Jargon Buster2020-05-06T23:31:01+00:00

Financial solutions terminology

This Jargon Buster will help you to understand the terms used every day by those working in the financial services industry – from mortgage advisers to stock brokers.

Click on a letter below to see a list of terms beginning with your chosen letter.

Variable Rate Mortgages2017-06-28T13:03:01+00:00

Read about variable rate mortgages in our mortgage section.

Valuation Fees2017-06-28T13:04:35+00:00

A fee paid by the borrower for the lender’s inspection of the property. This is normally paid on application.


When basic survey carried out by a surveyor to establish the value of your property.


A process of following the progress of a loan application. This information should be fed back from the lender or packager to the introducer.

Tracker Mortgages2017-06-28T13:10:58+00:00

A tracker mortgage is similar to a discount, but arguably more transparent. With a discount, a mortgage lender offers you a set percentage off their own Standard Variable Rate (SVRs). While a tracker mortgage follows the Bank Rate set by the Bank of England charged at a defined margin.Learn more about tracker mortgages in our mortgage section.

Top Up Loan2017-06-28T13:11:41+00:00

A form of second mortgage, used to provide an overall loan in excess of the loan to value ratio allowed by the primary lender. Top up loans will invariably be charged at a higher rate than the first mortgage.

Tied Agents2017-06-28T13:12:35+00:00

Most advisers and agents have access to mortgages that you would not normally find on the high street. They may be part of a particular financial organisation or estate agent. Therefore they are not fully independent.

Terminal Bonus2017-06-28T13:13:23+00:00

This bonus is paid at the end of an endowment mortgage and will depend on the performance of the investment fund you are using to repay your mortgage.

Term Assurance2017-06-28T13:13:59+00:00

This is the simplest form of life assurance. The insured person is covered against death within a fixed period depending up on the payment of the premiums. If an insured person dies within the policy term the sum assured is paid out. If the insured person survives the term the premium has been spent and the insurance ends with nothing being paid to the policyholders.


The mortgage term is the length of time before the mortgage loan must be repaid.


An inspection carried out for the benefit of the mortgage lender to make sure that the property forms a good security for a loan. This inspection and should not be relied upon on when deciding whether to purchase a property or not. Purchasers should be advised to obtain either a house or flat buyer’s report or a full structural survey before proceeding with a purchase.

Structural Survey2017-06-28T13:20:16+00:00

The most comprehensive form of inspection that can be undertaken by a chartered surveyor. In the case of properties with movement, lenders may require a structural engineer’s report. This is a different type of survey carried out by a chartered building engineer and should not be confused with a structural survey.

Stepped discount mortgage2017-06-28T13:20:58+00:00

Read about the stepped discount mortgage in our mortgage section.

Standard Variable Rate Mortgages (SVR’s)2017-06-28T13:21:50+00:00

Read about standard variable rate mortgages in our mortgages section.

Stamp Duty2017-06-28T13:25:25+00:00

A tax payable on property purchase, currently charged for residential properties at: 1% for property costing £125,001 to £250,000 (although First-Time Buyers are exempt from this up to £250,000 purchase price until 25.03.12); 3% on properties from £250,001 to £500,000 4% on properties over £500,000 5% on properties over £1,000,000

Special Conditions2017-06-28T13:25:55+00:00

Specific terms, usually outlined on the mortgage offer document, that apply to a particular loan offer.

Sole Occupancy2017-06-28T13:26:35+00:00

A property that is occupied by the borrower and his or her immediate family only. No paying tenants are in residence.

Sitting Tenant2017-06-28T13:27:03+00:00

A person having a legal right of occupation, even if the property changes ownership, and who is able to apply to the local authority to set a fair rent. Properties with sitting tenants are generally worth at least 30% – 40% less than their open market value with vacant possession.

Simple Valuation2017-06-28T13:27:30+00:00

This just tells you the value of the property, it does not tell you if it is structurally sound.

Shared Ownership2017-06-28T13:27:59+00:00

A method of property purchase in partnership with a housing association. The borrower purchases part of the property and rents the remainder from the housing association. Also known as co-ownership, this arrangement is designed for people who could not otherwise become homeowners. Under most arrangements, the minimum purchase amount is 25% of the property value with the remainder available to be purchased in blocks of 25%.

Semi Commercial2017-06-28T13:28:37+00:00

A property that has at least part commercial use. A semi-commercial mortgage is a loan on security that is not entirely used for residential purposes, e.g. A shop.

Self Employed2017-06-28T13:29:03+00:00

An individual working on own account. For mortgage purposes this will include partners in unlimited liability businesses and professional practices.

Self Certification2017-06-28T13:29:35+00:00

A mortgage loan where the borrower makes a statement of his or her income and the lender makes fewer checks than normal on the accuracy of this statement. These mortgages are now very rare indeed!

