How to hide your naughty purchases made on your credit card

Everything you charge on your credit card is listed on your account, so how can you keep your purchases private?

While your credit card statement can be a great way to keep track of your purchases, this can make it difficult if you’d rather keep some of your credit card purchases private. Let’s say you share a bank account with your partner or you look at each other’s statements to keep track of your expenses, but there are some purchases that you’d rather keep to yourself.

If you’ve ever found yourself in this situation, here we share insights from a discussion with a personal shopper to learn some clever tricks that she and her clients use to hide purchases from their partners.

How can I hide my purchases?

One way to go about hiding your purchases is by using a cash or gift card. You can purchase these gift cards 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. Just 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. Another option is to use an online payment service such as PayPal.

If you’re looking to hide your purchases because you’re starting to rack up debt, you might want to consider a specialised credit card that could save you money on interest. save on interest costs on purchases or allow you to consolidate existing debt.

While there are plenty of ways to hide your credit card purchases from your partner, honesty is still the best policy and masking some purchases from your significant other might only work in the short term. If you’re struggling to repay your debts on your credit card but don’t want to alarm your partner, get in touch with your card issuer as soon as possible to discuss your debt consolidation options.

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 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 embarrassing purchases. In a survey conducted by in August 2016, 25% of the cardholders we surveyed admitted to using their credit card to purchase sex toys online, 10% paying for pornography on plastic and 11% using their card for hygiene products. While these 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 on how to hide your credit card purchases from your partner from personal shopper Sarah Donges

While honesty and transparency is usually the best policy, if you really want to hide your credit card purchases from your partner, we spoke to personal shopper Sarah Donges about some of the tricks people use to hide theirs.

At least 6 out of 10 of my clients physically hide their purchases from their partners.

Sarah Donges: personal shopper

As a Personal Shopper, Sarah shops all the time, and with a lot of different people. 80% of her clients are women, and some of them have come up with ingenious ways of hiding their purchases from their partners. Ladies reading this you may know exactly what Sarah means!

“On a day’s Personal Shopping trip, we have a lot to get in a short space of time. Very few of my clients use just the 1 card. They might use their own credit card, a store card, some cash, joint account cash, joint account credit or we put things aside. Either way, we have a budget that we have worked out and will stick to, so how my clients purchase their items is completely up to them.

“After shopping with hundreds of people I would like to share five of my favourite ways clients hide their purchases.”

1. “It was on sale!”

“Firstly, we have Sally. A professional woman in need of a number of items in her wardrobe. Sally had been convincing her husband for years about what a fabulous shopper she is. Yes, every purchase made on our shopping day had to have the price crossed out and a new price written in. To mix up the hand writing I changed some, sales staff or Sally herself did it. This is truly ingenious!”

2. “It’s only 1 small bag!”

“It’s hard to name this person as it’s actually quite a few of my clients that do this. It’s called “minimising”. The first thing that needs to go is shoe boxes, especially boot boxes! The fewer bags you have, the less you (look like you) have spent. In theory, I am there and completely understand where they are coming from. In reality, though the number of items remains the same and the great thing is that they are all fabulous!”

3. Out of sight out of mind!

“At least 6 out of 10 of my clients physically hide their purchases from their partners. Yes, check under the bed, in the wardrobe or in the car for shopping bags that are waiting to come out. A client of mine, Meg, explained that she hides items in her car, even if she bought it that day and her partner often says that ‘he hadn’t seen that before – it must be new’. Meg always replies: ‘you never notice anything I wear and I have had it for ages!’ That will stop the questions every time.”

4. “It was practically nothing!”

“Then there is the fudging the truth a bit approach. You always round the cost of the item down for this. For instance, a £49.95 instantly becomes ‘about £40?’. Indeed it is about £40.”

5. “But I needed it!”

“The majority of women will also instantly justify their purchase. A few great ones are that they paid £50 for it, but it was the only 1 left in their size. They paid £50 for it but that it was reduced from £90. They paid £50 for it but they have been looking for it for ages. They paid £50 for it but it was an emergency. I love it!”

What about my credit report?

Don’t panic – your credit report doesn’t contain info on what you bought and where you bought it! If you used a credit card for a cash advance, that’ll be in there, however. A cash advance is when you withdraw cash using your credit card (and the higher rates and fees cash advances attract make them a bad idea), but it can also be a “cash-like” transaction. “Cash-like” transactions can include buying travel money, spending money at a casino or transferring money to a cryptocurrency exchange, for example.

Your credit report should only be ever be visible to yourself, and any third parties you authorise to look at it (like a bank when you apply for a mortgage, for example).

If in doubt, check out your own credit report for free here.

Picking a card

If it’s credit cards you prefer, then some great ones to look at for your next shopping adventure are credit cards with a rate of 0% on purchases for a specified period and credit cards with a rate of 0% interest on balances transferred for a specified period. These can help you pay less interest for as long as possible.

Bottom line

Using your credit card statement to track spending is handy, but it can get tricky when you want some purchases to stay under wraps, especially when you’re sharing finances with a partner. Being open and honest about expenses matters.

How do you hide your purchases from your partner? Leave a comment below and share your secrets with us.

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Chris Lilly is Head of publishing at He's a specialist in personal finance, from day-to-day banking to investing to borrowing, and is passionate about helping UK consumers make informed decisions about their money. In his spare time Chris likes forcing his kids to exercise more. See full bio

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Chris has written 612 Finder guides across topics including:
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