Recently, we began talks with a new client we’ll call Jay. Jay is trans and recently had gender-reaffirming surgery. But there have been some roadblocks since he began to live his authentic life, including financial ones. He’s been having a terrible time getting a copy of his credit report because a fraud alert is showing up based on the name he was given at birth. Jay also doesn’t have enough accounts under his new name so he is unable to generate a credit score under his new name. His old name continues to show up on his credit report as a former name. It’s been a roller coaster, and it’s not as easy as legally changing his name. Let’s take a closer look at what we can do for trans, non-binary, and gender-nonconforming people who need to build their credit moving forward.
Credit Card Options
We determined that Jay had a few options to build credit under his new name. They include:
- Opening a secured credit card
- Opening a secured credit card with a $200 deposit
- Getting added to his parent’s credit card
It can be helpful in his case to be added as an authorized user to his parents’ existing credit card accounts, and more than one is better.
We also suggested he put a very small subscription on each new credit card and pay it monthly. We’re talking under $20, like a Netflix subscription (before their rates increase again, at least).
Installment Account Options
Installment accounts are always suitable for credit building. Our go-to is the credit-building INSTAL savings account with a small amount, such as $15 per month. Or he can take out a small personal loan to help build credit using his new name.
Contacting the Credit Bureaus
For Jay, contacting the credit bureaus and removing fraud alerts from his credit report would be a more significant challenge. While he can set up new accounts under his new name, accessing old accounts and credit reports that rely on his deadname will continue to raise red flags.
In Jay’s case, he will need to contact the credit bureaus to remove the fraud alert.
We suggest the following template:
To Whom it May Concern:
I used to be known by this name_____ my new name is ______.
Enclosed, see a copy of my name change paperwork.
MY DOB is ______, my SS# is _______
My current address is ______ , I have lived here for (x years/months). .
My address before that was ___. I lived there for (x years/months.)
***PLEASE REMOVE THE FRAUD ALERT ON MY ACCOUNT*
If Jay was comfortable disclosing his gender-reaffirming surgery here, it might be helpful to include it, but no one is required to provide medical information.
The addresses provided in the letter should equal at least the last 2 years of living. Jay also needs to include new IDs showing proof of his current address and social security number. We recommend that he provide his social security card and driver’s license. (If your driver’s license doesn’t have your current address, a utility bill or bank statement that does should be used instead. Because Jay is dealing with a particular lender, his next steps are a little different, but for most people dealing with this issue, you would need to mail this information over to the credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax, & Transunion. Their addresses can be found on their websites, and we recommend sending these letters by certified mail.
A message from Dale Marco:
Hi all, Dale here. I want to let everyone know that I work with credit monitoring partners as an affiliate seller. I make a commission when you sign up for these services, but I wouldn’t recommend just anyone. These are organizations I trust and use myself. My goal with my blog is always to educate, but it’s also part of my business, and I receive compensation when you use the products I recommend.