Can I delete my transaction history in online banking or apps?

You can't delete your transaction history, but there are other ways you can keep your purchases private.

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If you have transactions you want to hide from other people, you're not alone. Research from Finder in 2021 found that more than 1 in 4 Australians have lied about their finances or been lied to by a partner.

But is it actually possible to hide your credit card transactions once you've made the purchase? The short answer is no. For regulatory and compliance reasons, bank statements record all credit card transactions to protect you from fraud. For better or for worse, this means that it’s impossible to hide or delete transactions from your history once they’re processed.

So, let's take a look at the key details and what you can do to keep your transaction history private.

What shows up on my credit card statement?

First thing's first: If someone sees your transaction history, they won't always be able to tell what you’ve paid for. The main transaction details are the name of the merchant and the transaction value – not a description of the transaction. For example, if you bought something online and wanted to keep the details secret, no-one would be able to tell what it was by looking at your credit card statement.

The 2 most Googled questions on this topic

Will the bank judge my purchases?
No, you have nothing to worry about as long as your purchases are legal.

How do I delete my transaction history?
Unfortunately, you can't.

Tips to keep your transactions private

While you can’t delete your transaction history, here are some ways you can shop with more privacy in the future:

  • Set up a separate account

If there are some transactions you just don't want anyone else to know about, getting a separate account with a debit card or credit card means you can keep all the information private. Some banks also give you ways to hide individual accounts on the Internet and/or mobile banking to help protect your privacy.

For example, CommBank says you can "open another bank account solely in your name that's hidden from your NetBank account to maintain your privacy". And Westpac lets you group or hide accounts in either the app or Internet banking, but notes that "whatever you hide in one [service] will appear in the other".

  • Use cash

This may sound like a no-brainer, but it's effective. Next time you want to hide a purchase, pay with cash instead for totally traceless anonymity.

  • Use PayPal

PayPal can give you some degree of privacy for your account statements, as the details will show "PayPal" as the first part of the description. But the merchant's name is also usually included, so you won't always get more privacy.

Your PayPal account also shows the list of merchants you have made transactions with, so make sure you keep your PayPal password extra secure. You could also look at the PayPal Rewards Card – a credit card that lets you shop with both PayPal merchants and anywhere Visa is accepted. As the card is linked to your PayPal account, its transactions will only show up there.

  • Use a gift card or prepaid card

If you buy a gift card, only that purchase will show up on your regular statement. So any transaction you make with the gift card will be completely private. You can buy a mix of gift cards from major stores, including Coles and Woolworths, with different brands and ways to spend them.

Just keep in mind that some gift cards can only be loaded with money once. If you want to keep using the card and adding money to it, look for a prepaid card instead.

  • Opt out of paper statements

If you’re still getting paper statements, contact your bank or provider and ask them to switch to electronic statements instead. You'll then get statements via email and through online banking – so if your account details are safe, your transactions will be private. An added bonus: Electronic statements are considered more environmentally friendly and can sometimes help you avoid fees.

Can I hide or delete transactions in Apple Pay, Google Pay or Samsung Pay?

The short answer is "not really", but here are some more details for each app:

  • Apple Pay: If you use Apple Pay, you can turn off transaction history to hide transactions in the app – but they will still show up on your credit card or debit card statement.
  • Google Pay: With Google Pay in Australia, there's currently no way to hide or turn off transactions. There are details online for how to do it in other countries, but they didn't work when Finder tested it in Australia.
  • Samsung Pay: Removing a payment card from your account will delete all of its payment information, but that's the only option.

Another important detail: Even if you hide transactions through an app, they will be listed on your credit card or bank account statement.

It's impossible to delete transactions from your credit card statement or any other bank statement. But you can keep them secret if you have your own account and keep your login details private.

If you’re trying to cover up mounting debt, you might want to consider saving on interest payments with an interest free credit card that offers 0% on purchases or consolidating and paying off your debts with a balance transfer credit card. And if you need help or advice about your situation now, call the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 to speak to a financial counsellor for free.

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