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One in seven Brits cheat financially

One in seven people in a relationship say they regularly lie to their other half about how much money they spend, according to new research.



Have secret shopping sprees and hidden debts replaced previous partners as the biggest taboo subject among British couples?

New research by Confused.com suggests so.

Our poll found 20% of coupled up Brits would rather reveal the number of people they have slept with than admit the full extent of their spending habits to their other half.

Women worse for secret shopping sprees

Women are more likely than men to lie about the amount of money they spend - 16% versus 11%, our research shows.

Rather stereotypically, females are the worst culprits for secret shopping sprees too.

Around one in 15 women admit to sneaking purchases into the house without anyone seeing them, compared to only one in every 50 men.

The main justification for secret spending, according to 30% of both males and females polled, is to avoid an argument with their partner.

However, 17% keep their spending secret as they say they feel ashamed or guilty afterwards.

Only bad hygiene and cheating is less attractive

Spending money and lying about it is one of the most off-putting traits in a partner or potential partner, according to 61% of Brits.

Bad hygiene, cited by 71% of people polled, and cheating, mentioned by 83%, are the only issues that people are more repelled by.

More than a third of people claim they would be put off if they found out that a potential partner was in debt.

This is despite more than 40% of people surveyed being in debt themselves.

When asked how these debts arose, nearly half of Brits said that they had borrowed money to go clothes shopping, while 43% had incurred extra expenses to pay for a holiday.

A further 41% ran up debts to cover every day living costs and food expenses.

Pooling finances can link couples’ credit ratings

Despite the risk of secret spending, many couples opt to pool their finances: 53% of people say they currently have a joint bank account with their partner.

But 38% of couples aren’t aware that having a joint account with their partner can link their credit ratings, putting them both at risk if one partner’s secret spending spirals out of control. 

Perhaps unsurprisingly credit cards are the most common reason for being in the red - 60% of people in debt had an outstanding balance to shift.

One in 20 – or 5% - of people in a relationship say they have hidden a credit card bill from their partner in the past.

Meanwhile, the average "secret" credit card debt – that which only the card holder knows about – currently stands at £712.

Nerys Lewis, head of credit cards at Confused.com, says Brits shouldn’t be ashamed about spending their own money on the things they want, or using a credit card to do so.

Avoid paying interest

"However," she says, "people should be conscious of spending more than they can afford as this could lead to their financial situation quickly growing out of control."

Lewis adds: "For those with outstanding credit card balances, comparing balance transfer credit cards and moving their balance could be a better option for them.

"For instance, there is currently a wide selection of credit cards on the market offering no interest for balance transfers for up to 31 months.

"So it’s worth comparing deals to save on interest and get out of the debt rut."

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Adam Jolley

Adam Jolley

Adam Jolley is a writer at Confused.com, focusing on credit cards and other financial products. Wannabe mountaineer Adam joined us from the world of financial services PR.

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