Everyone should be able to manage their financial life after a name change.

After a legal name change, trans and nonbinary people experience difficulties with updating their name on financial records ranging from credit reports to retirement accounts to tax records.

As a result, many consumers suffer financial hardship because of institutions’ inabilty to provide them with a way to quickly and easily update their name.

Although credit bureaus have been able to accommodate last name changes for reason of marriage or divorce for decades, they struggle to do so for first or full name changes. After legally changing their first or full names consumers can face a variety of challenges with their credit reports, such as:

  • At times a consumer’s credit report splits (or “fragments”) into two or more credit reports in different names after their name change. These fragmented credit files contain only a portion of the persons credit information, which can lead to a loss of positive credit history as well as a drop in the consumers credit score.
  • Some consumers find that the credit report is completely empty after their name change and that they have no credit history at all.
  • Some consumers are unable to access their credit reports entirely after their name change.
  • Being deadnamed in their credit reports provided to employers, landlords, and underwriters.

When taxpayers change their legal names it can create obstacles in filing their taxes with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and state tax agencies, and can create issues in receiving tax-related benefits that they are entitled to.

After changing their legal names, some individuals report that they are unable to file their taxes entirely, because of mismatches in their W-2s, 1099s, or other statements of income with their legal name.

Additionally, individuals report being unable to obtain tax refunds, Child Tax Credit payments, or other benefits they deserve because they are unable to file their taxes or prevented from receiving those benefits because their accounts are in their legal name and not their deadname.

After a legal name change, consumers report difficulties working with depository institutions (e.g., banks and credit unions), lenders, and other financial service companies in updating the name on their account.

Individuals report insensitive and harassing treatment by customer service representatives, having their accounts or requests flagged as fraudulent, and companies flatly refusing to change their name on their bank accounts, loans, or other financial accounts. 

Inability to change their name on all of their financial accounts creates additional complications for transgender and nonbinary people after a name change, including fragmented credit reports, denials for goods or services because of mismatched financial and identity documents, and additional financial hurdles and hardship for trans and nonbinary consumers.

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