In many ways, your name is your identity, particularly when it comes to things like legal documents and credit cards. But what if you change your name, for example, because you got married? Now what? When you get married or change your name for any other reason, among the top items on your to-do list should be changing your name on your credit card.

The process of changing your name will take some time, so consider these tips to help you get it done smoothly:

  1. Initial Steps
  2. Intermediate Steps
  3. Final Steps

1. Initial Steps

When you apply for a marriage license, it may be a good idea to order multiple certified copies. If you haven’t already done this, take a step back and order them immediately. You can’t move forward with your name change without them.

Once you’ve got those in-hand, you’re off to the Social Security Administration. Fill out Form SS-5 and take the completed form, along with a certified copy of your marriage license, to your local Social Security office. (Click here to find a Social Security office near you.)

2. Intermediate Steps

While you are waiting for your new Social Security card, make a list of all the places you’ll need to notify of your name change, such as your employer, the post office, utilities, insurance companies and banks. Clean out your wallet and take note of any membership or library cards where you’ll need to make changes. Learn what each of these organizations requires to make the change and begin working down the list.

Once you have your new Social Security card, it’s time to change your drivers’ license. You’ll need to contact your state’s driver licensing bureau to see what’s involved, as rules vary in different states. Typically, states require three forms of identification, but check your state’s particular requirements.

3. Final Steps

Contact your credit card provider(s). Every company has slightly different procedures for how to change your name on a credit card.

Many credit providers will take a request for a name change online or by phone. Some financial institutions may require you to come into a local branch office. Most will typically require a copy of your marriage certificate and your new identification — that is, your updated driver’s license or state identification card and Social Security number.

You’ll want to get this handled as quickly as the process allows. If you don’t inform your creditors of your name change, you may have problems in the future.

As for your credit report itself, you don’t have to inform the three major credit reporting agencies of your name change. They’ll get that information from your lenders.

Published July 12, 2017.

Updated September 14, 2020.

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