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Home > Financial Glossary

Financial Glossary


The most favourable credit rating that can be assigned to a borrower’s debts. This indicates that the risk of a borrower defaulting is minimal.


A situation wherein the rightful owner of a property, office or title has not been decided.


This term stands for Automated Clearing House. This is a form of payment that allows billers and payees to conduct business electronically with funds being transferred from one location to another. This system also deals with a number of government issued checks as well as payroll checks.


Comparable to bankruptcy for US corporations, administration is an insolvency procedure that allows distressed companies to continue operating under supervision to allow them to work out of their financial difficulty.


The annual equivalent rate is the interest that is paid out on a financial instrument. Most commonly it is associated with bank accounts. It is calculated by adding a one to the gross interest rate divided by the number of times a year that interest is paid on the instrument, times the number of times a year interest is paid minus one.


The Annual percentage rate calculates the annualised interest rate rather than a monthly fee or rate.

Arrangement Fee

Is typically used in the realm of real estate. It is the fee that is assessed for the setting up of a loan, and must be paid before the loan monies are dispersed. It can also be applied to the legal profession in meaning that the fees are not billable per hour at a set rate, but rather a different arrangement for the payment of fees for the legal services are set forth before services are rendered.


In a general sense, arrears means to have overdue debt, or owing on a debt. This is especially true if the debt in question was set up to have preset dates by which the borrower was to pay the debt off. While this may bring a negative meaning to the word, arrears can also explain the nature of payments for a debt or bill that were made in a tardy fashion.


Something that provides income or some other value to their owner.


A form of economic policy that strives to reduce government debt. Austerity can be achieved through taxes, reduction in spending, and myriad other ways.

BACS Payment

BACS stands for Banker’s Automated Clearing Services. This is a means by which financial transactions are performed in an electronic format. These transactions can be either debits (or withdrawals), or credits (or deposits) to a bank account. These typically take 72 hours for the transaction to be fully cleared and credited.

Bad Credit

Bad credit is the determination that a person has adverse reports from companies and utilities that have been determined based on their negligence to pay off debts that they owe.


Providing financial relief to a struggling borrower. It can be achieved through direct loans, guaranteeing a borrower’s debts etc.


In the financial sector a balance is reflected in either a negative amount or a positive amount. If the balance for a company or a corporation, or even in an individual banking account is negative, then the individual or entity owes money. If the balance for these entities shows a positive balance, then the entity has money at their disposal for ready use.

Bank of England

This is the main financial institution in the United Kingdom. It is the place where currency is issued, and monetary policies are overseen. This is the bank that the government (or crown) uses, and it is the officiating body in setting the United Kingdom’s interest rates.


A legal status of an individual or partnership that cannot repay the debts it owes to its creditors. It involves asset valuation and possible liquidation, in order to repay creditors.

Base Rate

The benchmark interest rate set by the Bank of England. It is the overnight interest rate that it charges to Banks it lends to.

Basis Point

One hundred basis points equate to a percentage point. For example, if there is an interest rate increase of 50 basis points, the interest rate would increase by 0.50%.


The British Bankers’ Association represents the major banks in the UK, in addition to large foreign banks in London. The BBA sets the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR).

Beacon Score

A type of instrument that is used to determine the credit-worthiness of an individual. This can affect the amount of interest that a borrower pays on a loan, and whether credit will be extended to them.

Bear Market

A market condition where security prices are falling, and the resulting pessimism causes a general decline in the stock market over a period of time. This is not to be confused with a market correction, which generally lasts a short period of time, generally less than 2 months.


An international organisation of central banks which act as a bank for central banks. It is located in Basel, Switzerland.


Colloquially considered an IOU, a bond is a debt investment in which an investor loans money to an entity and the entity repays the interest to the holder of the bond. Bonds are routinely issued by governments, banks, and companies.


The fast-growing economies of Brazil, Russia, India, and China.

Bridging Loan

This is a short term loan that allows for continual cash flow while permanent financing is located, or an existing obligation is removed. These loans typically carry a high interest rate and need some form of collateral like real estate or inventory to cover the loan.

Budget Planner

This is a means by which individuals and corporate entities set forth a schedule by which they intend to pay bills, make revenue or pay off existing debt. It usually entails a timetable where the individual determines specific dollar amounts to go for specific costs and needs.

Bull Market

The opposite of a bear market, in a bull market, general market prices are on the rise which fuels consumer optimism over a period of time.


