March 17, 2022
Media contact: National Consumers League – Katie Brown, firstname.lastname@example.org, (202) 207-2832
Washington, DC— The National Consumers League has joined efforts with LGBTQ, consumer, and legal advocacy groups to address credit-related problems encountered by transgender and nonbinary consumers.
The letter to the major credit reporting companies, notes that transgender and nonbinary consumers face a myriad of issues after they change their names — with serious consequences for their financial and personal lives. The transgender and nonbinary community have reported to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that they cannot get Experian, Equifax and TransUnion to correct their credit reports.
Some issues reported are that their credit report fragments into two or more unconnected files upon their name change or are not there at all. Many times their credit scores drop by hundreds of points, precluding them from accessing banking services, mortgages, auto financing, employment, and rental housing. Transgender and nonbinary consumers find that even when they were able to contact and persuade a customer service representative at one of the Big Three credit bureaus to manually fix their report, a new upload of data reverts their credit histories back to fragmented or incomplete files. Some have even reported serious fallout after their credit histories reflected their “deadname” or former name, thereby outing them as transgender to potential employers, rental agents, car dealerships, or financial institutions.
The letter asks the credit reporting industry to:
- Utilize consumers’ full 9-digit Social Security numbers in matching algorithms to ensure credit information is associated with the correct credit file.
- Facilitate name changes by having clear procedures to update a consumer’s name on their credit report when presented with a legal name change order and ensure that staff are sufficiently trained in those procedures and are able to provide culturally competent service to transgender and nonbinary consumers.
- Reduce the burden on transgender and nonbinary consumers to submit name-change documentation to each credit reporting agency by instituting a “one-stop” system that allows a consumer to submit a single request to have the legal name on their report updated, and ensures the request is communicated to all consumer reporting agencies.
- Prevent the occurrence and recurrence of fragmented credit files by creating procedures to detect when a consumer changes their legal name with a creditor, to associate the new name with their credit file, and to consolidate a consumer’s credit information in their current and previous names in a single credit file — as the industry presently does when cisgender women and other consumers change their last names.
- Prevent the disclosure of transgender and nonbinary consumers’ deadnames to landlords, employers, and underwriters by disclosing only a consumer’s current legal name in reports provided to credit report users.
About the National Consumers League (NCL)
The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit www.nclnet.org.