Your parents may have debated your name long before you were born, but what you call yourself may change later in life. Whether you’ve recently gotten married or you prefer to identify with a name of your choosing, changing your legal name is an important task when considering your financial future.
In addition to requesting a formal change of legal documents, like your Social Security card and driver’s license, you’ll want to update the name on your credit card.
Can You Put a Different Name on Your Credit Card?
Updating your credit card accounts with your new name requires proof that your name was legally changed. This may be in the form of a reissued Social Security card that reflects your new name, for example.
It can be hard, however, to find time to request a name change across all of your financial institutions and card issuers. If you’re unable to change your name right away, you might choose to use credit cards with your previous name on them. For day-to-day transactions, these credit cards are still functional as long as they’re not expired.
It’s a good idea to also carry a valid and unexpired form of government-issued ID with a name that matches your card, if you’re asked for identification.
“Leaving your old name on your credit card may not have any negative effects, but it could result in some confusion on your credit report,” says Leslie Tayne, debt resolution attorney at Tayne Law Group in New York and author of the money management book “Life & Debt.” “Particularly if you’ve changed your name in some places and not others.”
How Changing Your Last Name Affects Your Credit
A common myth is that changing your last name cuts you loose from your credit history and debt. Although your name is a part of your identity, it’s not the only factor that’s linked to your credit.
Your credit report, including the details it divulges, is tied to many identifying factors, like your Social Security number, your birthdate and past addresses. When your creditors report information to the credit bureaus, your report will automatically reflect your new name as your primary name.
“Giving other identifiers should generally be enough to figure out who you are and link you to your credit, but if you’ve changed both your first and last name, the creditor may not have enough information to identify you,” says Tayne.
Keep in mind, however, that your credit record doesn’t disappear. To avoid confusion the next time you apply for a new credit card and to help your creditors send accurate updates to the credit bureaus, keep your card issuers in the loop.
Changing Your Name With Your Credit Card Issuer
The step-by-step process of changing your last name or full name through your card issuer can vary, as does the timeline to complete it.
You may need to provide additional documentation that confirms you’ve changed your name. Here’s how to request a name change for some of the biggest card issuers.
American Express cardholders can request an official name change through their online account. Simply complete the name change authorization form online and attach a copy of a state-issued ID card or driver’s license that shows your new name. You can also use an updated U.S. passport as proof of your name change.
Once the request is processed, AmEx will mail you a new card.
Bank of America
To request a name change with Bank of America, you’ll need to visit a banking location. In addition to bringing your updated photo ID, you’ll need to provide a copy of a supporting document, depending on the reason for your name change. Documents include:
- A birth certificate for a misspelled legal name.
- A marriage certificate for a marriage-related name change.
- A divorce decree for changes due to divorce.
- A legal court order for a court-mandated name change.
- An adoption certificate for a name change due to adoption.
Call a Capital One representative at 888-464-0727 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. to request a name change by phone. You may be asked to submit additional documentation to support the name change.
You can also send a signed and dated written request along with a copy of a legal document that shows your old and new name. This request may be faxed to 866-464-6615 or mailed to Capital One 360, P.O. Box 60, St. Cloud, MN 56302.
As a Chase credit card holder, you can call the phone number on the back of your card. You can also call 800-432-3117 or visit your local Chase branch for assistance with your name change request. You may be asked to forward copies of documents proving your legal name change.
If you’re a Citi cardholder, you can reach an associate to request a name change by calling the phone number on the back of your card. In case it’s requested, you’ll also want to have the original version of your legal documents ready as well as copies, if permitted.
You can change your name on an existing Discover credit card account over the phone by calling the number on the back of your card or going online. To complete the process, you’ll need to provide legal documentation to prove the name change, such as a marriage certificate or court order showing the change, an updated driver’s license, or a Social Security card.
Copies of supporting documentation must be uploaded through your online account or mailed to Discover Card General Inquiries, P.O. Box 30943, Salt Lake City, UT 84130-0943.
Changing your name on your USAA card isn’t possible online. Instead, call 800-531-USAA (8722), and a member representative can walk you through updating the name on your account and requesting a new card.
If you have a Wells Fargo credit card, bring your updated photo ID and the original or certified copy of your supporting document into a Wells Fargo location. An in-branch associate will help you complete the additional paperwork, make photocopies of your documents and initiate a reissue of your credit card…….Read More>>