How to Change Your Name on Credit Cards

FT Contributor  | 

When you legally change your name, you’ll need to update all of your financial accounts, including your credit cards. However, you cannot simply request a new card that reflects your new name. Credit card issuers typically need to see proof of your new moniker, and you’ll need to go through a specific process to provide that information and make an official request. This is done to protect you from identity theft, and while it might be time-consuming, when you have the right documentation prepared, it’s fairly painless.

Reasons to Change Name on Credit Card

Name changes are more common than you might think, and there are multiple reasons a person might need to update their personal information with credit card companies. The most common reason is a change in marital status, either a marriage or divorce. Some people also change their names for personal reasons; for instance, legally changing their name to a preferred nickname, or a different last name due to challenging family circumstances.

It’s also becoming increasingly common for individuals to change their names after a gender transition. For a significant percentage of transgender individuals, the name on their credit or bank cards is their birth name, which often doesn’t match their gender.

Known as “deadnaming,” the practice of referring to a transgender or nonbinary individual by their birth name is increasingly controversial, and can cause significant problems for an individual. In response, some banks are working on new processes to make gender-related name changes easier and more affordable.

Other reasons to change the name on a credit card include correcting spelling errors or adding or removing a suffix (like Jr or Sr.).

Steps to Change Name on Credit Card

In general, changing your name on your credit card requires officially changing your name on other documentation first. In most cases, you’ll be expected to provide official documentation of your new name in the form of a marriage certificate, divorce decree, or court documents. To make the process easier, make name changes in the following order:

Acquire a New Social Security Card

Some banks require that you show a Social Security card with your new name to change information on your account; your employer may also need to see your new card to update your payroll information.

To get a new card, you must visit a Social Security Administration office in person, fill out the application, and show proof of your name change, as well as photo identification. Depending on your individual circumstances, you may also need to show proof of citizenship or immigration status. The Social Security Administration will mail you a new card in 10 to 14 days.

Change Your Name on Your Government-Issued ID

After requesting a new Social Security card, head to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to update your driver’s license or other government-issued ID. In some states you may be able to change your name online, but most require you to go in person. Again, you’ll need to fill out the application, show proof of the name change, and surrender your current identification. Some states may also charge a fee for a new license.

Because your state may confirm your new name with the Social Security Administration, it’s important to visit the SSA first, before changing your ID.

Change Your Name on Your Bills

Once you have a new Social Security card and driver’s license, you can change your name on everything else. Make a list of all your bills (such as cable, internet, electric, gas, phone) and call each company to find out what you need to do to change your name. Some may allow you to make the change right over the phone, while others might require you to submit a request in writing with documentation or use an online portal.

Change Your Name on Your Bank Account

Don’t forget to stop in to your bank and make the change there as well. A customer service associate can typically make the change on the spot, as long as you have the right documentation. Your legal documents may be enough, but the bank might prefer to see your new license or Social Security card as well. If you use an internet bank that doesn’t have any branch locations, you’ll likely need to submit documentation by mail or through the bank’s secure online system.

How to Change Your Name on a Credit Card

Once you’ve made changes with the government, bank, and your utility companies, it’s time to change your credit cards. This is not difficult, but again, it can be time-consuming depending on how many credit cards you have and individual issuer policies.

Contact Card Issuers

The first step is to get in touch with your card issuer and determine what their process is for name changes. Some banks will make the change right over the phone and mail a new card, while others need a written request and documentation to make the change. You should also be able to find the information on the credit card company’s website.

Gather Information Needed to Change Your Name on a Credit Card

Most credit card issuers require at least one form of documentation to make a name change, e.g., a marriage license, Social Security card, or driver’s license reflecting your new name. Be prepared to make copies of documents to mail or send photos or scans to the card companies via their online systems. Once you submit the required information, you can typically expect to receive your updated card within a week or two.


Image Source: https://depositphotos.com/

This post was updated December 23, 2019. It was originally published December 23, 2019.