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 finder.com 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 one 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 one 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 one 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!”

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.

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

Compare credit cards

Table: sorted by representative APR, promoted deals first
Name Product Balance transfers Balance transfer fee Purchases Annual/monthly fees Representative APR Incentive Link
M&S Bank Rewards Offer Mastercard
0% for 12 months reverting to 19.9%
2.9% (min. £5)
0% for 12 months reverting to 19.9%
£0
19.9% APR (variable)
Double points on spend in M&S for first 12 months (2 points per £1). Then earn 1 point for every £1 spent at Marks and Spencer's and 1 point for every £5 spent elsewhere. 100 points = £1 reward voucher. Points will be converted into reward vouchers 4 times a year.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
Santander Everyday No Balance Transfer Fee Credit Card
0% for 18 months reverting to 20.9%
0% for 18 months reverting to 3% (min. £5)
0% for 3 months reverting to 20.9%
£0
20.9% APR (variable)
Earn up to 15% cashback with your selected Retailer Offers at selected major retailers.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 20.9% p.a. (variable), your representative rate is 20.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
Santander Everyday Long Term Balance Transfer Credit Card
0% for 31 months reverting to 20.9%
2.75% (min. £5) for 31 months reverting to 3% (min. £5)
0% for 3 months reverting to 20.9%
£0
20.9% APR (variable)
Earn up to 15% cashback with your selected Retailer Offers at selected major retailers.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 20.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 20.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
M&S Bank Shopping Plus Credit Card
0% for 22 months reverting to 21.9%
2.9% (min. £5)
0% for 22 months reverting to 21.9%
£0
21.9% APR (variable)
Earn 1 point for every £1 spent at Marks and Spencer's and 1 point for every £5 spent elsewhere. 100 points = £1 reward voucher. Points will be converted into reward vouchers 4 times a year.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 21.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 21.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
The Royal Bank Balance Transfer Credit Card (eligibility criteria apply)
0% for 20 months reverting to 21.9%
0%
0% for 3 months reverting to 21.9% p.a. (variable)
£0
21.9% APR (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 21.9% (variable), your representative rate is 21.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
HSBC No Fee Balance Transfer Credit Card Visa
0% for 20 months reverting to 21.9%
0% for 2 months reverting to 2% (min. £5)
21.9%
£0
21.9% APR (variable)
Discounts and exclusive offers for dining experiences, leisure activities and shopping available through HSBC Home and Away.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 21.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 21.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
HSBC Balance Transfer Credit Card
0% for 29 months reverting to 21.9%
2.85% (min. £5)
0% for 3 months reverting to 21.9%
£0
21.9% APR (variable)
Discounts and exclusive offers for dining experiences, leisure activities and shopping available through HSBC Home and Away.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 21.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 21.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
M&S Bank Transfer Plus Offer Mastercard
0% for 29 months reverting to 21.9%
2.75% (min. £5)
0% for 3 months reverting to 21.9%
£0
21.9% APR (variable)
Earn 1 point for every £1 spent at Marks and Spencer's and 1 point for every £5 spent elsewhere. 100 points = £1 reward voucher. Points will be converted into reward vouchers 4 times a year.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 21.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 21.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
The NatWest Balance Transfer Credit Card (eligibility criteria apply)
0% for 20 months reverting to 21.9%
0%
0% for 3 months reverting to 21.9% p.a. (variable)
£0
21.9% APR (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 21.9% (variable), your representative rate is 21.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
HSBC Purchase Plus Credit Card Visa
0% for 18 months reverting to 22.9%
2.9% (min. £5) for transfers in first 60 days
0% for 18 months reverting to 22.9%
£0
22.9% APR (variable)
Discounts and exclusive offers for dining experiences, leisure activities and shopping available through HSBC Home and Away.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 22.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