While it can have numerous nuanced meanings depending on the context, it generally refers to financial resources that are available to use.

Capital Adequacy Ratio

An equation that determines the ratio of a bank’s capital to its risk. This measurement determines the resiliency of a bank and its ability to absorb losses. The BIS sets international minimum capital adequacy ratios, and if banks fail to meet this standard, they are required to be recapitalised.

Capitulation (market)

When a security has depreciated sufficiently to warrant investors giving up on the security, which results in a bottoming out of the security.

Card Verification Code

It is a numeric code that is built directly into the card that the consumer uses. This is to ensure the security of the card and prevent fraudulent purchases.

Cash Advance

Funds attained through a credit card or banking institution that are easy to obtain, but have a high interest rate. Amount of cash that can be acquired is typically based on the credit rating of the individual.


The Consumer Credit Act of 1974 requires businesses that engage in lending money to consumers, offer goods or services on credit, or engage in other credit activities, to be licensed by the OFT. It also contains numerous provisions that regulate business consumer credit licenses, business practices, and consumer rights.

County Court Judgment (CCJ)

Legal decisions that are handed down by county courts. If there is a monetary settlement, it is entered with the Registrar of County Court Judgments.


The Consumer Finance Association is a major trade association that represents the short-term lending industry in the UK.

Checking Account

A bank account that allows an individual or an corporation to write instruments that can be presented to financial institutions for payment of funds.

Clearing House Automated Payment System (CHAPS)

These are payments that are made through an electronic format. These payments can be either payroll or governmental payments or payments for services and products. Typically available within 72 hours.


This can be personal possessions, real estate, or inventory from a business that is used a security to secure a loan or mortgage on a home or business. Collateral can also be demanded for personal loans, and loans that are used for educational or debt consolidation.

Commercial Paper

An unsecured promissory note with a fixed maturity no longer than 270 days. These loans can be bought and traded by banks and investors.

Competition Commission (CC)

Replacing the Monopolies and Mergers Commission in 1999, the Competition Commission is a non-departmental public body that governs markers under competition law in the United Kingdom. Due to the Enterprise Act of 2002, the CC now has the ability to enforce rather than simply make recommendations to the government.

Consumer Credit License

Certification that allows financial and banking institutions to lend money to and offering financing to the general public.


The Consumer Price Index is a sampling of goods and services from the economy, and is one of the most widely used measures of inflation in a country.

Credit Check

A check performed on the financial status of individuals parties in a monetary transaction.

Credit Crunch

An economic condition where banks and lenders reduce their lending due to fears that borrowers will be unable to repay their debt obligations.

Credit Rating

The assessment of the credit worthiness of an individual. This has direct bearing on the debt default probability of an individual in a financial transaction.

Credit Reference Agency

A report on the credibility of an individual that is collaborated by an agency that is qualified to deem the credit worthiness of that individual.

Credit Union

A financial cooperative that provides credit and other financial services at competitive rates to its members.

Data Protection Act

Law that deals with the processing of information on individual, living people. Drafted in 1968 seeks to protect personal information.

Debt Restructuring

An arrangement where a borrower renegotiates the terms of their debt, usually in order to increase the amount of time they have to repay the remaining debt.


The failure to make a payment of interest or principal on a debt security.


An excess of liabilities over assets, of losses over profits, or of expenditure over income.


The reverse of inflation, there is a general decrease in the prices of goods and services across an economy.


A dependent is one who relies on others for their basic daily needs and that receives all of their support (food, clothing, shelter) from another.

Direct Deposit

A deposit of money straight from a source into a bank account that is initiated by the payer.

Disability Living Allowance

This is a tax free stipend that is issued to adults and children in the UK who have long term illnesses or disabilities.

Effective Annual Rate (EAR)

The effective annual rate is an annual rate of interest on an investment when that interest is compounded more than once a year.

Early Settlement

The transfer of a security or cash that happens before a prior agreed upon date. Closing a deal before a scheduled time.


An acronym for, ‘earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation.’ EBITDA is an indicator of a company’s financial performance, and is essentially equal to net income with interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation added back into. It is a useful way to compare the financial performance between companies because it eliminates the effects of financing and accounting decisions on a company’s bottom-line.

Effective Exchange Rate

An index that determines the relative strength of a currency in relation to a basket of other currencies.

