Banking

LGBT neobank Daylight urges banks to let customers use ‘true names’

Daylight, a digital banking platform for the LGBT community, is calling on traditional financial institutions to let customers use their chosen names rather than their legal names.

The New York company — which has made the use of true names part of its business plan — announced its #CallMeByMyName campaign Tuesday in partnership with All Out, an organization that advocates for LGBT rights, and the National Center for Transgender Equality, an advocacy group for transgender people.

The campaign urges the American Bankers Association to issue guidance to its members to devote more resources to fostering inclusivity.

“Being able to access debit and credit cards in your chosen name, which is not necessarily your legal name, is vital for ensuring the physical safety and security of trans and nonbinary people,” says Billie Simmons, co-founder of Daylight.

“We acknowledge the improvements already made by the U.S. banking industry to improve inclusive customer service for transgender and nonbinary customers,” a letter on All Out’s website says. “We now call on you to take the next steps by encouraging ABA members to redirect a portion of Pride advertising spend towards developing publicly available action plans.”

To develop these action plans, the #CallMeByMyName campaign — a riff on the movie “Call Me By Your Name” about a same-sex romance — asks financial institutions to let trans and nonbinary customers update their names and gender identities for free, without requiring permission from a doctor, judge or notary, and extend this recognition across customer service, statements and cards.

All Out has posted a petition on its website next to the open letter that Daylight will use to lobby financial institutions to be sensitive to the needs of trans and nonbinary customers. The challenger bank will also use the hashtag on social media to call attention to this cause.

“Being able to access debit and credit cards in your chosen name, which is not necessarily your legal name, is vital for ensuring the physical safety and security of trans and nonbinary people,” Billie Simmons, a co-founder of Daylight, said in a press release.

The Daylight debit card bears the customer’s chosen name. Although it is necessary to resurface a customer’s legal name during the know-your-customer process, the app and customer service staff will use preferred names thereafter and ensure name changes are updated across all systems automatically.

BMO Harris Bank, Citigroup and Superbia Credit Union use Mastercard’s True Name feature, which lets customers use their preferred name on credit, debit and prepaid cards.

“We applaud recent initiatives to improve support for trans and nonbinary people, but these don’t go far enough,” said Simmons. She points out that in her experience using True Name with a major retail bank, she still receives bank statements, texts and letters with her deadname.

“ABA is committed to helping banks of all sizes build diverse, equitable and inclusive environments that welcome LGBTQ+ customers and employees,” an ABA spokesman said by email. “We support bank initiatives to allow trans and nonbinary people to have the financial products that meet their needs, while also meeting all bank regulatory requirements.”

Beyond issuing debit cards, Daylight is an online community where users can get advice from their peers, schedule sessions with LGBT financial coaches and read content that covers money management issues specific to LGBT needs, from the unique costs of transitioning to the finances of starting a family.



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