What's your name? No, I mean your real name...the name on your identity papers, birth certificate or passport?
Well, when you apply for a personal or individual AdSense account, this is the name you must use. That's what AdSense would consider your payee name. When entering your payee name for AdSense on your account application, it's vastly important that you get it right. Sounds easy, doesn't it? Apparently it isn't as easy as that. I can't even begin to tell you how many people come to the forum trying to find out how to change their payee name after they've been approved.
AdSense doesn't allow complete name changes. Only in a very few areas they allow you to edit your payee name if you've made a spelling mistake on the application, and they allow changes if you've married and had a name change. Other than that, you simply can't change your payee name in your account.
Changing the payee name from your name to your brother or sister's name would be considered an account transfer, which AdSense doesn't allow.
It appears that now most areas (with the exception of a few) don't have the ability to even edit their payee name to correct a spelling error.
In an AdSense account the payee name will have a link next to it to allow you to make corrections. If this link is not active, doesn't appear, or is grayed out, then you have no way to edit your payee name yourself.
The AdSense Help Center has a form that explains how to change a payee name, and includes a list of countries where payee names cannot be changed at all. From what we've seen lately in the forums, there now appears to be more countries that can't make these changes, but AdSense doesn't seem to have added them onto the listing yet. What that means is without a way to correct your name, you would still have to follow the instructions given, even if your country is not spelled out on the list.
Changing the payee name for countries or accounts who can't access the edit link is time consuming and often frustrating. Which is why it is so important to get your payee name right on your application - get it right the first time and you won't need to go through these steps.
To change your payee name if there's no active edit link you must first cancel your current AdSense account. Yes, cancel it. To do that, you must use the cancellation request form - do not simply delete your account. That will cause you all kinds of problems. Follow the steps on the cancellation form. If you have already accrued earnings in your current account and those earnings are over $10.00 US then AdSense will forward those earnings to you - they are usually issued 90 days after you cancel your account.
Account cancellations are permanent. Once you cancel the current account you cannot get it back and will need to open a new account.
Once you have received notification from AdSense that your current account is closed, you need to apply for a new AdSense account, making sure your payee name and address details are correct.
I'm sure some of you are wondering how so many people get their names wrong in the first place. Some are simply due to typing errors; some are due to the characters of different languages; some people apply with their user ID instead of their real names; and many are from invalid account acquirement. Some people have others apply for them, some people try to buy AdSense accounts because they can't get their own - the people actually applying for the account are not the people who will own the account, and very often the payee name is not entered correctly. Some are simply trying to "snow the system" by using someone else's name to get an account, thinking they can change the name later.
These latter reasons and people are the ones you have to thank for AdSense not allowing name changes - too much fraudulent activity in the past and even in the present time is now increasing the list of countries that can't make changes to their accounts - or at least it appears that way.
Although the question has been asked (what countries have been added to the list) AdSense has not issued a new list, nor given any indication that other countries were added, so we're left to guess.
So no matter where you live, getting your payee name right when you apply is crucial if you don't want to have to go through an account cancellation and reapplication later on.