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How to hide your naughty purchases made on your credit card

You can't hide your credit card use directly. Here are other ways to keep your spending private.

Unfortunately, you can’t wipe that spicy Valentine’s purchase from your account to keep your gift a secret from your loved one. But it can be hard to hide something like a gift or a naughty purchase from your partner if you share a bank account or look at each other’s statements.

But we have some helpful tips for you if you’d like to keep some purchases discreet. We also consulted financial experts to learn some of their clever suggestions.

Can I hide my credit card purchases?

No, you can’t. Any purchases you make using your credit card will show up on your account for that month’s statement. Safety and security is the main reason for this — if you could hide credit card purchases, it would be much easier to hide instances of credit card fraud.

Thankfully, only the name of the vendor and purchase amount will show up on your statement balance. So while a loved one could tell that you made a purchase from a certain retailer, they won’t necessarily know what you purchased.

Alternatives to hiding credit card purchases

If you really need to hide a purchase, such as when buying a gift or something highly personal, you do have a few options:

  • Use cash. Cash is a reliable low-profile way of making purchases. But make sure to tuck your receipt somewhere safe in case you need it later.
  • Buy and use a gift card. You can purchase a gift card using your credit card and they basically serve the same function as a debit or prepaid card. The difference is that a gift card isn’t under your name, unlike a credit card, debit card or prepaid card. But check to see if purchasing gift cards will be considered a credit card “purchase” or a “cash advance,” which could incur additional fees and charges.
  • Use an online payment service. Purchases you make through online payment services, such as PayPal or Google Pay will show up on your bank or credit card statement as the name of the payment service. This can help mask your surprise purchase by hiding the retailer you purchased from.
  • Switch to electronic payments. If you’re more concerned with a nosy neighbor or sibling checking out your paper credit card statements, make the switch to electronic statements. This ensures that only you (or those with your login information) can view your card history.

Clearing up credit card statement misconceptions

You might be self-conscious about your credit card spending, but it’s important to remember that as long as your purchases are legal and you make at least the minimum repayment every month, the bank doesn’t care how you’re using your card.

This is good to know, considering plenty of people use their credit cards for some, let’s say, private purchases. In fact, online shopping for sex toys grew greatly over the course of 2020, with some online retailers reporting a 30% increase in sales compared to the same period last year according to a report from the New York Times. While this kind of purchase might be embarrassing for some, they’re perfectly legal so you shouldn’t have any insecurities about your bank seeing them on your statement.

Tips from the experts on how to hide your credit card purchases from your partner

We spoke to financial experts across a variety of fields to understand their approach to hiding those naughty or private purchases.

Amazon gift cards all the way,” says Janet Patterson, VP of Marketing Communications for Highway Title Loans and feature editor of its lending blog. “This might take a little more time, but it’ll be worth it. Purchase an Amazon gift card through your credit card according to your budget and just use it up for whatever gift you want. Your credit card statement will show an Amazon gift card purchase rather than the actual gift you went for.”

Bradley Stevens, Business Coach and CEO at LLC Formations seconds Finder’s Paypal recommendation. “You can send and receive money by just using your email address …it is even possible to pay businesses by taking money from either your credit card or from your checking account. So since these purchases and payments aren’t directly being paid from the card, they won’t show up on your statement either. The statement will only state “PayPal” and no other details.”

Stacey Caprio of Deals Scoop has a high spec suggestion for hiding your purchase: “One way to hide credit card holiday gift purchases from a partner is to open a new credit card using a different card provider just for the holiday season and purchase your gift using the new card. Then your partner won’t have access to this card or even know it exists, making it easier to hide the purchases.” Of course, you’ll likely only want to consider this if you’ve been planning to open a new card in the first place.

Shop at a discount retailer like Homegoods or Marshalls,” offers Andrea Woroch, money-savings and family finance expert, and writer. “These stores sell just about everything, from toys to clothing to beauty supplies to home goods and even electronic accessories. Not to mention, these stores don’t have a set inventory of specific brands and products so that means your partner will have no idea what you bought from those stores. Even itemized receipts are vague listing product categories rather than the actual brand or product name.”

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Senior writer

Steven Dashiell is an editor for Bankrate and and formally a personal finance writer at Finder, specializing in credit cards, banking and growing and protecting your income. His insights and expertise has been featured on Nasdaq, U.S. News & World Report, Time, CBS, ABC, Fox Business, Lifehacker and Martha Stewart Living, among other top media. Steve holds a BA in English from University of Maryland, Baltimore County, minoring in composition and rhetoric. In his spare time Steve nerds out on birds, paints and plays a whole lot of Street Fighter. See full bio

Steven's expertise
Steven has written 66 Finder guides across topics including:
  • Credit cards
  • Budgeting and saving
  • Rewards programs

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2 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    FeMarch 20, 2018

    How can I hide the balance on my bank statements?

      RonMarch 24, 2018Finder

      Hello Fe,

      Good day! Appreciate you contacting finder regarding your inquiry today.

      Generally, information reflected on your bank statement cannot be altered as it records all your transactions and documents cannot be simply changed. This is why this page you have accessed only discusses a comprehensive guide and tips on how one can hide credit card purchases either by using other modes of payment or by hiding it physically. It would be best if you directly speak with your bank to generally inquire on how to go about it as they may have some exceptions in relation to hiding the balance from your bank statements.

      Hope this helps!

      All the best,

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