London: It is a common practice for partners to tell 'harmless' lies to avoid revealing how they spend their money, but doing so is now equivalent to cheating on your partner.

A new poll has revealed that as many as 30 per cent of Americans commit 'financial infidelity' that sometimes leads to separation or divorce.

The Harris Interactive online poll of 2,019 adults showed 31 percent of American couples who have combined finances were not truthful about issues such as hiding cash or a bank account or about debt or earnings.

"Financial infidelity may be the new normal," the daily quoted Forbes.com, which commissioned the survey with the National Endowment for Financial Education, as saying.

One-third of respondents also said they have been deceived, and both sexes lie to their partners about money in equal numbers.

"These indiscretions cause significant damage to the relationship," said Ted Beck, of the National Endowment for Financial Education.

Of those affected by financial infidelity, 16 percent said the deception led to a divorce and 11 percent said it caused a separation.

Sixty-seven percent said it led to an argument and for 42 percent it lessened trust in the relationship.

According to Forbes.com, the most common lie was hiding cash at 58 percent.

Fifty-four percent of respondents admitted hiding a minor purchase, 30 percent hid a bill, 16 percent did not disclose a major purchase and 15 percent hid a bank account.

(Agencies)