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I want to buy a UK National Lottery ticket using my debit card but I don't want my bank to hold this against me - I don't want to ruin my credit report. Am I right to worry about this?

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    In the US I know that purchases to certain stores do not influence credit score one way or another. I am not sure if the same system is used in the UK. – Alex B Aug 1 '15 at 16:43
  • Nope, I have done the same once for a month or so and it didn't affect my credit score or report. But I have had good credit, since ever. Not sure if it affects if you have blemishes on your credit report. I would for sure call up my bank or one of the credit rating agencies just to be sure. – DumbCoder Aug 1 '15 at 18:45
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    @gnasher729, do you have a cite for that? There are very particular things that are allowed to be noted on credit reports and as far as I am aware, lottery purchases are not one of them. (See eg which.co.uk/money/credit-cards-and-loans/guides/… ) – Vicky Aug 2 '15 at 10:56
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    It would be hard to draw a line. Would they start docking credit if they noticed you spend too much on McDonalds and run a higher risk of getting a stroke? – karancan Aug 3 '15 at 19:55
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    I deleted my answer, as I didn't notice the UK tag; I'm not sure about credit reporting laws there, in the US holding something like that against you would be illegal. – Benjamin Chambers Aug 3 '15 at 22:33
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+50

Six years ago I heard a story on US public radio which resulted in an article, Credit Card Big Brother

To summarize, the credit score might not be directly impacted, but the issuing bank doesn't like to see lottery tickets, retreading tires, cash advances, hookers/strip joints, booze in large quantity.

In my opinion, the data mining has gotten out of control. But the original story really got me thinking.

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  • While I listen to Marketplace regularly, I do so less to find out facts and more to learn what half-researched information is being passed on to an uninformed public by partially-informed news media. True, Marketplace is generally more partially-informed than, say, CNN, but just because one hears it on their show does not mean it's true. (I gave up sending them errata emails around 2009 and simply stopped donating to them.) – dg99 Aug 24 '15 at 22:20
  • @dg99 - excellent point, the fact checking might lag quite a bit at NPR. Such stories do get you thinking, and I wouldn't be surprised to see this actually implemented in the future. – JTP - Apologise to Monica Aug 30 '15 at 11:59
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I don't think you need to worry about this for two reasons:

  • National Lottery is the state lottery, and would hardly be considered "dodgy" activity.
  • Data protection laws would forbid a bank releasing your bank account transactions to third parties - so they cannot report what you spend your money on to anyone without your explicit permission. Even the police need a warrant to get a look at your bank account transactions.

Credit agencies such as Experian can only collect information relating to your debts (including when you ASK for debt), but you have to give permission (usually a condition of borrowing).

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I don't quite share the confidence of @Corone's answer that data protection laws would mean your bank couldn't share details of your transactions with credit reference agencies - they already get an awful lot of latitude to share information without your consent

However, I do know that as a matter of practice they don't do this. It's easy to check what's listed on your credit report by applying for a copy from the three reference agencies (CallCredit, Equifax and Experian) and you'll see that what they hold related to your spending basically amounts to a list of your accounts, the amount you've borrowed on each, and your record of paying on time.

There's some information on how the credit reference agencies operate on the ICO's website.

In theory the place you have your account might directly look at your spending in more detail if you apply for credit directly with them. Also, when applying for a mortgage with anyone they will ask for details of your outgoings, and you would be obliged to answer honestly.

However in both cases it's highly unlikely that a small amount of money spent on lottery tickets would cause any problems. If you have very large outgoings on gambling - e.g. amounting to hundreds of pounds per month - whether on the lottery or other kinds of betting, that might be a different matter.

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  • +1 for the mentioning the amount being spent as a potential factor – Corone Sep 1 '15 at 8:36
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Having worked for a UK retail bank for many years I can assure you that nobody cares about individual transactions on your account as long as they don't take you overdrawn, or have to be returned (bounced) etc. It certainly won't affect your credit rating.

The only issue might be if you were suspected on money laundering or some other illegal activity, that would then get escalated via the relevant channels, but even that wouldn't get near to affecting your credit rating.

In the UK there is legislation that forces any bank employee into reporting suspicious activity.

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