Pride Month and Banking: It’s About More than Rainbow Flags

It’s Pride Month, and corporations of all types are waving their rainbow flags. It’s easy to see why: a recent Hornet/Kantar study found that approximately 32 million Americans (or 13% of the total population) identify as LGBT+ and have nearly $1 trillion in purchasing power. This is a market no business can afford to overlook. But financial institutions should review their business practices to ensure they align with their statements of support for the LGBT+ community.


One way to do this is to allow trans and non-binary customers to use their chosen, rather than legal, names on their accounts. As explained by Mastercard “[f]or many in the LGBT+ community, the name on their credit, debit or prepaid card does not reflect their true identity, causing painful daily reminders of a conflict between their true name and the name on their card.” Happily, a number of banks and fintechs are helping their trans and non-binary customers avoid these painful situations. For example:


  • Citi, BMO, and Republic Bank are now offering Mastercard’s “True Name” cards, with more banks soon to follow; and

  • Daylight, a digital banking platform focused on LGBT+ customers, will also allow customers to use their chosen names on Visa debit cards offered through a partnership with Metabank.


In its recent #CallMeByMyName campaign, Daylight identified additional steps financial institutions can take to recognize a customer’s true identity, including:


  • Enabling transgender and non-binary customers to update their name and gender identification for free and without requiring permission from a doctor, judge or notary; and

  • Ensuring that transgender and non-binary customers are recognized by their true gender identity and name across every customer service touchpoint, including customer communications, contact and call centers, statements and cards.


Of course, all financial institutions, including those that offer true/chosen name accounts, must still verify a customer’s legal identity at account opening and periodically thereafter in order to comply with Know-Your-Customer requirements. The KYC process should be less painful, however, if a customer is otherwise able to use their true/chosen name in their financial dealings.