Economic Capital

The amount of capital that a firm requires to stay financially solvent. It is an internal measurement that the firm makes to determine the level of capital to support any borne risk.


An acronym for the European Monetary System.

Enterprise Value

Commonly used as an alternative measure to a company’s market capitalisation, it is calculated as market capitalisation + debt + minority interest + preferred shares – total cash and cash equivalents. The enterprise value of a company is often considered a more accurate takeover price than market capitalisation because it takes into account debt.


In finance, equity is the ownership in any asset after you subtract debt owed by it.


This is the act of acquiring more time or more leverage on a financial instrument. Having a longer period of time to close deals or gain interest.


The Financial Conduct Authority is a quasi-governmental agency that regulates financial firms that provide services to consumers.


A person that has a legal or ethical relationship of trust with another.

Financial Industry Standards Association

FISA was founded in 1988. Regulates rates and advertisements. Acts as bridge between financial sector and the general public.

Financial Ombudsman Service

Established in 2001 as a consequence of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, this ombudsman mediates disputes between consumers and UK-based financial service providers.

Financial Intermediary

An entity that facilitates a financial transaction between two parties.

Fiscal Policy

A government’s spending and taxing for the purpose of influencing the economy.


The Financial Services Authority was a governmental regulatory body that oversaw and regulated all providers of financial services in the United Kingdom. The FSA was abolished by the U.K government in 2018 in the wake of banking industry problems and its duties have been assumed by new regulatory bodies.

Fixed Rate

Fixed rate loans are loans with an interest rate that remains fixed over time. This allows the borrower to predict payments over the course of the loan, as opposed to variable rate loans, which have interest rates that change over time.


Under the land law in England and Wales, a seller is not legally required to commit to an offer on the sale of their property until the contracts are exchanged. ‘Gazumping’ is a term that refers to a seller accepting a better subsequent offer even though they have already accepted a previous offer.


Gross Domestic Product is the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period of time.


In accounting, this is a concept that is the value of an intangible asset that has a quantifiable business value, such as a firm’s reputation.

Gross Estate

Commonly used for federal income tax purposes, this is the total value of all property and assets held by an individual at this time of his or her death. This value does not reflect any liabilities such as debt and taxes.

Gross Income

Gross income is the total income earned before taxes and deductions. For most workers, gross income is largely comprised of pre-tax wages. For business owners, gross income is primarily business income minus expenses.


A guarantor is an individual or entity that guarantees something. In finance, guarantors agree to assume loan obligations or debt should another party default on obligations. Guarantors can assist in situations where the primary borrower is not creditworthy enough to secure financing.


A description of a situation where an individual or entity uses aggressive business practices to force a situation in a specific direction.


An informal designation for an employment recruiter.


A financial transaction that reduces an investment’s exposure to risk.

Hedge Fund

A hedge fund is a portfolio of investments that is managed in a high-risk manner in order to make large and fast market gains. Hedge funds are often private partnerships and require significant financial resources to join.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)

The HMRC is a non-ministerial department responsible for the collection of taxes, amongst other regulatory initiatives.

Identity Theft

A situation where an individual pretends to be someone else by assuming that person’s identity, usually for a nefarious purpose.


Independent financial advisers are financial services professionals who offer advice and recommendations to investors. These advisers generally work independently from banks, insurance agencies etc. and advise clients on investments, mortgages, tax issues and other financial matters.

Import VAT

A value-added-tax (VAT) that is applied to imported goods.

Income Protection Insurance (IPI)

A type of insurance policy that pays benefits to policyholders who are unable to work due to redundancy, illness, or accident.


General increase in the prices of goods and services across an economy.


The state of a borrower’s assets not being sufficient to repay all debts.


An individual voluntary arrangement is an alternative to personal bankruptcy. The IVA serves as a formal proposal for repayment of creditors. Although an IVA is an alternative to bankruptcy, bankruptcy may still be declared after an IVA takes effect.

Interest Rate

An interest rate is the agreed upon rate of interest a creditor charges a borrower when lending money or assets. Lower rates over shorter terms are better for the borrower, as the amount of interest charged to the principal is reduced.


Intermediaries are financial institutions that connect separate parties in a financial transaction. In the case of a bank, the bank serves as the intermediary between those depositing funds and those seeking to withdraw those funds for lending purposes.