Self Build2017-06-28T13:30:27+00:00

A property, the construction of which is controlled by the borrower; not a finished unit. Loans on self build properties will normally be advanced in stage payments and are subject to strict limits on loan to value. A qualified architect will need to be involved. Talk to us, to establish the best finance route for your needs.

Secured Loan2017-06-28T13:30:50+00:00

A secured loan one that is secured using your property.

Second Mortgage2017-06-28T13:31:20+00:00

A second mortgage is a further loan on a property which ranks after the first charge mortgage.

Second Home2017-06-28T13:32:08+00:00

An alternative to your main residence which is subject to capital gains tax! See also: holiday home.

Second Charge2017-06-28T13:33:01+00:00

A second charge is a legal charge that ranks behind a first charge, possibly to secure a second mortgage, or a guarantee given to secure other borrowings.

Search Fee2017-06-28T13:33:25+00:00

Before you buy your property you have to check with your local authority that there are no plans that will effect the value of your property.

Royal Institute Of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)2017-06-28T13:34:37+00:00

The professional body for surveyors which sets a code of practice for its members.

Right To Buy2017-06-28T13:35:17+00:00

This is an option for council tenants to purchase the property in which they live in. The property price is often at a discount, proportional to the length of occupancy.

Restructured Loan2017-06-28T13:35:45+00:00

When a lender offers renegotiated terms.

Reservation Fees2017-06-28T13:36:24+00:00

The same as arrangement, booking and product fees. A fee charged by a lender for setting up the loan. Normally payable upon completion but may sometimes be added to the loan.

Repayment Plan2017-06-28T13:37:04+00:00

If you fall behind on your payments a lender may try to renegotiate your repayment plan.

Repayment Mortgages2017-06-28T13:37:34+00:00

Learn about repayment mortgages in our mortgage section.


This is payment made to cover interest or reduction in principal of a loan.


Switching your mortgage and/or mortgage lender.


The arranging of a loan on a property in which the borrower already resides. Normally this involves redeeming an existing loan on the property.


This is where borrowings are rearranging with a different lender, usually to receive more attractive terms or to raise fresh capital.

Redemption Charges2017-06-28T13:40:32+00:00

These are any charge levied by the lender when the mortgage loan is repaid before the end of the full term. Now known as Early Repayment Charges.


This is paying off the mortgage, either to move to another property or at the end of the mortgage term.


The acquisition of a property.

Product Fees2017-06-28T13:43:01+00:00

The same as arrangement, reservation and booking fees. A fee charged by a lender for setting up the loan. Normally payable upon completion but may sometimes be added to the loan.


A mortgage deal offered by a lender.


The amount of credit still outstanding – the amount on which interest is calculated.

Prime Rate2017-06-28T13:45:06+00:00

The best interest rate possible to the lender’s most valuable customers.

Previous Lender’s Reference2017-06-28T13:45:36+00:00

A reference from a lender who has previously lent money to a prospective borrower regarding the conduct of the loan account.


Describes a mortgage that can be transferred from one property to another.

Pension Mortgage2017-06-28T13:46:48+00:00

The pension mortgage is an interest-only mortgage where the capital will be repaid from the tax free cash sum that can be received from the pension fund at maturity. This option is only suitable for those anticipating very large pensions.

Payment Shock2017-06-28T13:47:50+00:00

If you have taken out a mortgage on a low rate, the low rate end and the payment jump up the standard variable rate.

Payment Schedule2017-06-28T13:48:30+00:00

A schedule of monthly payments under a loan.

Payment Protection Insurance2017-06-28T13:49:51+00:00

See ASU accident, sickness and unemployment insurance. See also unemployment insurance.

Payment Method2017-06-28T13:50:19+00:00

A means by which the mortgage capital is eventually repaid.

Payment Default2017-06-28T13:50:53+00:00

If you default on your credit repayments, the lender is entitled to reposes your house to recover the debt.


Flexible mortgage allow you to pay more than the standard monthly repayment, in order to pay off your mortgage more quickly and potentially save a lot of time and money.

Outstanding Balance2017-06-28T13:53:01+00:00

The amount that is outstanding on your credit.


This includes existing liabilities and, or your debts, other than an existing mortgage such as hire purchase, personal loans, school fees etc.

Open Market Value2017-06-28T13:54:40+00:00

The value of a property on the basis of a willing buyer and willing seller in the open market allowing for a reasonable period for sale.

Ombudsman for Estate Agents (OEA)2017-06-28T13:57:32+00:00

A scheme to provide independent and impartial mediation between members of the public who buy, sell or let property and the agents they deal with, in the event of a complaint from either side. The OEA can award compensation and the service is free to the public. Member agents must comply with a code of practice. Website: www.oea.co.uk

Offset Mortgages2017-06-28T13:58:02+00:00

Read about these in our mortgage section.

