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17 Million Have Spied on Credit Card Statements

November 17, 2016         By: Mike Dautner

Approximately 17 million U.S. credit cardholders have looked in on the spending habits of someone with whom they share a credit card account, according to an intriguing new CreditCards.com report.

In fact, 20 percent of shared accountholders admit to sneaking a peek at another person’s spending (16 percent online and 12 percent on a paper statement).

Those percentages are down from June 2008, during the Great Recession, when CreditCards.com found 20 percent had used printed account statements to investigate another person’s spending, and 15 percent had done so online.

The study provided a plethora of interesting findings, some of which are quite surprising.

– The new survey found Republicans are almost twice as likely to spy on spending as Democrats (25 percent vs. 14 percent).

– The highest and lowest income brackets are equally likely to peek (24 percent). That includes annual household incomes of $75,000+ and below $30,000, respectively. Just 14 percent of those with incomes between $30,000 and $74,999 have checked on another accountholder’s spending.

– 17 percent currently say they feel closer to the other person because of the shared account, almost double the 9 percent who said so eight years ago. Hispanics (29%) were much more likely than whites (14 percent) to say this in the most recent survey.

– Arguments over shared credit card accounts have decreased from 19 percent in 2008 to 12 percent now.

– 48% of credit cardholders have shared an account with a partner or spouse, 10 percent have shared with an adult child and 5% with a child under 18 years of age.

– Parent/adult child credit card sharing is the most likely to result in arguments and canceled accounts.

“When you share an account with someone, it’s important to know what the other person is doing,” said Matt Schulz, CreditCards.com’s senior industry analyst. “Ideally, you’d talk frequently and openly with the other person, but if that doesn’t happen, checking in on your fellow accountholder’s spending can help you sniff out problems before they get out of control.”