Introductory Interest Rate

An introductory interest rate is a special and usually temporary interest rate charged to a borrower in the beginning stages of a loan. These rates are usually below-market and are used as an incentive for borrowers.

Joint Liability

A legal situation where more than one person shares a responsibility for a debt, claim, or judgment.

Joint Venture

An agreement between two or more parties to create a new entity in which revenues, expenses and assets are shared.


In a legal context, a judgment is the formal decision of a court.


The system of courts (judges, magistrates, and tribunal members) who interpret and apply the law with regard to legal matters.

Junk Bond

A high-yielding, high-risk bond that generally carries a poor credit rating.

Key Rate

A particular interest rate which determines interbank lending rates as well as the cost of credit for borrowers.


A situation where a cheque is written when there is insufficient funds in one’s bank account to cover the cheque. This often happens accidentally, but there are also criminals who do this as a form of check fraud.


An acronym for ‘key performance indicator.’ KPIs are subjective, quantifiable measurements (that are often industry-specific) that try to capture the success factors of an organisation.


The owner of a piece of real estate which is rented or leased to an individual or entity, known as the tenant.

Legal Ombudsman

An ombudsman service that was created by the Legal Services Act 2007, it is a free service that gathers and investigates complaints regarding lawyers who operate in England and Wales.

Leave of the Court

The granting of a legal permission to take some action by a court.


A financial obligation listed in a company’s accounts.


How easy something is to buy and sell with relative easy.

Loan Agreement

A loan agreement is a contract between a lender and a borrower which sets out the terms under which the money or assets will be borrowed. Loan agreements are usually written but can also be verbal — though verbal agreements can be trickier to enforce.

Loan Shark

A loan shark is a person or entity offering non-standard loans typically at very high interest rates. Although predatory lenders are sometimes called loan sharks, the term originally was associated with underground, often illegal lending practices.

Magistrates Court

In England and Wales, this is the court where all criminal proceedings originate. There are currently over 360 magistrates’ courts in England and Wales.

Mala Fides

A legal term derived from the Latin meaning for ‘bad faith.’


An acronym for, ‘market advocacy non-governmental organisation.’

Minimum Payment

A minimum payment is the smallest payment a borrower may make under the terms of a loan agreement. If a borrower does not meet the minimum payment threshold, late fees and penalties may be assessed.

Ministry of Justice (MOJ)

Formed in May 2007, the MOJ has legal responsibility for the courts, prisons, human rights, and a host of other regulatory responsibilities.

Monetary Policy

Action taken by a monetary authority to influence the money supply or interest rates, and promote economic stability.


An acronym for, ‘non-accelerating inflation rate of unemployment.’

National Insurance

A tax payable by both employed and self-employed individuals on their earnings. Their contributions build up entitlements to certain state benefits, including the state pension.


An acronym for, ‘non-disclosure agreement.’ An NDA is a legal contract between two or more parties that identifies confidential material, knowledge, or information that can be disclosed, but wishes to restrict to any third parties not involved in the business transaction.

Negative Equity

A situation in which the value of an asset used to secure a loan has become less than the outstanding balance on the loan.

Net Income

Net income is the amount of profit a company earns after adjustments are made for expenses, depreciation and other factors. For an individual, net income is what remains after taxes and deductions are removed from gross income.


An acronym for, ‘non-disclosure agreement.’ An NDA is a legal contract between two or more parties that identifies confidential material, knowledge, or information that can be disclosed, but wishes to restrict to any third parties not involved in the business transaction.

Notice of Default

A notice of default is given to a borrower who has failed to meet the terms of the loan agreement. Generally if a borrower fails to repay the loan in a timely fashion, creditors will seek foreclosure or other remedies.

Offset Mortgage

An offset mortgage is a flexible mortgage that allows the borrower to use a traditional mortgage in unison with a bank account. The balance of the mortgage is offset by the balance of the savings account. This allows borrowers to save money on interest.


The Office of Fair Trading is a not-for-profit government department established by the Fair Trading Act of 1973. The OFT seeks to prohibit unfair trading practices that adversely affects consumers.


Outgoings are costs that are incurred regularly. Outgoings can represent the ongoing operational expenses of an organisation or property owner.


A situation in which money is withdrawn from a bank account and the available balance goes below zero.

Payday Loan

A short-term, unsecured loan that individuals take out to alleviate financial difficulties until their next payday.

Payment Holiday

A grace period where borrowers are absolved from normal payments without penalty, though the principal owed is generally not affected.


