I am now a girl with a bank account. And not just the emaciated cash only beast I obtained from the Norwich and Peterborough – bless ‘em! – a few months back.
No. This is a full-on, chequebook accompanied, debit card bearing current account. With a major High Street bank, no less. And not a fib told along the way.
Here, for anyone objecting to the deed poll route, is how you do it.
Various organisations will change your name on personal application and as long as you have fulfilled any security requirements that they set along the way. In the case of the Inland Revenue, that means just being online enabled and having a password – though I think similar provision applies on the phone.
So, you can change your name for tax purposes with one phone call or one e-mail, providing there is sufficient proof that you are you attached. That will also filter thru to places like working tax credit and national insurance.
Next up…you can do similar for NHS (which isn’t really necessary in this instance, but is satisfying) and for the electoral roll simply by assertion. In my case, I filled in my new name on the most recent electoral roll and included a note to explain what I’d changed from. Sorted.
Once you are you on the electoral roll, you will start to get a credit history. But what about your PAST? Simple: apply to Experian and/or Equifax for a credit report (you need to give a credit card, but will only pay if you eventually subscribe to the service) and on your application, link old to new name.
Hey presto. You now have tax records, electoral roll status and whatever credit history you’ve amassed over your lifetime.
Now for the bank. The two doc’s that many request that I don’t yet have sorted are passport and driving license: passport is expired; license is one of those olde-fashioned non photo ones.
In the absence of photo id, banks request you “prove” two things: your identity (which is achieved by one or more selected tax or national insurance documents) and your current address (which I managed using a Council Tax bill…though my name is now proudly displayed on gas, electric, water and phone bills…all managed without a deed poll).
This was now a piece of cake and so I opened a new account. Took about 40 minutes, but no different to anyone else opening a new account.
And there, sort of, is the rub. Opening a new account, once you’ve put the basics in place, is pretty easy. All the checks and balances went thru alright: why wouldn’t they…I’m me on the electoral roll as well as me at credit reference agencies.
This is not necessarily a good thing for the banks, though. Whilst I can open a new account this way, they won’t amend details on an existing account on this basis.
I therefore foresee one of two outcomes. Either banks will move to close what they might now see as a “loophole” – though if they do that, I’ll be waiting for them with Equality Act in hand (because I have difficulty seeing how they can close this without breaking the law elsewhere).
I really hope they don’t, because this issue is now on the desk of government and its just possible banks could jump wholly the wrong way.
Or they could just do the commonsense thing and allow the SAME identity to be applied when changing name as when opening a new account. That way, they’d maintain their data integrity and not run the risk of encouraging multiple identities to start to emerge.
But then, despite bank claims to the contrary, this was never really about security. A bunch of data security consultants could design a system in hours that would actually enhance bank security by recording name change explicitly and making it accessible and processable data.
Many banks don’t – and haven’t – because they are hide-bound and lazy. They prefer to discriminate against women and the transgender community, because those designing the systems don’t see the hassle they cause – and at base they are more concerned with covering their own backs than implementing REAL security.