Key takeaways

  • Marriage and divorce are common reasons you may need to request a name change for your credit cards and other legal documents.
  • In some cases, such as for transgender cardholders, you may want to change the name on your card even if you haven't legally changed your name. Some issuers have a process in place for this.
  • Changing your name won't affect your credit since your credit history remains tied to your Social Security number.

Your name is an important part of your persona and a crucial marker of your identity. If you’ve recently changed your name, you’ll need to update your important documents and accounts with this new information. That includes your credit cards — especially to avoid your transaction getting denied by a merchant or service provider who asks for identification. The process isn’t necessarily complex, but it’s good to know the steps involved and what to do, especially if you have multiple credit cards that need a name refresh.

Find out why a credit card name change is recommended, what’s involved when you want to change your credit card name, what to expect afterward, and more by reading this helpful primer.

Reasons to change the name on your credit card

There are many reasons you might need to change the name on your credit card. “The most common reasons for name changes are marriage and divorce, as you may need to update this status on your credit cards to match the legal documents that reflect your new name,” says Zac King, director of card services for Georgia’s Own Credit Union.

Case in point: Let’s assume you’ve recently married and now use a different last name. You’ve successfully updated important documents like your driver license and state ID, though because your current credit card doesn’t expire until November 2026, you decide to delay a name change request until then. But when attempting to make a purchase at a store, the retailer requests to verify your identity.

“Because the names wouldn’t match, the merchant may refuse to accept your payment. This can cause issues if the name on your card doesn’t match your ID,” says King.

A divorce or marriage aren’t the only circumstances that can warrant a name change on your cards.

“If you have legally changed your name for any reason, it’s smart to update your credit cards. Keeping card names consistent with your legal name reduces confusion,” says Andrew Lokenauth, a personal finance expert.

This topic is especially important for transgender and nonbinary people looking for the name on their credit card to match their chosen name, even if they haven’t legally changed it, says Ted Rossman, Bankrate’s senior industry analyst. To ease this process, Mastercard partners with Citi, BMO and other banks to offer True Name, a feature that enables cardholders to have their chosen first name listed on eligible credit cards. Equifax has followed suit for names on credit reports.

What to do before changing the name on your credit card

Here’s how to prepare before you call your card issuer to request a name change:

  • Lock down any legal requirements. You can request a legal name change as part of a marriage or divorce. To legally change your name for other reasons, rules vary by state. You’ll likely need to file paperwork at a county courthouse and attend a court hearing, where a judge may ask questions before approving the change.
  • Update your government-issued IDs. Update your legal name on your Social Security card, driver’s license or state-issued ID, passport and other crucial identification documents.
  • Collect all needed documents. Your card issuer may request proof of your new name change on your Social Security card, driver license, marriage certificate or court order, so have these documents on hand.

How to change the name on your credit card

It’s relatively simple to have your name changed on your credit cards, although a few steps are required.

“To change your name on your card, the process may be different for each credit card company,” says Carter Seuthe, CEO of Credit Summit. “So the easiest thing to do might be to just contact that card’s customer service number and explain the situation. Let them know why you need to change your name and what it needs to be changed to, and they should be able to guide you along the process and provide you with the necessary links or forms to complete.”

Here’s how to request a name change through major credit card companies.

  • Complete a Name Change Authorization form through your online account. Log in, and select edit next to your name to access the form. Be ready to submit a copy of your updated state-issued ID, driver license or passport displaying your new name. “New cards are typically issued by American Express within 5 to 7 days,” Lokenauth says.
  • Visit a BofA branch in person, bringing along your government-issued photo ID or other documentation. An associate will provide the necessary forms and guide you through the process of updating your name, including obtaining a new credit card. If you’re unable to visit a branch, call customer support at 800-432-1000. “Bank of America should issue a new card within one week,” says Lokenauth.
  • Visit a Barclays bank branch with original copies of supporting documents, such as a marriage certificate or divorce decree. Or call customer support at 866-928-8598 for guidance on completing your name change.
  • For faster service, call Capital One at 888-464-0727 to receive an email containing a secure link for uploading the documents for your name change. Processing can take three business days or more. After your account reflects the new name, call 888-464-0727 to request a new credit card with the updated information. According to Lokenauth, you can expect your new card in seven to 10 days.
  • Chase requires an Account Holder Name Change Request Form, which you must print, complete and either email or fax to 800-805-3909. Five to seven days is the typical turnaround to receive a new card from Chase, per Lokenauth.
  • Contact the number on the back of your card to discuss the circumstances of your name change. Some changes can be processed over the phone, while others may require sending supporting documents, with processing taking up to five days.
  • Call customer support at 800-347-2683 or log in to and send a secured message from your Discover account. An agent will respond with the documentation required for the name change. Processing is immediate, and “your new card should ship out the next business day,” Lokenauth says.
  • You must visit a physical branch with your updated photo ID and original copies of documents supporting the name change. A representative will make copies of and file any required documents, updating their records with your new name and sending a note card after it’s complete.
  • Call customer support at 800-531-8722. A representative will provide you with the steps toward your name change.

What to expect after you’ve changed your name

After you’ve officially changed your name with your card company, processing may take a few days before a card with your new name is issued and delivered.

“You should receive a new credit card with the updated name, often within a week or two and perhaps even sooner if the card issuer is willing and able to expedite shipping,” Rossman says.

After you receive your new card, properly discard of your old one.

“You should destroy the magnetic stripes and chips using a strong magnet to demagnetize them, then slice the card up with scissors using multiple horizontal and vertical strategic slices, or shred your card using a criss-cross shredder and distribute the pieces in different trash cans,” suggests King.

Lokenauth advises that you can expect to see your name change reflected on your credit reports within one to two billing cycles.

Does changing your name on a card affect your credit?

While changing your name legally and on your credit cards can sound tedious, the good news is that the steps involved are fairly simple. The further good news is that it won’t affect your credit.

“Changing your name on a credit card does not affect your credit score or credit history. These remain tied to your Social Security number,” Lokenauth explains. “Your credit reports will be updated to show the new name, but the name change will not detrimentally affect these credit reports.”

Given that your name is the only information being changed on your card or account, the remainder of the card data and all other identification stays the same.

“Credit reporting uses a wide range of identifying information for matching, instead of a singular piece of info like a name,” King says. “So while a different name might raise a question, the other identifying information would match and serve as confirmation that the newly named consumer is the same as the original consumer.”

The bottom line

If you’ve undergone a major life change that affects your identity, ask for an updated credit card that reflects your name change. Changing your name can involve calling your credit card issuer and submitting documentation or completing an online form, depending on the card. Either way, it’s a worthwhile effort that prevents your card from being declined by a retailer, medical provider or other merchant.

You could also use your name change as an opportunity to compare the best cards on the market for a better fit with your budget, spending habits and financial goals — ideally a top card with rewarding perks or 0% APR to pay down high-interest debt.