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How to hide purchases you’ve made on your credit card

Find out how you can keep your credit card purchases private with our tips.

Many of us have transactions on our credit card statement that we’d rather keep private, but is it actually possible to hide your credit card transactions once you’ve made the purchase? The short answer is no. For regulatory and compliance reasons, bank statements record all credit card transactions to protect you from fraud. For better or for worse, this means that it’s impossible to hide or delete transactions from your history once they’re processed.

However, there are some simple steps you can take before you make a purchase to help protect your privacy. Learn more below.

What shows up on my credit card statement?

Whether you have some purchases you’d rather not share or you’re trying to surprise your partner, you might be worried that your specific purchase shows up on your credit card. However, what actually shows up on your statement is in fact only the merchant’s name, not a description of the transaction. For instance, if you buy an embarrassing combination of items at the grocery store, no one will be able to differentiate the individual products by looking at your credit card statement.

Check out our guide on how to read your credit card statement for more information.

Can I hide a purchase?

If you’re looking to hide a transaction that you’ve already made, this is unfortunately impossible. You’d be better off physically intercepting and destroying the statement if you want to make sure that no one sees it.

If you’re trying to cover up your spending due to mounting debt, you may wish to consider saving on interest payments with a 0% purchase credit card or consolidating and paying off your debts with a balance transfer credit card. If your debt is crippling, a credit counsellor may be able to give you support and guidance to make your debt more manageable.

Tips to protect the privacy of future purchases

While you can’t remove or hide credit card transactions, here are some ways you can shop with more privacy before you make a purchase:

  • Use Google Wallet. Similar to PayPal, Google Wallet lets you make purchases by logging into your Google account. This eliminates the need to provide merchants with your credit card details, and all transactions paid in this manner will show up on your statement as “Google”. If you were to delete your Google Wallet account, your transaction history would also be deleted with it.
  • Use cash. This may sound like a no-brainer, but it’s effective. Next time you want to hide a purchase, pay with cash instead for totally traceless anonymity.
  • Use a gift card. Getting a gift card could also obscure your purchasing patterns. You’ll load the card with funds at the time of purchase and no one can track how you’re using it thereafter.
  • Opt out of paper statements. If you’re worried about leaving a paper trail because someone can open your mail and read your credit card statements, contact your card provider or log in to your online banking and opt to receive electronic statements instead. Apart from enhancing personal privacy, this move is also environmentally friendly and can sometimes help you avoid fees.

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