Phishing is a method by which unscrupulous operators are able to gain access to accounts by means of deception and social engineering. Posing as someone else to gain access to a computer or financial account is a common phishing tactic.


A PIN is a personal identification number used to authenticate access to an account. These numeric passwords help ensure the safety of financial accounts, online data and other sensitive material.

Post-Dated Cheque

Cheques that have been written for a date in the future. However, in the UK this carries no legal weight and such a cheque can be cashed before the due date.

Pre-paid Card

These are cards that can be used in a manner similar to credit cards, except, before being activated or used, the holder must deposit funds in the card account.


This term covers the capital amount of debt, excluding any interest.

Proof of Income

In the United Kingdom, the P60 form is issued by employers to employees each year and lists the taxable income deductions made by the payee for income tax and national insurance purposes. The P60 is similar to the W-2 form used in the United States.


Occurring at three-month intervals.


This is the price of a security that is currently fixed by a stock exchange market maker.

Rebuild Cost

It is the cost of rebuilding houses and flats to determine the value of the property and insurance requirements.


A period of economic downturn, indicated by two consecutive quarters of a falling GDP.

Replacement Income

This is a method where a lump sum of money can be turned into an annual income. There are numerous programs for replacing income such as pensions, payment for health reasons and other matters.


A rollover is the interested paid or earned for holding a position overnight on pairs of currency from different countries. It is a method whereby the investor takes a chance that the interest rate on the currency he buys is greater than the rate on the currency sold, which results in a profit. If the reverse happens, then the investor suffers a loss.

Section 75

This is a portion of the Consumer Credit Act of the United Kingdom and provides extra protection to persons making purchases with a credit or debit cards. Under the terms of Section 75, the credit card company is both, jointly and severally liable for any breach of contract or misrepresentation by the company accepting the credit card as payment.

Security Interest

When collateral is promised, usually to obtain a loan, it is called security interest. In this case, the party borrowing the funds provides the lender with a security interest on various assets, which can be reposed if payments are not made.


An economic condition in which the economy is not growing and prices are declining.


This is a term associated with credit cards, debit cards and identification cards. The term refers to act of pulling the card, with has a magnetic strip on the back, through a reader to make a purchase with a credit card.


A tax placed on imports or exports.

Terms and Conditions

Stipulations that must be met in certain contractual agreements, business transactions and other similar activities.


A trustee is a person or member of a board given control or powers of administration of property held in trust. The trustee has a legal obligation to run the trust for the purposes that were specified in the trust agreement.

Uncleared Balance

This situation occurs when attempting to balance an account, it is discovered that all the expenditures made against that account through checks or other methods have not yet cleared the financial system, thus resulting in the uncleared balance, which can only be cleared once all the obligations against the account have been processed through the system.


The process that financial entities use to assess the eligibility of a customer to receive their products or services.

Unemployment Benefit

This benefit is paid to persons who are unemployed and are seeking employment.

Unsecured Credit

Credit that is extended without collateral or without the ability to attach specified borrowed assets in the event of a default is viewed as unsecured. Credit cards are one example of unsecured credit. They are issued assuming the customer’s ability is adequate to afford payments for purchases made on the card.


The estimated value of something’s worth, as may be determined by an appraiser or other means.

Variable Interest Rate

This type of interest rate is levied on a loan where the underlying base rate or index, frequently changes, causing monthly payment to increase.

Variable-rate Mortgage

This is a type of home loan where the interest rate is not fixed for the duration of the mortgage and therefore, can be adjusted at different times during the life of the loan.


Known as value-added tax, it is a form of consumption tax that places a tax whenever value is added at a stage of production.

Working Capital

The working capital is cash that is available for day-to-day operations of a business, or other organisation. The amount of working capital is a means of determining a company’s ability to meet short-term obligations. Working capital can come from net income, long-term loans and other sources.

World Bank

An international financial institution that finances development projects for developing countries.


Used as the fifth letter of a Nasdaq stock symbol to indicate that the listing is a mutual fund.


Year-to-date is the period of time from the start of the calendar year up to the current date.

Zero Balance

This is usually a checking account which maintains a balance of zero. Whenever the owner of the account needs to write a check, money will be transferred into the account for the exact sum of the check that will be written. Once the check is cashed, the account balance returns to the zero balance.

Zero-Sum Game

A game where one player can only gain at the expense of another player.

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