Name Product Purchases Balance transfers Annual/monthly fees Representative APR Incentive Link
M&S Bank Shopping Plus Credit Card
0% for 22 months reverting to 21.9%
0% for 22 months
(2.9% fee)
£0
21.9% APR (variable)
Earn 1 point for every £1 spent at Marks and Spencer's and 1 point for every £5 spent elsewhere. 100 points = £1 reward voucher. Points will be converted into reward vouchers 4 times a year.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 21.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 21.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
Santander All in One Credit Card
0% for 20 months reverting to 17.9%
0% for 26 months
(0% fee)
£3 per month
23.7% APR (variable)
0.5% cashback after £1 of monthly spend. Cashback paid monthly into card account. Maximum spend for cashback purposes is limited to credit limit.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 17.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £3 per month, your representative rate is 23.7% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
HSBC Purchase Plus Credit Card Visa
0% for 18 months reverting to 22.9%
0% for 18 months
(2.9% fee)
£0
22.9% APR (variable)
Discounts and exclusive offers for dining experiences, leisure activities and shopping available through HSBC Home and Away.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 22.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
M&S Bank Rewards Offer Mastercard
0% for 12 months reverting to 19.9%
0% for 12 months
(2.9% fee)
£0
19.9% APR (variable)
Double points on spend in M&S for first 12 months (2 points per £1). Then earn 1 point for every £1 spent at Marks and Spencer's and 1 point for every £5 spent elsewhere. 100 points = £1 reward voucher. Points will be converted into reward vouchers 4 times a year.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
Tesco Bank Clubcard Plus Credit Card Mastercard
0% for 24 months reverting to 19.944%
21.814%
(3.99% fee)
£7.99 per month
37.7% APR (variable)
1 point per £4 spent (£4 minimum) in Tesco and 1 point per £8 spent (£8 minimum) outside Tesco, must have available credit to earn points. Card can also be used as a Clubcard to collect standard points at 1 point per £1 spent on shopping and 1 point per £2 spent on fuel. Points are converted to Tesco vouchers which can be used towards shopping or exchanged for Partner Rewards.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.944% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £7.99 per month, your representative rate is 37.7% APR (variable).
Tesco Bank Purchases Card
0% for 23 months reverting to 20.94%
0% for 3 months
(2.99% fee)
£0
20.9% APR (variable)
1 point per £4 spent (£4 minimum) in Tesco and 1 point per £8 spent (£8 minimum) outside Tesco. Must have available credit to earn points. Points are converted to Tesco vouchers or can be exchanged for Partner rewards to receive money off a variety of restaurants, entertainment or Avios points.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 20.94% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 20.9% APR (variable).
Ulster Bank Purchase & Balance Transfer Credit Card Mastercard
0% for 22 months reverting to 21.9%
0% for 22 months
(1.99% fee)
£0
21.9% APR (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 21.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 21.9% APR (variable).
Sainsbury's Bank Dual 22 Month Offer Credit Card Mastercard
0% for 22 months reverting to 20.95%
0% for 22 months
(3% fee)
£0
20.9% APR (variable)
Earn 3 Nectar points per £1 spent in Sainsbury's and Argos. Earn 1 Nectar point for every £5 spent elsewhere. Earn 500 bonus points each time you spend £35 or more on Sainsbury's shopping with your credit card, up to ten times in your first 2 months, offer available for new customers.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 20.95% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 20.9% APR (variable).
Royal Bank of Scotland Purchase & Balance Transfer Credit Card Mastercard
0% for 22 months reverting to 21.9%
0% for 22 months
(1.99% fee)
£0
21.9% APR (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 21.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 21.9% APR (variable).
NatWest Purchase & Balance Transfer Credit Card Mastercard
0% for 22 months reverting to 21.9%
0% for 22 months
(1.99% fee)
£0
21.9% APR (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 21.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 21.9% APR (variable).
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

