- Transgender and non-binary people can now report their legal name change to the credit bureaus.
- To change your name, you will need copies of your legal name change decree.
- If you haven’t gotten a new driver’s license, social security card, and up-to-date utility bills, you’ll want to do that first.
Congratulations on your legal gender-affirming name change!
After going through confusing legal documents and paying court fees, there is still work to be done after you receive your name change decree signed by a judge at your local courthouse. One of the many steps in your legal transition is to report your legal name change to all three credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax and TransUnion – to update your credit report.
Before updating your credit report, it’s a good idea to update your name on your driver’s license, social security card, and utility bills, as credit bureaus ask for copies of these documents to verify. your name change request.
It seems like a tedious process, but it’s worth it in the end. “By updating their names with all three major credit bureaus, trans and non-binary folxes will be able to proactively prevent any potential disruptions to their credit history, which is especially important when applying for a future mortgage or auto loan,” says Ryan Kippel. , Head of Social and Professional Impact LGBTQ+ CFP® at Optas Capital.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to updating your credit report with your legal name.
Prepare your documents
The process for each of the three credit bureaus is slightly different, but they all require copies of your new ID and legal name change decree.
The Equifax and Experian processes are relatively simple, but changing your name with TransUnion requires more time and effort.
According to the Equifax website, you can update your legal name through the myEquifax Dispute Center.
First, create an account on myEquifax using your dead name or log into an existing account. Once logged in, you will be asked to upload the following documents:
- Your legal name change decree
- Documents that include your Social Security number, such as your updated Social Security card, utility or phone bill, pay stub, or Medicare/Medicaid card
- Your current identity card or driver’s license or passport
If you prefer to speak to a representative instead of changing your legal name online, you can call 1-866-349-5191 during these hours:
- Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET
- Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET
You will need to fax or mail the same documents listed above to complete reporting your legal name change to Equifax.
Experian has a specific customer portal where you can upload the following required documents:
- Your legal name change decree
- A government-issued ID with your new legal name, such as a driver’s license, national ID, military ID, or passport
- A dated copy of a utility bill, bank statement, or insurance statement with your new legal name addressed to your current legal address
The Experian portal will have a space to describe your complaint. Here is what you should write in this space:
“My legal name is now ______; please see attached documents.”
If you prefer to report your legal name change by regular mail, you can mail copies of the same documents along with a typed letter explaining that you wish to change your legal name on your credit file. Send the letter and your documents to:
Experian Dispute Requests
Allen, Texas 75013
Unlike the other two credit bureaus, TransUnion requires that you first change your legal name with each individual financial institution listed on their credit report. Unfortunately, this is a time-consuming process that anyone undergoing a legal name change — even cisgender people who are getting married or divorcing — must go through.
The main difference is that transgender and non-binary people may experience higher emotional distress for fear of being outed, misinterpreted, or dubbed when dealing with each financial institution. LGBTQ+ financial planner Kippel reminds folxes to take deep breaths throughout the process, adding, “You are contributing to real change by paving the way for a hopefully more streamlined process in the future for folxes. trans and non-binary.”
After reporting your legal name change to each credit card company, lender, or bank, TransUnion asks you to send a letter requesting the name change that includes:
- Your social security number
- Your date of birth
- Your address
You will also need to include a copy of your legal name change decree. Send both articles to:
TransUnion Consumer Solutions
Chester, PA 19016-2000
You can also call TransUnion at 1-833-395-6938 if you have additional questions about changing your legal name.
How to update your name elsewhere
Step 1: File name change documents with your state
Each state has its own process and requirements for filing your legal name change. The National Center for Transgender Equality has a page that outlines the processes for each state.
Some states, like California, will waive court fees for low-income people who receive food stamps or Medicaid/Medicare. Some state colleges with law programs, such as UC Berkeley, have legal clinics that help people complete their name change paperwork for free. Google “Transgender Legal Name Change Clinic Workshop+ (insert your city and state here) to find legal clinics in your state.
Step 2: Update your Social Security card
To update your Social Security card, you will need to send originals or certified copies of the following documents to your local Social Security office:
- Proof of your identity, such as a driver’s license or ID
- Proof of citizenship or immigration status, such as your naturalization certificate or passport
- Your legal name change decree
- An application for a new social security card
Since you must send originals or certified copies, it is recommended that you use a courier form that includes a tracking number to prevent your items from getting lost. Once your application has been processed, the Social Security office will return your documents to you by mail within a few days.
Step 3: Update any other IDs you have
Once your legal name change is complete and you have your new Social Security card in hand, you can continue to change your following forms of identification:
- Driver’s license
- State ID
- Military ID card
- Permanent resident card
- Naturalization certificate
Next, update your utility bills and credit report as shown above.
Kcomplete copies documents you send by post and a record of the date you sent them. You can also invest a few dollars in certified mail at the post office, which gives your mail a tracking number that you can track. Once the tracking number indicates the courier has arrived, follow up with a phone call to ensure your documents have been received.
To take notes when you call financial institutions to follow up on your name change process. Write down the date, time the call started, the name of the customer service representative, and the time the call ended. Take detailed notes about the next steps in the process or when they believe your name change will be complete.
Assign tasks within a few weeks instead of tackling them all at once. Kippel says, “As this process can be overwhelming, once you have all the necessary documentation, you can set small goals over a three-day period – one credit bureau per day.”