Confessions of a secret credit card user
Price comparison site MoneySupermarket asked why people hide a credit card or statement, and the top reason for being deceptive was because people feared their partner would be annoyed by the amount of money they spent (40%).
Other reasons for a secret credit card included 38% of people desiring to have their own purchasing freedom, one in five said it was because they wanted to make purchases their partner would not approve of, and over one in ten believed their other half wouldn't approve of them having a credit card at all. However, the reasons weren't all bad natured - 29% of those with a secret credit card 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 saying they bought gifts for their partner, while a quarter used it to buy expensive clothing or shoes and a similar number had splashed out on a holiday. Other private purchases included gambling, expensive nights out and jewellery (13%, 13% and 12% respectively).
People also confessed to using a 'covert' credit card to fund a secret relationship (7%), to pay for adult entertainment (11%) or private family issues such as child maintenance payments (7%).
The research revealed that people in the South East were most likely to hide their credit card statements, with one in five (18%) 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 would fund their festivities this way compared to only 7% of women. Also nearly ten times more men (17%) said they put adult entertainment on their secret card than women (2%), 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% having done so.
Kevin Mountford, head of banking at MoneySupermarket said: "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 0% 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% 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."