Name Product Purchases Annual/monthly fees Initial credit limits Representative APR Incentive Link
M&S Bank Rewards Offer Mastercard
0% for 12 months reverting to 19.9%
£0
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
19.9% APR (variable)
Double points on spend in M&S for first 12 months (2 points per £1). Then earn 1 point for every £1 spent at Marks and Spencer's and 1 point for every £5 spent elsewhere. 100 points = £1 reward voucher. Points will be converted into reward vouchers 4 times a year.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
M&S Bank Shopping Plus Credit Card
0% for 22 months reverting to 21.9%
£0
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
21.9% APR (variable)
Earn 1 point for every £1 spent at Marks and Spencer's and 1 point for every £5 spent elsewhere. 100 points = £1 reward voucher. Points will be converted into reward vouchers 4 times a year.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 21.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 21.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
M&S Bank Transfer Plus Offer Mastercard
0% for 3 months reverting to 21.9%
£0
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
21.9% APR (variable)
Earn 1 point for every £1 spent at Marks and Spencer's and 1 point for every £5 spent elsewhere. 100 points = £1 reward voucher. Points will be converted into reward vouchers 4 times a year.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 21.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 21.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
Santander All in One Credit Card
0% for 20 months reverting to 17.9%
£3 per month
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
23.7% APR (variable)
0.5% cashback after £1 of monthly spend. Cashback paid monthly into card account. Maximum spend for cashback purposes is limited to credit limit.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 17.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £3 per month, your representative rate is 23.7% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
American Express Platinum Cashback Everyday Card
24.5%
£0
Min. limit £700, max. limit not specified.
24.5% APR (variable)
New Cardmember offer: Get 5% cashback on your purchases (up to £100) for the first 3 months of Cardmembership. Spend £0 to £10,000 and receive 0.5% cashback on all purchases. Spend over £10,000 and receive 1% cashback on purchases.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 24.5% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 24.5% APR (variable).
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American Express Rewards Credit Card
24.5%
£0
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
24.5% APR (variable)
As a new Cardmember, earn 10,000 Membership Rewards® points when you spend £2,000 in your first 3 months of Cardmembership. Earn 1 point for every £1 spent thereafter.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 24.5% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 24.5% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
British Airways American Express® Credit Card
24.5%
£0
Min. limit £700, max. limit not specified.
24.5% APR (variable)
Earn 5,000 bonus Avios when you spend £1,000 in your first 3 months of Cardmembership. New Cardmembers Only. Earn 1 Avios for virtually every £1 spent. Spend £12,000 annually and get a travel companion voucher when redeeming Avios for a BA reward flight. Terms Apply
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 24.5% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 24.5% APR (variable).
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Royal Bank of Scotland Reward Credit Card Mastercard
21.9%
£24 per annum. Reward or Reward Black Current Account holders: £0 per annum
Min. limit £250, max. limit not specified.
26.8% APR (variable)
1% Rewards earned on supermarket spend and 0.25% at their petrol stations, at least 1-15% Rewards earned at MyRewards retailers and 0.25% everywhere else when shopping at home and abroad. 5 Rewards is £5 when redeemed. Rewards can be converted into money and transferred to a current account, exchanged for gift cards or tickets with some retailers doubling their value or converted into money and donated to one of the RBS Group chosen charities.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 21.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £24 per annum. Reward or Reward Black Current Account holders: £0 per annum, your representative rate is 26.8% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
NatWest Reward Credit Card Mastercard
21.9%
£24 per annum. Reward or Reward Black Current Account holders: £0 per annum
Min. limit £250, max. limit not specified.
26.8% APR (variable)
1% Rewards earned on supermarket spend and 0.25% at their petrol stations, at least 1-15% Rewards earned at MyRewards retailers and 0.25% everywhere else when shopping at home and abroad. 5 Rewards is £5 when redeemed. Rewards can be converted into money and transferred to a current account, exchanged for gift cards or tickets with some retailers doubling their value or converted into money and donated to one of the RBS Group chosen charities.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 21.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £24 per annum. Reward or Reward Black Current Account holders: £0 per annum, your representative rate is 26.8% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
American Express Platinum Cashback Card
24.5%
£25 per annum
Min. limit £700, max. limit not specified.
29.8% APR (variable)
As a new Cardmember, get 5% cashback on your purchases (up to £125) for the first 3 months of Cardmembership. Spend £0 to £10,000 and receive 0.75% cashback on all purchases. Spend over £10,000 and receive 1.25% cashback on purchases.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 24.5% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £25 per annum, your representative rate is 29.8% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
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Compare up to 4 providers

This article was written in part by Sarah Donges who owns The Beauty Tutor – a Personal Styling and Personal Shopping business for men and women.

We show offers we can track - that's not every product on the market...yet. Unless we've said otherwise, products are in no particular order. The terms "best", "top", "cheap" (and variations of these) aren't ratings, though we always explain what's great about a product when we highlight it. This is subject to our terms of use. When you make major financial decisions, consider getting independent financial advice. Always consider your own circumstances when you compare products so you get what's right for you.

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