Legal (or given) name vs preferred name in help chats

This is a minor nitpick for me, but it would be nice if the monzo chat staff would always use the preferred name instead of full name. My full name is Samuel, but I’m not particularly keen on it for everyday conversation so I often shorten it to Sam (it’s also gender neutral which I like). Other than that I find the staff to be incredibly helpful and friendly :slight_smile:


I was already under the impression they did this?

Maybe worth checking with support to see if they have it marked correctly on the system :slight_smile:

1 Like

I have my preferred name on my account (and card).

They still use my full name in chat.


Please accept our apologies. This should never happen and we are usually pretty good at this.


I wasn’t too fussed, but that’s more because I use my preferred name for ease rather than anything else (appreciate some people have a much better reason for having a preferred name).

The actual service received has always been great :+1:

1 Like

I have just sent out a reminder note to the entire COps team to remind them that we should always be using preferred names when addressing a customer.

In some cases, such as with transgender folks who may not yet have legally changed their name, it’s one of those things that makes a huge difference and I’d hate to think that this is a widespread issue (I don’t believe that it is, but it shouldn’t happen at all).

Thank you @SamP20 and @nickh for flagging this, and once again please accept our apologies!


I have been on the chat like on 6 different occasions…they always call me Pun…so I am happy…

1 Like

at least they don’t call you Donald :rofl:



1 Like

Sorry to seemingly nitpick, @simonb, but it’s an important point that I have made before.

In common law a person legally changes their name merely by using it. There is no formal process or documentation required. You (presumably) don’t mean “legal name” but something like “name that appears on government issued ID” or something, but referring to it erroneously as a “legal name” gives the strong impression that someone’s established common name is somehow not legal, nor right or has a lesser status that a previous name.

And that is the antithesis of the friction-free attitude to gender and identity you are trying to foster with your trans customers and those who otherwise have an awkward association with the names you gather from formal documentation.

It’s a small point but language is everything, especially when it claims to have a legal basis.

If Monzo could come up with a snappier name for the name that’s on passports, driving ID, etc, without inferring it is “superior”, that would be a great prescedent to set. As would storing it internally in fields named as such so as not to propagate the myth.



I don’t mean to nitpick your nitpick, but:

" Legal name is the name that identifies a person for legal , administrative and other official purposes."

In other words, in this context ‘legal name’ == ‘name that appears on government issue ID’.

I don’t think Monzo need to come up with a snappier name. Perhaps the phrasing Simon used just needs to be switched around a little: “…who may not yet have changed their legal name.”


You aren’t nitpicking, @HoldenCarver, you are disagreeing :slight_smile:

Your definition might be what is meant by Monzo, but it’s not the point (and has no legal basis). Rather it is that there is no concept of a canonical name in English common law, so the phrase “legal name” has no defined meaning except to imply that another name is NOT legal. Defining “legal name” only reinforces the prejudice it carries. And that is what is unhelpful.

1 Like

This may be instructive.

Particularly, the following section:

However, when the law asks for one name only (or the “true name”) of a person, the courts have had to decide how that should be interpreted.

In these sorts of cases the courts have generally held that —

  • a person’s name and surname is the name and surname they are generally called and known by
  • where there is doubt, or where many names are used (or have been used) — the name (or names) that are used for formal, solemn, and official purposes — over a substantial period of time — are preferred over names that are used for temporary, social or day-to-day purposes

Examples of formal, solemn, and official purposes would be —

  • birth registration
  • baptism and confirmation (as to forenames only — as baptism is not concerned with surnames)
  • marriage (and divorce proceedings)
  • other legal proceedings
  • formal identification documents such as passport / national identity card
  • driving licence

Why don’t we just call it aka?

simple really


I really don’t know what point you are making @HoldenCarver by quoting a site that is ostensibly pretending to be an authority but is really just getting people to pay for documents they don’t need…

but you are fundamentally missing my point. Which is simply that the phrase ‘legal name’ is misleading and insidious.


Internally in Monzo, we use the term legal name as a shorthand for something like “the name we are legally required to collect that you have have identity verification in and that we would have to report in any legal cases”. It’s absolutely not perfect but it does work in our context of banking, even if it seems odd outside. :grimacing:

Having said that, with Monzo, it’s incredibly easy to change what we hold as your legal name. You can create your own deed poll and send it over. :boom:


Thanks Nick. Yes, you are right that our concept of “legal name” as it’s referred to in our internal tooling means the name on government issued ID rather than what is legal or not.

Maybe “ID Name” would be a suitable replacement?


The point is that I am working with the world as it is rather than trying to work with the world as I’d want it to be. Many things are imperfect, but changing them is outside the scope of this experience, as it were.

In this context where you’d understand the term ‘legal name’ to be the name on your passport or driving license, say, then it’s not misleading as I see it. I note Rika’s reply says you can create your own deed poll and send it over, so that’s another option.

My ultimate point is that we have to work with the system as it is rather than as the ideal system we’d like it to be. In my day job, for example, we’ve worked around requirements by no longer asking people for their title or gender. And on a personal level, I’ve spent most of the weekend in a hugely inclusive environment with many people with many different identities.

I think the difference in our perspectives comes down to the fact that I am a realist, and I try to work with the system as it is rather than as the system I want it to be.


Sounds perfect :+1:

I blame @Rika for making me think a lot longer and harder about this than is healthy in another thread, many moons ago. :smile: From what was a minor irritation over being called ‘Nicholas’ over ‘Nick’ (by other organization), I realised it matters more to others, and for all sorts of reasons (divorce, change of gender, disassocation, etc). I subsequently realised we generally collect a lot of personal data under the auspices of ‘identity’ that we treat in a really un-human way by throwing it back at people.

Why can’t we just ask people what they want to be called, and call them that? :woman_shrugging: Turns out we can!

1 Like

Spot on. More of that I say.

Except you just said you’ve already changed some requirements in your day job. I’m just pushing you the extra mile. :grin: G’wan, start using ‘ID Name’ - I know you want to.