visiting a local Citi branch (you can find here). Citi credit cardholders can call the phone number on their card to request an update for multiple cards at once, or do the update online (for one account at a time only) by logging in. Go to their online account and click “Profile” at the top. From here, click “Contact Information.” You’ll see an option to use a preferred name.


After updating your preferred name, you can expect a replacement card to be available within four to seven business days, according to a Citi spokesperson. You will be able to track the status of your replacement card online.

Customers can learn more at


Currently, cardholders cannot use preferred names on debit or credit cards with Discover. However, a spokesperson added that the card issuer is “committed to defining a process that allows for methods by which customers can change the name on their payment card to their preferred/chosen name.” surname”.

First National Bank of Omaha

A spokesman for the bank said it was possible to request a change in the name displayed on a credit card from FNBO. However, “a name change essentially requires a copy of the legal document as proof of the name change.” Substantial changes, according to the same spokesperson, include a different first or last name or a change in the middle letter.

Therefore, requesting the use of a non-derivative preferred name close to your legal name may result in the FNBO requesting documentation to support this change. You can request a change by calling the number on the back of your card.

Republic Bank

The debit card from the Bank of the Republic may have the name you want. This includes personal debit cards and business cards, thanks True Name implementation.

For individual account holders, you can request this in your online profile by clicking “More Services”. From here, click “Request a Debit Card” to request a new card with your preferred name.

For business account holders, call 888-584-3600 to request a new card with the name you want.

Bank of America

Currently, customers cannot use preferred names on Bank of America credit or debit cards, according to a bank spokesperson. The same spokesperson issued the following statement:

Name preferences are an important part of personal identity and we respect those preferences. Due to identity verification limitations, we cannot currently accept the use of names that do not match other legal records. We are constantly exploring process improvements to support all of our customers. [H]debt, we don’t have anything definite to share at the moment.

Wells Fargo

There is no option for a preferred name on the Wells Fargo card. Only the legal name on the account can be listed on these cards, according to a Wells Fargo spokesperson, who said the bank “continues to[s] to explore this option. “


Key point

Many banks now allow customers to use their preferred name on credit and debit cards, including business accounts at some institutions. Others have committed to work to implement the use of fancy names in the future. Super scaredan LGBTQIA+ community-focused financial institution, is also preparing to launch and has ensured the use of preferred names as part of its core principles.

Whether you’re looking to use a preferred name relative to your legal name or an illegal name, it’s important to include it. People will be able to use the name they like in their everyday lives – including the next time they pull out a credit or debit card to make a purchase.

Instead of going through the pain and embarrassment of pulling out a card that doesn’t match your true self, banking with the issuer allows you to use your preferred name on your card. can make you feel recognized. However, it’s important to note that merchants can still request to see ID in some transactions, and having a card with a name that doesn’t match your ID can create another problem. However, the world of touch-to-pay transactions and mobile wallet should make this simpler.


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