Changing your legal name isn’t something you do very often, so when it’s time to change your name on your credit cards, you may not know where to start. You might change your name after getting married or divorced. Some adults legally change their names to their father or mother’s last name. Some people change the name given to them at birth to a name that better suits them or as part of a gender transition. Once you’ve gone through the legal process of changing your name, you’ll also need to change your name on your credit cards.
Credit card issuers have different requirements for changing your name on your credit card. If you need to correct the spelling of your name or add a middle initial, you may be able to complete the process online or with a quick phone call to customer service.
For a major name change, you may need to call or send documentation to change your name on a credit card. The process can be time-consuming depending on the number of credit cards you have. Before you change your name on your credit cards, you’ll have to legally change your name on your Social Security card and your driver’s license.
Before You Call Your Credit Card Issuer
Changing your name on your Social Security card requires you to send an application and documents to the Social Security Administration.
In the past, you were able to go to your local Social Security office in person, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, you can only make an in-person appointment if you need to update your Social Security card to qualify for health benefits or other assistance, file your taxes, or apply for housing.
First, print and fill out an Application for a Social Security Card. Next, you'll need to gather your documentation, including proof of citizenship if it's not already established with Social Security, proof of your name change, and proof of your identity.
You can use a U.S. birth certificate or passport as proof of citizenship. Name change proof includes a marriage certificate, divorce decree, certificate of naturalization showing your new name, or court order approving your name change. You’ll also need to send something proving your identity with your previous name, like a driver’s license, passport (you can use one document for more than one purpose), employee identification card, health insurance card, or military identification.
Mail the application and your documents to your local Social Security office, which you can find on the Social Security website. You must send original documents; Social Security will not accept copies, even if they're notarized.
In a few weeks, you’ll receive a new Social Security card with your updated name and the same Social Security Number as before. Your documents will also be returned.
Once you’ve changed your name on your Social Security card, you can change your name on your driver’s license. Take a trip to your nearest DMV with your name change documents, old driver’s license, and corrected Social Security card. You may need to pay a fee to have a new card issued.
Changing Your Name on Your Credit Cards
Now you’ve officially changed your name. You can contact the credit card issuers to change your name on your credit card. Once you’ve completed the process, your credit card issuer will mail a new credit card to you with your new name embossed on the front.
For example, American Express allows you to change your name online. You fill out a name change authorization form and upload a copy of your new identification, such as your new driver’s license, to complete your request. If you have a Bank of America card and live near a Bank of America location, you should take your government-issued photo identification plus any additional documentation there to complete a name change. You can also call customer service to complete your request.
For other credit card issuers, calling the number on the back of your credit card is the best way to initiate the process. Be prepared to email, fax, or mail copies of your documentation to complete your name change request.
Changing the name on your credit card doesn’t change anything else related to your credit card account. You’ll maintain the same account number, credit limit, balance, and other credit card details.
Details about your personal information don’t affect your credit score, so your credit won’t be affected when you change your name on your credit card. If you’re recently married, you and your spouse will continue to maintain separate credit files unless one of you is made an authorized user on your accounts.
Changing Your Name on Your Credit Report
You don’t have to notify the credit bureaus of your name change. When your creditors update your credit report information, your new name will be sent to the credit bureaus along with the rest of your account information. Your name will appear in the personal information section of your credit report along with any other variations of your name.