People change their names for a variety of reasons. If you’ve recently gotten married, there’s a chance you’ll be changing your last name. The same might be true if you’ve recently gone through a divorce. You may also change your name simply because the one you currently have doesn’t feel like the right fit.
Going through a name change requires completing some legal processes to make the change official. While this may feel like the end of the name change process, it doesn’t take care of changing your name everywhere. For example, if you have credit cards, you’ll have to contact each issuer to get your name updated for your accounts.
Can you change your name on your credit cards?
The short answer to this question is “yes.” You can change your name on your credit accounts, and many card issuers will allow you to take care of this change over the phone or online. As long as you’ve gone through the process of legally changing your name, you should be able to present your new documents, like an updated Social Security card and driver’s license, to have your name changed on your credit cards. Wait times for receiving your new card will vary, but you should get an updated card within a few weeks of making your request.
Should you leave your cards in your old name?
Getting a name change for one credit card will likely be an easy process. However, if you have multiple cards that need to be updated, be prepared to invest a bit more time. Each card issuer has a different process for handling name changes. Many allow you to complete the process over the phone or online, but others will require you to show up at a physical branch. This can become a pretty long process if you have to do this for multiple cards. And if there are any errors with the initial name change, you’ll have to get those corrected before you can move forward with getting your credit cards updated.
While getting all of your cards updated will likely take some time, it’s an important process to complete. Having one name on your identification and another name on your credit cards can cause confusion. It can also raise suspicions from merchants and card issuers. Having mismatched cards and IDs is a red flag for identity theft. For this reason, you may be asked to show additional identification to complete transactions. And, in a worst case scenario, a merchant may simply not accept your card.
Changing your name with your card issuer
Each card issuer handles name changes a little differently. Here are the basic steps for some of the major card issuers.
To change your name with American Express, you will need to fill out a Name Change Authorization form through your online account. When you login, click the “edit” button next to your name to bring up the form. Be prepared to attach a copy of your updated state-issued ID, driver’s license or U.S. passport reflecting your new name. American Express will automatically send you a new card once your request has been processed.
Bank of America
In order to change your name with Bank of America, you will have to go in-person to one of their financial centers. Take a government-issued photo ID and any additional documentation (birth certificate, marriage certificate, divorce decree, etc.) specific to your situation. An associate will issue you the necessary forms to complete your name change and assist you with obtaining a new credit card. If you don’t live near a Bank of America branch, you can contact their customer service line at (800) 432-1000 for assistance with your name change.
Barclays also requires you to go to a physical bank branch in order to initiate a name change. Take the originals of any relevant documents, such as a marriage certificate or divorce decree. If you don’t live near a Barclays location, you can call their customer service line at (866) 928-8598 for assistance with how to complete your name change.
Capital One handles name changes by mail. In order to change your name with them, you will need to submit a written request signed and dated within the last 60 days, a copy of a legal document showing the name change and a signed W-9 form with your new name. If you are simply correcting an error in your name, you can submit just the W-9 form with the correction.
Once you’ve prepared those documents, mail them to Capital One, P.O. Box 60, St. Cloud, MN 56302. Once your documents have been received, they’ll take about three business days to be processed. Once your account reflects your new name, you will need to call (888) 464-0727 to request a new credit card with the updated name.
Chase requires you to fill out an Account Holder Name Change Request Form. You will need to print the form and fill it out by hand. Once you’ve completed the form, you can submit it by fax to (800) 805-3909 or by mail to the following address:
J.P. Morgan Securities LLC
Attn: Account Processing
IL1-0291 4th Floor
131 South Dearborn Street
Chicago, IL 60603-5506
If you’d prefer to submit the form by email, simply fill it out, sign and date it and then follow these instructions.
Citi has different requirements for different kinds of name changes. To get information about your specific situation, call the number on the back of your card. For certain name changes, you can have your information processed over the phone, while other circumstances may require you to send supporting documents. In those cases, requests take about five days to process once your documents have been received.
Discover allows you to complete a name change over the phone by calling (800) 347-2683. You can also do a name change by logging into your Discover account and sending a secured message. An agent will respond to your request letting you know what documentation is needed to move forward. Once your change has been verified, it should be processed immediately. After which, you can expect a new card with your updated name to be delivered within seven business days.
To complete a name change with Wells Fargo, you will need to go to a physical branch. Take an updated photo ID and original copies of any documents supporting your name change. A Wells Fargo representative will copy and file any necessary documents and update their records with your new name. A new credit card will be sent once the process is complete.
To complete a name change with USAA, you will need to initiate the process by phone. The number to call is (800) 531-8722. A representative will give you instructions on how to move forward with your name change.
What to expect after a name change
Once you’ve completed your request for a name change, make sure that the updated information is correct. If you notice any typos, contact your card issuer immediately. A typo could be a sign that your information has been mixed up with someone else’s, but it could also signal something more serious, like identity theft. Whatever the case may be, you should bring the issue to the attention of your issuer as soon as possible to get it resolved.
If your name request has gone through with no typos or errors, you will still have to deal with a transition period while you wait for all of your updated cards to arrive. During this period you may be dealing with mismatched IDs and cards. It’s a good idea to keep an unexpired government ID with your previous name until your cards have been updated. You may also want to carry a copy of your name change document (marriage license, divorce decree, etc.) with you, just in case.
If you’re worried that changing your name will mean starting over with your credit report, you can breathe a sigh of relief. While your name is an identifying factor for your credit report, it is not the only one. Credit bureaus tie your credit report to a variety of personal information, including your Social Security number and your birth date. For this reason, your credit report should automatically update your name to your new name so that there is no disruption in credit reporting. To be sure, however, you can request a credit report to check that your name has been updated with no errors.