Dec 12 2009

How To Hide Naughty Credit Card Purchases

A friend asked me this week with a reasonable concern regarding the use of his credit card for a purchase that may affect his credit:

Hey, dude. I want to buy my girlfriend some “nice” lingerie from an online merchant that may be considered somewhat “spicy” to banks. I heard that people who have memberships to adult websites usually have lower credit scores. Should I charge it on my credit card?

It is already known that credit card companies do analyze the types of transactions that are made with credit cards. The activity on a credit can be used to create an overall profile of a consumer. Therefore, there are certain purchases you should not put on your credit cards.

Things not to put on your credit card include:

  • Traffic tickets
  • Retreading tires
  • Bargain binges
  • Adult playthings
  • Marriage counseling and therapy
  • Lottery tickets
  • Cash advances
  • Personal pampering
  • Income taxes
  • Booze

Effects on Credit
Luckily, should a consumer choose to make naughty purchases such as gambling, adult entertainment, and alcohol – there would be no direct effects on your credit history or credit report. Rest assured that the credit bureaus do not care what types of credit card purchases you make.

The credit card companies on the other hand… do care.

People are judging people all the time and banks are judgmental too. After approving your credit card application, credit card companies will truly learn what your financial habits are. Even though they may not cancel your card, they can limit the privileges of your account.

Naughty purchases are considered risky behavior in the eyes of credit card companies. If you called to ask for a lower interest rate or to have a fee removed, good luck – because a flagged card would certainly decrease your chances of getting it.

Use Your Credit Card, But Safely
While refusing to use your card is the 100% safe way to go when making naughty purchases, it may be impossible to buy anything online without one. Two ways you can avoid having your credit card company find out about these purchases are through gift cards and electronic payment services.

  • Gift Cards
    These are not store gift cards what one would normally purchase. The gift cards that you should get are those from Visa, which can usually be purchased online or at a major bank branch. The gift cards can be paid for with your credit card and they work the same as a prepaid credit or debit card. Since your name is not connected with the card, you can now use it to pay for your “dirty little secrets”.
  • E-commerce Payment Services
    The first option that comes into mind is Paypal. Online payment services may or may not be a viable method of paying for naughty stuff because it depends on how the company describes your purchase or whether or not they provide money payments and transfers to these risky businesses.

There are probably several other ways to hide your naughty credit card purchases but I do believe that gift cards is the best alternative other than strict cash. Cash is not dead and is still a powerful financial tool.

(Photo credit: Stitch Out Loud)

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19 Comments on this post


  1. Personal Finance Links (and on being NFL perfect) wrote:

    [...] of Prosperity posts how to hide naughty credit card purchases. This post deals [...]

    December 21st, 2009 at 11:12 am
  2. How And Why You Should Conceal Naughty Credit Card Purchases | Lifehacker Australia wrote:

    [...] How to Hide Naughty Credit Card Purchases [Realm of Prosperity] Tagged:credit cardsprivacy [...]

    December 30th, 2009 at 6:03 pm
  3. Money Hacks Carnival XCV - The "Tiger Woods We Hardly Knew Ye" Edition wrote:

    [...] presents How To Hide Naughty Credit Card Purchases posted at Realm of [...]

    January 12th, 2010 at 7:18 pm
  1. Len Penzo said:

    Thanks for the tip, Simon… I guess the Honeybee is going to have to dispense with the new lingerie from here on out – which is fine by me! ;-)


    Len Penzo dot Com

    December 15th, 2009 at 7:59 pm
  2. frugalhomeowner said:

    I did not know that buying risky things had this negative impact with visa. I guess they love the social profiling!

    December 16th, 2009 at 12:50 pm
  3. John DeFlumeri Jr said:

    That is just not fair that they use against us what we buy. Not fair!

    John DeFlumeri Jr

    December 18th, 2009 at 4:03 pm
  4. Simon Zhen said:

    Yeah. That’s life. Can’t catch a break from anything.

    December 18th, 2009 at 4:42 pm
  5. Christina said:

    I wasn’t aware of this not until now, thanks for sharing…now I need to be careful with my cash advances…

    December 18th, 2009 at 11:59 pm
  6. FinanciallySmart said:

    Good article and wonderful advice. I don’t understand why some persons will used their credit cards to expose their life style.

