For any brand looking to communicate authentically, an understanding of a variety of lived experiences is key. At Mastercard, one of these insights came from a trans employee who shared a personal experience of having a deli merchant call out an order based on the feminine “dead name” listed on his credit card. The situation wasn’t just uncomfortable, it made him feel less safe.
Trans people confront similar situations regularly — changing one’s name is expensive and time-consuming, particularly in conservative states. And the repercussions can be serious: 32% of transgender people who’ve shown an ID card, such as a credit card, with a name or gender that didn’t match their gender presentation have been verbally harassed, denied benefits or service, asked to leave or assaulted.
After conferring with its LGBTQIA+ partners, Mastercard decided to take a stand in order to help people easily change their names on their cards. And thus True Name was born, an idea for a credit card that would do just that. However, before the card could become a reality, Mastercard had to convince banks, responsible for issuing the cards, to get on board.
True Name launched at World Pride in NYC. Since then, it has made a significant impact: the True Name card is now available through BMO Harris Bank, Superbia Credit Union, Citibank and Bunq, with additional banks set to launch the card in markets around the world. More importantly, True Name set a new industry standard — companies including Visa and JPMorgan Chase have since changed their own practices to be more inclusive.