thinkmoney's banking terminology - our glossary of definitions
Published 8 December 2011 by Matthew Plant
Some of the most common banking terminology, with straightforward descriptions and some useful links to more information.
Life isn't always straightforward when it comes to personal finances. Banks and other financial companies often use words that aren't too familiar to most people. That's why we've put together our glossary of definitions - to make all that banking terminology more understandable.
Software that you put on your computer so it can detect and remove any viruses. It's an important part of using internet banking - it's vital you do everything you can to safeguard your finances, from protecting your computer and keeping your PIN secret to informing your bank if you spot anything suspicious (like a payment / withdrawal you don't recognise).
APR (Annual Percentage Rate)
The amount of money that someone earns on their savings or pays on their debts in a year. It's shown as a percentage, making it easy to compare what different companies are offering.
Another word for a cash machine / hole in the wall. ATM stands for Automated Teller Machine.
A system used to transfer funds within the UK. The money should arrive in the payee's account within four working days. There is no fee for this. BACS stands for Bankers Automated Clearing Service.
The amount of money in your account. Of course, thinkmoney customers have two accounts, which means two balances: one for their Salaries Account and one for their Card Account.
When you move a debt from one credit card to another. Typically comes with a balance transfer fee of around 3%.
Base Rate / Bank Rate
A rate set by the Bank of England. Helps banks / building societies decide how much interest to pay on their customers' accounts. Also helps lenders decide how much interest to charge on loans, mortgages and other forms of credit.
Bounced payment charge
A charge which a bank can impose if a payment 'bounces' (if there's not enough money in your account to cover it). If you're a thinkmoney Current Account customer, we won't charge you for bounced payments.
If you're a thinkmoney customer, this is the account for your 'spending money', which you use your debit card to access. All the funds in this account can be safely spent without worrying that you'll run out of cash for your essential bills (like your mortgage / rent payment and utility bills).
Many shops, restaurants & pubs will let you get cashback when you use a debit card to pay (so you don't have to go to a cash machine). If you buy something for £15 and get £30 cashback, for example, £45 will simply be deducted from your Card Account.
A system used to transfer funds within the UK. There is a £20 charge for this, but the money should arrive in the payee's account on the same day you tell us to do this (or the following working day if you instruct us after 1pm). CHAPS stands for Clearing House Automated Payment System.
Chip & PIN
A way of proving your ID to authorise a purchase - when you buy something with your card, you'll have to present your card and input your PIN (Personal Identification Number) to show you're entitled to do so (instead of providing a signature).
A card which lets you buy things online and in shops, restaurants & pubs, and get 'cash advances' at cash machines. Not the same as a debit card - with a credit card, you're basically borrowing the money. You can pay this back at any speed you like (as long as you make at least the minimum payment each month), but the more slowly you repay it, the more interest you'll pay.
A rating which shows lenders how you've handled your finances in the past. Can be very important if you're thinking of borrowing money or opening a bank account. More on understanding - and improving - your credit rating .
A card which lets you withdraw cash from cash machines, buy things online, and buy things and get cashback in shops, restaurants & pubs. Not the same as a credit card - with a debit card, the money comes out of your account straight away, so you're not getting into debt.
Money paid into your Salaries account (in cash, by cheque, or by bank transfer).
A way of paying regular bills - you give the payee (the company / person you're paying) permission to take money from your account on a regular basis. Some things cost more or less each month, which is why the payee is able to change the amount they take.
The amount of money that someone earns on their savings or pays on their debts. Usually shown as an APR (Annual Percentage Rate), which shows how much the interest would be in a year.
Internet banking / online banking
Banking from your own PC. For a thinkmoney customer, this means you can check your balances, amend your payments, make a one-off payment and much more. For more on our online account management service, click here.
An account that belongs to more than one person - in most cases, a couple who live at the same address.
An expert who's there to help thinkmoney customers. They'll make sure payments are made on time, provide advice, answer questions, and contact you if it looks like there might not be enough in your account to cover all your payments. Click here for more on our Money Manager service.
A sum of money that you're allowed to borrow from your bank or building society, basically letting your account balance drop below zero. The thinkmoney Current Account does not have an overdraft facility - the focus is on helping you stay you out of debt and avoid unexpected charges.
The person / company who receives a payment.
Fraudsters send 'phishing' emails to millions of people, trying to trick them into disclosing private information, like user names & passwords. The email might, for example, tell you to update your details by clicking on a link - but that link would go to the fraudster's site, where your details could be stolen. Details are often sold to other criminals, who can use them to 'steal' your identity.
Note that thinkmoney will never ask you to confirm your details like this in an email - if you receive an email of this kind, please inform us.
For more on internet security, click here to read the thinkmoney guide to Mobile and Online Banking .
Banking over the phone. For a thinkmoney customer, this can mean talking to one of our Money Managers or using our Express phone service to do things like check your balances and see details of the last eight transactions. More on telephone account services here.
Personal Identification Number - your secret number that lets you use your debit card. You should never tell anyone your number.
If you're a thinkmoney customer, this is the account that your money goes into. We keep enough of it in your Salaries Account to pay all your essential bills - and move all the rest into your Card Account, so you know you can spend it without worrying that you're using money you need for those bills.
Banking with your mobile phone. For a thinkmoney customer, this means you can check your balances, request changes to your account, and see details of the last five transactions. We'll also text you to tell you when something has happened (like your income arriving in your account). More on SMS services here.
A six-digit code that identifies your bank's branch. You'll need this when you're arranging payments.
A way to pay regular bills - you arrange for money to go to the payee (the company / person you're paying) on a regular basis. Unlike Direct Debits, the amount can only be changed by you.