ABC's of Banking

Account number A bank account number is a number that is tied to your bank account. If you have several bank accounts, such as personal, joint, business (and so on), each account will have a different account number.In the UK, most bank account numbers typically contain eight digits. Digits. Generally, a bank account number will only be relevant when used in conjunction with a sort code.If you need to find your bank account number, you’ll typically be able to see it on bank statements and on your online or app banking.

BACS The Bankers Automated Clearing Service (BACS) is a free service for making direct credits and debits. Payments using BACS will usually take three to four working days to credit the beneficiary's account.

Balance The amount of money you have in your account at a particular time. Sometimes a balance given by a bank will include payments that have been made to your account, but are not yet available because they haven’t cleared. This means that the money has not been received by the bank and is not available to spend. The money which has cleared and that you can spend is sometimes called your available funds or available balance.

Balance transfer A balance transfer is when you move an existing balance from one credit card to another. This is usually done to obtain a lower interest rate on the outstanding balance. Transfers are sometimes subjected to a Balance Transfer Fee.

Bank sort code Your bank sort code can be found on your cheque book/paying in book or statement. A sort code is a 6 digit number that identifies your bank. It’s usually split up into pairs; the first two digits identify which bank it is and the last four digits refer to the specific branch of the bank, where you opened the account.

Card Security Code Your Card Security Code is the last three numbers that appear on the back of the card you are using to make the payment.

CHAPS payment The Clearing House Automated Payment System (CHAPS) is used to transfer cleared sterling funds within the UK, for same day settlement. There is a usually a charge

CHIP and PIN CHIP and PIN is a system which allows you to approve purchases made with your credit or debit card by entering a four-digit PIN number which only you know. This is more secure than just a signature which could be forged. For security, you shouldn’t write your PIN number down or tell it to another person.

Clearing time The time it takes for the money paid into an account to clear and be available for use.

Credit rating Credit rating is a rating system used by financial institutions, to judge an individual or company's creditworthiness. Depending on how many points the applicant gets when his/her personal details are run through the rating system, the financial institution will either accept or reject the risk. Financial institutions rely on computerised credit rating systems and co-operate with each other in providing details of bad credit risks.

Debit card A debit card is a plastic card that allows you to withdraw money from your account instantly at a Cashpoint/ATM  

Direct Debit A Direct Debit is a method of payment where you give a company permission to withdraw money from your account and pay it into their account. Only companies can be paid using this method, not individuals. Payments are normally made on the same day of each month, quarter or year, depending on the payment frequency you have selected.

Electronic signatures. Under certain national laws, electronic signatures or e-signatures have the same legal validity as signatures on paper contracts. Online contracts may have the same legal status as paper contracts.

IBAN IBAN stands for International Bank Account Number. It’s an internationally standardised and recognised system that’s used to ensure that international payments end up in the correct recipient account. Your IBAN not only identifies your bank account, but it also contains all the details to locate your country, bank, branch and exact account number.

Interest rate Interest is money paid for the use of money. You pay interest on money you borrow and you receive interest on money you save, so it can make sense to compare rates and shop around for the best ones. Interest is often expressed as a percentage rate.

Overdraft An overdraft is when a customer borrows from the bank, usually through their current account, by arranging to take money or make a payment from the account which exceeds the money in the account. There are two kinds of overdraft: an arranged overdraft which a customer can set up in advance for a specific amount they know they need and an unarranged overdraft, where the bank agrees to lend you money to cover payments you want to make, but for which you don’t have enough money.

Payee The person or organisation to whom a cheque, draft, or note is made payable.

Personal loan A personal loan is a convenient way of borrowing money for almost any purpose, and fixed monthly repayments mean it's easy to budget your finances without having to worry about changes to interest rates.

Phishing Phishing scams are emails that may appear to be real, but they ask you to enter personal information or they have links to websites that may look genuine but aren’t. When you click on a link or enter your personal details, the information is sent to someone other than your bank or other service providers.

Repayment Repayment is where you pay back some of the capital and interest, usually monthly. The amount you owe gradually reduces each month.

Standing order A standing order is an instruction you give to your bank to pay a fixed amount to someone else on a regular basis, for a set amount of time. The payments are taken from your account on agreed dates, usually monthly.

Statement A summary of all transactions that occurred over the preceding month and could be associated with a deposit account or a credit card account.

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