    December 19th, 2009 at 3:51 am
  7. steig said:

    If you want a good read (far better in audiobook actually) on this subject, pick up FEED by M. T. Anderson. Read some of the user reviews on Amazon. It is about a future where we all have the internet (the feed) implanted in our nervous systems, and how the corporate world manipulates society by watching every mental impulse. It is a dystopia, and it has been becoming more and more true over time… like the meat farms suggested by PETA. Read it and see. Maybe the future does not have to work out as it does in this book!

    In other news, another way to buy adult items is to buy them at a place that no one associates with adult items. Check out the Vermont Country Store for flannel nighties, nostalgic foods, and a fully stocked adult section under “Apothecary”. No fetish items, though, so if you want that the cash card seems the best plan.

    December 20th, 2009 at 3:42 pm
  8. Rich said:

    It’s not possible to pay for lottery tickets with a credit card. Not in the US.

    December 30th, 2009 at 6:48 pm
  9. Simon Zhen said:

    It is possible to pay for lottery tickets with your credit cards in certain states in the U.S.

    Many lottery vendors say you cannot use plastic because they don’t want to pay the credit card processing fees for small purchases such as a lottery ticket.

    December 30th, 2009 at 6:57 pm
  10. Me said:

    If you buy lingerie from someplace nice, you shouldn’t have to worry about it. I think the point is to avoid the trashier merchants (the type that deal in porn).

    January 2nd, 2010 at 2:56 pm
  11. Early Retirement Extreme said:

    There are also certain things you should not buy together at walmart, like a chain saw, plastic sheeting, and rubber gloves :-D

    January 2nd, 2010 at 4:17 pm
  12. Assata said:

    I think that’s a bit extreme and invasive that a credit card company would not only judge you based on ‘those’ types of purchases, but that your account would be flagged…even if you’re a regular paying customer and a good customer otherwise. Credit card companies should NOT have that much control.

    January 2nd, 2010 at 6:35 pm
  13. JJK said:

    I work in the credit card industry. While card companies do look at your transactions and will sometimes make decisions based on apparently ‘risky’ behavior, this is not not the norm and is extremely rare. The above article is beyond exaggerated. This is to say — buy all the lingerie you want on your credit card. Buying lingerie will not get you flagged. On the other hand, buying a lot of lingerie and then being late with your card payments will get you in trouble.

    January 2nd, 2010 at 8:52 pm
  14. Liz said:

    So if I get the occasional pedicure at my local nail place that makes me high risk? Or if I get a massage? That is ridiculous. What about hair salons? There is a distinct bias against women!

    January 6th, 2010 at 3:05 pm
  15. Tony Smit said:

    In the early days of the consumer use of the Internet – this would be 1996 or so – the pornography industry made big use of the Internet to sell their products – and thieves would steal credit card numbers so they could get those products without paying for them. People who never went on the Internet would find their credit card information had been stolen. That is why credit card companies keep a very wary eye on credit and debit charges emanating from “adult-content” websites; the possibility of chargebacks is extremely high.

    If you never use a certain credit/debit card number on the Internet for any purchases, then you have a very plausible argument against any fraudulent charges to that card number. You might want to pay for something online, let’s say you want to pay for a magazine subscription online

    The “prepaid” or “preloaded” or “gift” credit cards are the way to do this. Thieves cannot take more from these cards that the card has in its account, so you are protected that way. The balance remaining on the card can be used to purchase groceries at Wal-Mart or Target, thus completely using up the card balance.

    There is an additional cost to these cards; it is typically 3% to 10%, depending on the amount “stored” on the card. Or the fee is a flat $4.95, $5.95, etc and as high as $9.95 (the highest I have seen). I’ve seen them on sale at Walgreens and HEB in Austin, Texas.

    January 11th, 2010 at 5:44 pm
  16. James said:

    What are your sources for this article? I am actually quite surprised that because someone looks at porn on the internet they are less likely to get their interest rates lowered or a late fee removed. That seems insane but I guess I wouldn’t put anything past credit card companies these days,… as if THEY are in any position to judge someone’s purchased…

    January 9th, 2011 at 8:09 am


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