Legal Names and Acceptable Preferred Names on Application

Legal Names and Preferred Names.

This is not a question but a long-winded answer.

Monzo will always use whatever is on your ID as your legal name. If you type a name that is not your legal name in the legal name section of an application they will either edit it to what is on your ID (if it’s a typo or similar name) or have to reject it.

For example: If you type ‘Rob Smith’ as your legal name but your ID says ‘Robert Smith’ they will more than likely just change it to ‘Robert Smith’ without needing to tell you or speak to you.
If you have a middle name on your ID but you have not added it, again more than likely they will just add this for you to speed up your application.
However, If you type ‘Robert Jones’ but your ID says ‘Smith’ they will have to reject this and ask you to chat with them to ask why you’re using a legal name that is not on your ID? This is down to FCA regulations on knowing your customers.

There are many reasons why you might have entered a different name on an application though. It could be you have got married, divorced or changed your name and have not yet updated your ID. So if this is the case you can still use your old ID providing you can also submit additional proof that your name has changed dated after your ID was issued, such as a marriage certificate or a deed poll document. If you cant provide this proof you will have to use the legal name on your ID until you can prove otherwise that your name has changed.

A legal name in the UK is always your given names first & family name last. No matter what the culture is in your own country.

Preferred names are a little bit more flexible. The ‘Rob Smith’ example from above is fine here as your preferred name is a commonly accepted short form of Robert.
Having your surname first is also fine as a preferred name - in fact, your preferred name can be in any order you wish but remember it has to have a direct link to your legal name.

For example, you might be called ‘Jack Round’ but all your friends call you ‘Short Round’ so having this as a preferred name would not be allowed as ‘Short’ bears no resemblance to ‘Jack’ either as a shortened form or commonly accepted name relating to Jack. So you can’t use a nickname as a preferred name! It has to have an acceptable correlation to your legal name like Bet for Elizabeth.

Let say you changed your name but didn’t go through the hassle of doing it legally but all your friends and family now call you Janet instead of Veronica and have done so for years.
You would not be able to use the name Janet though as your preferred or legal name for that matter with Monzo as it bears no resemblance to your Legal name Veronica on your ID. Monzo will reject your legal & preferred name and ask you to chat with them to ask why you are trying to use a name that bears no resemblance to the name on your ID? Without the above-mentioned proofs of a change of name you won’t be able to use it.

Only your preferred name is used in correspondence with Monzo.

You can have your legal or preferred name on your card.

Monzo does not really use Mr or Mrs or any other pronouns for that matter.

Names are important as they define us and lets people know who we are but within banking, they cant be what we would like them to be unless we can prove it’s legally who we are.

There are other topics on this forum that discuss gender identity and names so I have not gone into this here.

Was there a question somewhere in that post?

1 Like

I saw that other people were asking about this so I thought I would provide answers to it. Does a post have to contain a question or can it give an answer so other people can search for an answer before asking a question?

1 Like

Yes you would be able to. My brother’s preferred name is not even closely related to his legal name, but Monzo still allowed it as his preferred name, as it’s the name he uses informally, and the one he prefers people call him by.

Worth noting that his legal name is still used in official documentation from Monzo, like bank statements. But his preferred name is used for and is on his card.

1 Like

It is possible that this has slipped through the net N26throwaway. Remember they are checked be a human so there is always a chance that one person would accept a name and another would not. :slight_smile:

1 Like

You may be right. Admittedly, I’m being presumptuous by assuming his experience is Monzo’s standard approach to this stuff, so will be the same for others.

You’d think the humans approving these would have guidelines to follow though!


I don’t think so unfortunately. I managed to get to the end and couldn’t find one, I do however feel a little like I’ve been lambasted by a nutter at Speakers Corner though. It was quite the effort to get through.

LOL not a nutter, promise :slight_smile:
I don’t see why a post needs to contain a question but cant preemptively offer an answer. If this is not aloud then feel free to delete.


I wasn’t suggesting for a second that you were, rather that by the end of the wall of words I had the same feeling. You’re correct, there was no reason why your OP was invalid, perhaps it will be very helpful to someone, it just felt like the answer to a question no one asked so felt rather odd, but as you say, perhaps in future it will be very useful to someone!


They may do it with British :uk: names.

I doubt they do it with foreign names as it’s more chances to get a print mistake which may cos more hassle later on :grimacing:

1 Like

This is simply not true. There is no meaningful canonical legal name in English common law. You have a common law right to be known by whatever name you wish provided it is not for fraudulent reasons. Your ‘legal name’ - such as it is or they are - is/are a matter of fact and use - not of registration.

What Monzo refer to as a ‘legal name’ (and I’ve had many a moan at them about that term) is, as you say, one name as shown on a recognised document dictated by industry regulation rather than common law.

It is, possibly, a pedantic point but perpetuating the notion that we each have a canonical legal name is not true an not an academic point. It matters a lot to many people who are trans or divorced or simply do not use their given names in daily life.

1 Like

Interesting points Nick.

This is absolutely the case!


What’s the case Dan. What Nick said?

What Tom said above:

  • If your legal name and preferred name are different because of gender, we’ll happily change your preferred name.
  • If your preferred name is different because you go by another name, then by and large we’ll accept a variation of either your first name, or second name. As an example my brother has been known as CJ since he was about 7 years old, but that appears nowhere in his name. So we’d accept CJ Surname as a derivation for their preferred name.

Usually we’ll update your legal name automatically because as part of our know your customer checks the legal name on your account needs to make the name on the ID you provide. For example if your driving licence uses initials, rather than the full name then we’d need to use the initials on your legal name, if your passport used your full name and you signed up with that ID doc then we’d use that.

However being part of a responsible bank we also need to make sure we understand why you want to use your preferred name. Sometimes people use something ridiculous like Mickey Mouse but for others there might be a rational explanation so we want to speak to people to understand it so that we can accommodate people’s needs as best as we can.

Sometimes these rules might seem like arbitrary but they are essential - for example if we’re running a CIFAS checks or a check on the electoral roll then it’s likely that on those databases the “legal” name will match the name on your document so we have a greater chance of making sure any hits are genuine.


I think we are in general agreement, Dan. Thanks for adding further clarity. This topic will certainly be a rich resource for customers with these kind of issues.

As I said in my original post gender identity is a different topic altogether.

Also, it could be argued that different staff have different interpretations of your policy on preferred names and what is acceptable to one might not be accepted by another.

Why do you think this is?