MasterCard has unveiled a program aimed at improving banking services for transgender and nonbinary individuals.
MasterCard said Friday that BMO Harris Bank and Superbia Credit Union will be the first to offer its “True Name” product, which lets people obtain debit cards that display their chosen name without the requirement of a legal name change.
“Our debit card holders use their cards dozens and dozens of times during the month,” said Denise Press, head of retail and small business payments for BMO Harris Bank. “Our research indicates that many times that interaction is not one that is positive, and can lead to discrimination.”
The program will be available starting in December, but the bank has created a portal for customers to preregister.
Typically, people must go through a legal name change before they can obtain a debit card under the name they go by. And that process can be intimidating.
“It’s complicated enough that it’s a barrier for a lot of people,” said Mason Aid, an LGBT diversity and inclusion consultant. “If your name outs you from your debit card, that can put you in an unsafe situation.”
MasterCard’s rules state that a merchant is not permitted to ask for secondary identification. And because debit cards are often used with a pin and a chip, Press said, usually identification is not requested anyway.
BMO Harris is first launching with debit cards, and will use that program to evaluate if and how to do the same with credit cards.
MasterCard operates an O’Fallon, Missouri, campus. Chicago-based BMO Harris Bank has 10 branches in the St. Louis metro area, and eight in the Kansas City metro area. Superbia, described as the first credit union to serve the LGBTQ community across the country, received a Michigan charter in September.