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Secretive spouses hide more than a half a billion pounds on concealed credit cards

25 September 2013

New research by has found that 5% of people in a relationship have ‘hidden' credit cards

When it comes to money it seems that UK couples like to keep their finances divorced. A survey, conducted with more than 1,200 British adults currently in a relationship, found that 16% like to keep love and money separate.

And for some British couples this could mean that there are more money mysteries lurking, as 5% admitted to hiding credit cards from their partner, with just over a quarter (26%) of these confessing to concealing up to £1,000 of debt on these secret cards. Shockingly, almost one in ten (8%) of those that had hidden credit cards from their partner disclosed that they had amassed more than £5,000 of debt. That's more than £625 million* of debt that British couples are keeping from each other.

Only 40% have at least one joint bank account with their partner, with one in three people (31%) not having any sort of joint bank account at all.

In the survey 28% of couples said that they had joint accounts but also had separate accounts, while nearly a quarter (24%) said they had a separate bank account for financial independence.

Almost a quarter (23%) of the couples who had a joint bank account or credit card, said they did so as they have no secrets as a couple.

Matt Sanders, banking and credit card expert at, said: "Financial independence is very important for some couples so it's understandable that many want to keep their bank accounts and credit cards separate.

"But hiding credit card debt is another thing. Debt can be a damaging burden to bear, and there really is no need to keep it under wraps. By finding a credit card that offers 0% interest periods for balance transfers, you may be able to move your debt, for a fee, and avoid paying interest charges for a period, giving you the breathing space to devise a plan to pay it off.

"Sharing the debt burden with your partners will surely make it easier to handle and also make it more likely that you won't fall into that trap again."

Matt added: "Joint accounts can be very useful when you are paying household bills, and with the Payments Council's new current account switch guarantee up and running it's now easier than ever to find a bank or building society account that suits you and your partner's needs.

"You no longer have to worry about the complexities and hassle of transferring standing orders and direct debits as it will all be done for you, so there's no excuse not to shop around."


Notes to editors:

On the 4th to 5th August 2013, Vision Critical conducted an online survey among 2,001 randomly selected British adults who are Springboard UK panelists. The margin of error-which measures sampling variability-is +/- 2.2%. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current age, gender and regional data to ensure samples representative of the entire adult population of Great Britain. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding. Of this total sample, 1,278 respondents identified themselves as currently being in a relationship.

*ONS data for 2012 shows that the UK adult population (between ages of 18 and 89) is 49,667,327. 63% of the survey respondents said that they are in a relationship, which is 31,290,416 people. 5% admitted to having hidden credit cards, which is 1,564,521 people. 8% admitted to having a minimum of £5000 which equals 125,162 people. 125,161 X £5000= £325,810,000. Any discrepancies are due to rounding.