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Credit Monitoring

How to change your name on a credit report

The process is different for each bureau. Here's what to know.

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Marc Bruxelle/ EyeEm/ Getty

What's in a name? Turns out a lot of paperwork, at least when it comes to ensuring your credit reports reflect a new legal moniker.

It's a little easier when you're only changing your last name: after you update your name with your creditors, they'll update the credit bureaus, and the reports will reflect your new name automatically.

However, if you're a transgender or non-binary person changing your full name to match your gender identity, things get much more complicated. You can look forward to navigating the bureaucracies of multiple government and financial institutions.

Below, CNBC Select breaks down the steps to change your full name with each of the credit bureaus to avoid any disruptions to your credit history.

Update your legal documents and records

Before you can request a name change with the credit bureaus, you need to make sure your other important records are in order. These typically include:

  • A court order. To kick off the process, you'll need to obtain a court order and pay the filing fee. This step will vary by state — you can find the instructions for your state at the National Center for Transgender Equality.
  • Your Social Security record. You can change your name with the Social Security Administration by providing proof of a name change, such as a court order.
  • Your passport. If you're only changing your name on an existing U.S. passport, you can do so by mail. If you also need to change the gender marker on your passport or you're getting a passport for the first time, you must apply in person.
  • Your state ID. Each state has its own rules for changing your name on an ID card or driver's license. Look up the website of your local licensing authority (such as the Department of Motor Vehicles or Department of Licensing) to see what they require. You can also find helpful information at National Center for Transgender Equality, especially if you're changing the gender marker on your state ID.
  • Your utility and phone bills. Updating your name on your utility and phone accounts provides you with supporting documents you can submit to the credit bureaus.
  • Your financial accounts. You also want to request a name change across all of your financial institutions and credit card issuers to avoid any confusion in credit reporting.

Changing your name on credit reports

Once you've taken care of your essential documents and records, you can request a name change with the three credit bureausExperian, Equifax and TransUnion. When you're changing your name to affirm your gender identity, the bureaus will also remove your previous name (or "deadname").

Can you change your gender marker on credit reports?

Your credit reports reflect certain personal information, such as your address and place of employment as you've shared on your credit applications. However, they don't show gender, so you won't have to worry about updating this identifier when you're changing your name.

You'll need to update your name with each bureau separately, and each has a different process you'll need to complete.

Experian

Experian requires a few documents that confirm your name change. These include a copy of the court order reflecting your legal name change, a government-issued ID card with either your old or new legal name, and a dated copy of a utility, bank or insurance statement with either your old or new legal name and your current mailing address.

You can request the name change and upload the supporting documents online. You'll first need to enter your identifying information as it currently appears on your credit report so that Experian can locate your file. You'll also be prompted to submit your Social Security number (SSN), date of birth and all the addresses you've lived at in the past two years.

As you're filling out the form, remember to include a note in the explanation field saying that you're legally changing your name and not disputing the name appearing on your credit report. Experian suggests writing something along the lines of, "My legal name is now _____; please see attached documents".

If you'd rather report your name change by mail, you can send a letter explaining you'd like to change your legal name on your credit report. Make sure to also attach copies of the supporting documents. Mail the letter and documents to:

Experian

P.O. Box 4500

Allen, TX 75013

Equifax

The easiest way to change your legal name on your Equifax credit report is to sign up for a free myEquifax account (if you don't already have one) under your former name. Again, using your deadname at this stage is necessary for the credit bureau to locate your information. After that, you can navigate to the dispute center and request a name change using supporting documents, including:

  • Your name change court order with your former and new name, current driver's license, or Social Security card with your new name to verify your legal name
  • Your updated Social Security card, a pay stub, or Medicare/Medicaid card to verify your SSN
  • A utility or phone bill, pay stub or bank statement with your new legal name and current address
  • Your state ID or passport to verify your date of birth

Filing a request to change your name is free. You also have the option to mail the documents to the following address:

Equifax Information Services

P.O. Box 740256

Atlanta, GA 30374-0256

If you need help, you can call Equifax at (866) 349-5191.

TransUnion

TransUnion recommends updating the information on all of your financial accounts before reaching out to the bureau. Unlike the other two bureaus, TransUnion doesn't offer a way to complete the name change process online. Instead, you can mail a letter requesting the name change that includes your address, date of birth and SSN along with supporting documents to:

TransUnion Consumer Solutions

P.O. Box 2000

Chester, PA 19016-2000

TransUnion doesn't provide a definitive list of required documents but states that what it needs "will likely be the court order regarding your name change". For more information, you can call the bureau at (833) 395-6938 and get guidance on the process.

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Bottom line

Changing your name to match your true gender identity is a cause for celebration. That said, it does require you to go through the tedious task of updating all of your essential legal and financial records, including your credit reports. It can help to spread out the steps over the span of several weeks to avoid getting overwhelmed. Take notes to stay on track and don't hesitate to reach out to financial institutions to get updates or with any questions.

Catch up on CNBC Select's in-depth coverage of credit cardsbanking and money, and follow us on TikTokFacebookInstagram and Twitter to stay up to date.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.
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