NEW YORK — Mastercard will allow transgender people to use their chosen names on credit and debit cards in an effort to combat discrimination at the cash register.
That means that the name on the credit card owned by a transgender person could be different than that found on their birth certificate or driver's license.
It is up to the banks that issue the cards to actually implement the change and on Monday, Mastercard called on those banks to do so.
Three states — Tennessee, Kansas and Ohio — legally bar a transgender person from changing the sex listed on their birth certificate, according to Out Leadership, a LGBT rights organization that focuses on advocacy at the corporate level. This can create confusion when a person uses one name to reflect their identity, but may have a different name legally.
A 2015 study showed that 32% of transgender people who had to show an ID with a name or gender that did not match their presentation experienced harassment, were denied services or were attacked.
"When we were alerted to this, we realized we could do something about it," said Raj Seshadri, president of U.S. issuers for Mastercard.
A transgender person will no longer have to wait to get a legal name change, make changes to their birth certificate or other legal maneuvers, Seshadri said. The change of name on a card will not create any security issues, she said, since Mastercard uses other security metrics to determine whether a purchase is legitimate or not.
Ken Sweet covers banking and consumer financial issues for The Associated Press. Follow him on Twitter at @kensweet.