Glossary of terms

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Adjustable Rate (or Variable Rate)

A rate that will change over the term of the loan. It’s the opposite to a fixed rate.


Repaying principal during the life of a loan, instead of repaying everything at maturity. The loan is repaid in instalments, which can be weekly, monthly, quarterly, each biannually, or annually.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

Total yearly cost of a loan expressed by the rate of interest paid. The APR includes the base interest rate and any other add-on loan fees and costs. The APR is generally higher than the rate of interest that the lender quotes.


Any item of economic value owned by an individual, such as a house, car, or financial assets; pension fund, saving account, bonds or stocks.


An individual who signs an agreement recognising a liability or obligation to repay a loan under the defined terms of the agreement (also called a debtor).


Knowing your income and expenses, as well as setting out objectives such as saving.


Assets given in guarantee by a borrower to secure a loan or other credit, and subject to seizure in the event of default. Also called: security.

Compound Interest

Where interest is added to the principal and then also generates more interest. Simply put, this is interest that pays interest on interest.

Consumer Debt

Debt that generally carries a high interest rate, as it is only/mostly secured on the borrower’s honesty and capacity to repay. Some consumer loans can have a tangible collateral such as cars, but as these assets loose value over time, the interest rate will remain high.


It is an instrument between a lender and borrower for which a borrower receives money now and agrees to repay the lender later. Also called: debt.

Credit Card

Payment device that allows a consumer to accumulate debt, generally at a high rate.

Credit Delinquency

Not repaying on time or at all. Also called default.

Credit Report

A report which contains information about someone’s credit history.

Credit Score

The measure of a borrower’s credit risk calculated from a credit report using a standardised formula.

Credit Scoring

A technique using a standardised formula used to determine whether to give credit to a borrower and at what rate.


A creditor is a lender, person or organisation which provides loans to borrowers.


An agreement between a lender and a borrower which recognises that the borrower owes money to the lender, in the form of a loan, which will have to be repaid by a specific date.

Debt Consolidation

A loan used to repay all or most outstanding loans, and generally bearing a lower interest.

Debit Card

Payment device used instead of cash, that generally does not allow the user to take on debt.


An individual who signs a promissory note and assumes liability to repay under the terms of that note. Also called: borrower.


The inability to repay a loan.


Failure to make a contractual payment on time.

Disposable Income

Income available after paying all fixed costs, including current debt.

Fixed Rate

A loan where the interest rate does not change during the term of the loan. It’s the opposite to an adjustable rate.


The increase of all prices overtime, including wages.

Instalments Loans

A loan that is repaid with a fixed number of periodic equal–sized payments.

Interest Rate

The rate lenders charge to use their money.


A person or organisation which provides loans to borrowers. Also called: creditor.


The acknowledgment of a financial obligation (a commitment to repay) towards a person or an institution. Also called: debt.

Maturity (or term)

Date when the loan will have to be fully repaid.


Security agreement where a house is given as a guarantee for a loan. If you are planning to take on a mortgage, you can assess how much it will cost with this tool .

Net Worth

The difference between the value of assets and liabilities.

Payday Loan

Are short term loans with high interest rates.


The amount borrowed, which has to be repaid. This does not include interest.


Taking on a new loan to repay an existing loan, because the terms such as maturity and/or interest are more convenient.

Revolving Credit

An agreement by a bank to lend a specific amount to a borrower, and to allow that amount to be borrowed again once it has been repaid. Credit cards companies provide a form of revolving credit.

Savings Account

A deposit account that pays interest and allows for unlimited deposits and withdrawals.

Secured Debt

A debt where the borrower offers collateral to the lender, which is usually a house.


An asset pledged by a borrower to secure a loan. Also called: collateral.

Unsecured Debt

Debt which is not backed by collateral but the integrity of a borrower. Consumer debt is generally unsecured debt.


The annual rate of return an investor receives on an investment.

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