Ahead of Pride Month celebrations, Mastercard Inc. will allow transgender customers to use their chosen names on credit and debit cards—recognizing trans identities as valid and legal.
“We are allies of the LGBT+ 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.
“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,” the company adds.
Trans people have previously suffered from discrimination and harassment, specific to reasons where their chosen names after transitioning, do not reflect on their legal documents such as birth certificates or any government IDs.
In three states, Tennessee, Kansas, and Ohio, transgender people are legally barred from changing the sex listed on their birth certificate, according to LGTB rights organization Out Leadership.
“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,” Mastercard said in a statement.
“This will ease a major pain point for the transgender and non-binary community.” Mastercard Inc. is calling this new product as a trans person’s True Name card.
In other words, Mastercard Inc. will introduce a new feature in processing for credit and debit card information, where transgender individuals can opt to put their chosen names in future credit or debit cards without the need to legally change their government documents.
Moreover, Mastercard Inc. sees this as a way to help their trans customers in everyday situations. The network has already started talking to banks to help them implement the cards, said Raj Seshadri, president of U.S. issuers at Mastercard.
Notably, changing names in the United States is a tedious and lengthy process that usually costs anywhere between $150 to $436, depending on the State. The court order that will allow this change will effectively enable people to change their names on public documents such as passports, driver’s license, birth certificate, social security number, and soon to be a thing in the past, bank accounts.
“What we’re introducing is a card that represents an individual as who they truly are,” Seshadri said in an interview. “This is something that should be accessible to everyone in the way they want it and there shouldn’t be any pain in that.”
Furthermore, according to Mastercard Inc.’s statement, nearly a third of individuals — who have shown forms of identification with names or genders that don’t match their presentation — reported encountering negative experiences, including harassment, denied services, and or attacked. The company’s network doesn’t require merchants to validate the cardholder’s name, and the name on the card doesn’t aid a transaction’s security, Seshadri said.
“Mastercard listened to transgender and non-binary consumers’ need for privacy and authenticity and created a powerful tool to make their lives better,” Zeke Stokes, chief programs officer at LGBTQ advocacy group GLAAD, said in a separate statement. “Other businesses should follow suit by working with members of the LGBTQ community to create financial products that reflect true identities.”
Along with Mastercard Inc., a slew of companies ranging from clothing, alcohol, services, cosmetics, and even food establishments are celebrating Pride Month this June by launching their projects that celebrate the LGBTQ+ community. These include giants like Ikea, Verizon, Mac Cosmetics, and Bud Light, to name a few.
For example, Disney is launching its Rainbow Disney collection that will offer more than 50 products, including ringer tees, jewelry, backpacks, and rainbow Mickey Mouse ears. The collection is available at shopDisney.com, with select products only available at select Disney Store locations and theme parks.
Purchasing any item from the Rainbow Disney Collection until the 30th of June, Disney will donate 10% of the proceeds to GLSEN, which works to establish a safe and inclusive environment for LGBTQ students across the country.
More brands and companies are doing the same with their respective LGBTQ+ organizations.