Mastercard announced last week it will do away with legally binding names on cards, and instead let customers pick the name that goes on their card. It’s Pride Month and this is all part of an initiative by the company to affirm the LGBTQ community by offering a card that reflects their true identity — enter its “True Name” card.
Mastercard said it wants to “ease a major pain point for the transgender and non-binary community.” According to the company almost 32 percent of people who presented identification with name or gender that didn’t match their credit card claimed they had a bad experience.
As such Mastercard is working to create a “sensitive and private process free of personal questions, that will allow for true names, not deadnames, to appear on cards without the requirement of a legal name change.”
Problem solved — not so fast. While that all sounds lovely and affirming and sensitive to one group of people, in the race to be politically correct we’re ignoring the glaring elephant in the room. One that has the potential to, at best, raise several serious, unaddressed questions and, at worst, breed a whole other litany of problems.
What are the safety and security implications? What about the potential for fraud? How about ID theft? Has anyone thought any of this through at all? Bueller… Bueller… anyone? All signs point to no, they have not.
The Daily Caller asked Washington D.C.’s Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking about the potential for fraud. This is a department that’s actually in charge of anti-fraud programs. Its response: “Whether this effort leads to increased fraud will, likely, depend on how it is implemented.”
Not exactly a ringing endorsement of the program’s safety.
These are the kinds of questions all financial institutions, credit lenders, and other credit card competitors who now have pressure on them to follow suit should be asking. Mastercard wants other companies to follow their lead, because of course they do.
Are its member banks, who are the ones who back credit card companies, really willing to take this gamble? This may well depend on whether the legal departments at Visa, Discover, etc., are full of politically correct activists or actual lawyers.
If financial institutions get on board, what’s next? Could we eventually see options for alternative names on driver's licenses?
Will you eventually be able to pick whatever name you want when you open a bank account or take out a loan? Think I’m being dramatic and it will never happen? Maybe, maybe not.
Precedents are funny things. Once they’ve been set, the slope gets slippery pretty fast and it’s generally full speed straight downhill.
Mastercard said the cards in the wallets of the transgender and non-binary communities can be “a source of sensitivity, misrepresenting their true identity when shopping and going about daily life.”
Point taken, however if you feel you’re being misrepresented on your credit card then go to court, change your name, and really make it your true name.
It costs money, and it’s a royal pain in the neck, as all things run by the government are, but then it will be your honest to goodness true name. Isn’t that really being true to who you are, rather than having multiple identities?
You’ll have the name you want, and all of these unanswered security questions that nobody seems to want to talk about go away.
After I got married, I went to court and jumped through all the hoops necessary to legally drop my first name, which for all intents and purposes existed only for decoration on my birth certificate. It was just a few years after 9/11, understandably security was on high alert and there was an increase in the red tape you had to navigate, which I was all too happy to do.
I was so over the headaches and confusion my legal name caused. My middle name was all I’d ever been called by, and I was tired of it constantly being at odds with the name on my legal documents, as well as what all doctors and professionals would automatically call me. It all felt completely foreign and didn’t represent me, so I gladly did whatever I needed to do.
Mastercard’s eagerness to show they’re sensitive to the LGBTQ community with the “True Name” card begs the question: when people are allowed to use differing forms of conflicting personal identification, what could possibly go wrong?
Has anyone thought through the obvious temptation for organized crime? Has anyone thought through the obvious temptation for terrorists — either those from abroad or people here who’ve been radicalized; all of whom are hell bent on destruction?
We shouldn’t, in the interest of being politically correct, wait until it’s too late to find out.
Lauren DeBellis Appell is a free-lance writer based in Fairfax, Virginia. A recovering lobbyist and Capitol Hill communications adviser, she is the mom of two girls who are growing up fast in the shadow of the Nation's Capital. A native of Western Pennsylvania she worked for Sen. Rick Santorum, R-PA, in both his D.C. office and on his successful re-election campaign in 2000. She then moved over to the Senate Republican Policy Committee for several years before leaving the Hill to lobby Congress. She's written over 100 columns over the past two years for FoxNews.com, USA Today, The Hill, Investors Business Daily, Real Clear Politics, and The Daily Caller. She keeps it real, the only way she knows. To read more of her reports — Click Here Now.
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