Confessions of a Secret Credit Card User

Oct 14, 2011, 06:30 ET from

CHESTER, England, October 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --

  • One in ten Brits (8 per cent) with a partner have a credit card or prepaid card that
    their other half doesn't know about
  • Nearly one in five (17 per cent) with credit cards don't share financial information with their partner
  • Expenses for gambling, adult entertainment and secret relationships are amongst reasons for using a secret credit card

Research from MoneySupermarket reveals one in ten Brits (eight per cent) with a partner have a credit card they conceal from them, and a further eleven per cent of those with credit cards deliberately make sure their partner doesn't see their credit card or bank statements.

The UK's number one comparison site asked why people hide a credit card or statement, and the top reason for being deceptive was because they feared their partner would be annoyed by the amount of money they spent (40 per cent). Other sneaky reasons for a secret credit card included 38 per cent of people desiring to have their own purchasing freedom, 21 per cent said it was because they wanted to make purchases their partner would not approve of, and 11 per cent believed their other half wouldn't approve of them having a credit card at all. However, the reasons weren't all bad natured, 29 per cent of those with a secret credit card proved their motive was a kind one and said they used the card to buy their partner presents without them knowing.

MoneySupermarket also asked what people used their secret credit card for, indulgences for either their partner or themselves topped the reasons for concealed spending with over two fifths, (42 per cent) saying they bought gifts for their partner, while 25 per cent used it to buy expensive clothing or shoes and a further 23 per cent had splashed out on a holiday. Other private purchases included gambling, expensive nights out and jewellery (13 per cent, 13 per cent and 12 per cent respectively). People also confessed to using a 'covert' credit card to fund a secret relationship (7 per cent), to pay for adult entertainment (11 per cent) and even private family issues such as child maintenance payments (7 per cent).

Kevin Mountford, head of banking at MoneySupermarketsaid: "As our research shows, a credit card can be an easy way to make purchases which will be kept separate from the general outgoings of your main bank account. They provide flexibility in repayment terms which allow you to purchase larger items such as gifts for a loved one or allow indulgence on something they couldn't normally afford to buy in one go, such as expensive clothes or shoes. It's great to see that not all the reasons for having a secret card are sinister, romance is still alive and well with a high number of people using a card to purchase surprise gifts for their partner or loved one."

The research revealed that people in the South East were most likely to hide their credit card statements, with one in five (18 per cent) admitting they had done so. Men were found to be almost three times as likely to use their hidden credit card on an expensive night out - a fifth (19 per cent) would fund their festivities this way compared to only 7 per cent of women. Also nearly ten times more men (17 per cent) said they put adult entertainment on their secret card than women (2 per cent), however females topped their male counterparts when it came to putting expensive clothing or shoes on their concealed card or hiding their statements with 35 per cent having done so.

Kevin Mountford continued: "Even if you have a secret credit card for the right reasons you still need to choose the right product for your needs to ensure you're getting the best possible deal. Someone wishing to make a big ticket purchase and needing to pay off the money over a longer period of time may want to go for an interest free product offering zero per cent on purchases, such as the Marks & Spencer Credit Card offering 15 months interest free on purchases. This could be a good option for credit card users, as there would be no interest on any money borrowed in the event they are unable to pay back the full balance immediately, so long as they were able to at least cover the cost of the minimum repayments. Failing to do so would likely see the 0 per cent promotion pulled.

"As with all credit products, when using a card it is vital customers keep track of their transactions. For those who own a secret or hidden credit card, it may prove that little bit harder to monitor but they shouldn't forget this is one more thing to think about paying off at the end of the month, those in this situation should not overlook the fact they are borrowing the money they are spending and it will need to be paid back sooner or later."

Research was conducted by Opinium Research from 30th September to 3rd October 2011, across 2,020 online Interviews (UK Nat Rep)

Of these, 1,273 were married or living with a partner's customer commitment

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