Notice of Default2017-06-28T14:00:20+00:00

A lender’s initial contact when you have fallen behind on your credit repayments.

Non Status2017-06-28T14:01:03+00:00

A loan granted without making enquiries as to the borrower’s income or credit history.

New Build2017-06-28T14:02:00+00:00

Refers to new properties developed on green field sites. Can refer to a single property or whole estates.

Net Profit2017-06-28T14:02:30+00:00

The income of a company or self employed business after making full allowance for the expenses of running the business. This should be the amount available to the owners of the business for their own benefit. It is the figure that can be used to calculate their ability to service a mortgage.

Negative Equity2017-06-28T14:03:29+00:00

A situation that occurs when the amount loaned against a property is in excess of the market value of the property.

National Landlords Association (NLA)2017-06-28T14:04:06+00:00

An independent national organisation for private residential landlords. It represents over 13,000 fee-paying members throughout the UK, from full-time landlords with large property portfolios to those who own single-bedroom flats. It helps landlords understand the legal and regulatory environment in which they manage their lettings and makes them aware of their statutory rights and responsibilities. Website: www.landlords.org.uk

National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA)2017-06-28T14:05:04+00:00

This is the UK’s leading professional body for estate agents across the UK. It has a total of 10,000 members, who deal with all aspects of property both in the UK and abroad, including residential and commercial sales and letting, property management, business transfer, auctioneering and land. Founded in 1962, the NAEA provides assistance, guidance and representation for its members. All agents have to formally qualify to become members of the NAEA and must comply with its code of conduct. Website: www.naea.co.uk

Mortgage Term2017-06-28T14:06:16+00:00

Is the length of time before the mortgage loan must be repaid.

Mortgage Payment Protection Insurance (MPPI)2017-06-28T14:07:41+00:00

This is an insurance cover to protect your mortgage payments. Read about Mortgage Payment Protection Insurance (MPPI) in our insurance section.

Mortgage Indemnity Guarantee2017-06-28T14:08:17+00:00

See Higher Lending Charge.

Mortgage Deed2017-06-28T14:08:51+00:00

Legal document establishing a loan on property.

Mortgage Code2017-06-28T14:09:24+00:00

The regulations that mortgage provider have to stick to.

Mortgage Brokers2017-06-28T14:10:02+00:00

A mortgage adviser (sometimes known as an intermediary or broker) is a qualified practitioner whose responsibility is to identify your needs and objectives, research the market and recommend the product that best suits your needs. There are different types of mortgage broker, and it is important that you understand the difference between them. Our testimonials help to demonstrate that we are held in high regard by our clients!


The name given to credit used to buy property or loan secured by land.

Monthly Repayment2017-06-28T14:11:52+00:00

This is the amount you pay our lender each month toward the cost of the credit they have given you.

Loyalty Bonus2017-06-28T14:15:22+00:00

A concessionary bonus (usually by way of a temporary reduction in interest) payable for maintaining a satisfactory account with a lender for a period of years. Alternatively, loyalty bonuses may be offered to existing customers who return to the lender for a new mortgage. In which case the bonus may be dealt with by way of a reduction in the set-up costs of the new loan or a lump sum payable upon completion.

Local Authority Search2017-06-28T14:15:46+00:00

A search of local authority records to confirm the status of the property. Local authority searches should reveal any proposed changes in the area, the details of the planning permission for the subject property and whether any enforcement notices have been served by the local authority.

Loan To Value (LTV)2017-06-28T14:16:22+00:00

Is the ratio of the loan amount to the property valuation expressed as a percentage. So if a borrower is seeking a loan of £100,000 on a property worth £200,000 it has a 50% loan to value rate.

Loan Illustration2017-06-28T14:16:43+00:00

Is the example of the monthly cost of a mortgage and other expenses associated with the loan such as set-up costs.

Loan Authority Search Fee2017-06-28T14:17:18+00:00

This is the fee payable for the local authority search.

Loan Application Fee2017-06-28T14:17:47+00:00

Lenders fee for a loan application.

Loan Application2017-06-28T14:18:14+00:00

Form you fill out to apply for a loan.


The amount to be borrowed.

Lifetime Tracker Mortgages2017-06-28T14:19:24+00:00

Rather than the Tracker rate lasting for the first 2 or 3 years, a Lifetime Tracker rate will apply the same differential (or margin) for the whole term of the mortgage.

Life Insurance2017-06-28T14:19:51+00:00

A policy payable upon the death of the insured, usually referred to as assurance. Read about life insurance in our protection section.

Life Company2017-06-28T14:20:28+00:00

A life assurance company.


London interbank offered rate is the rate at which banks notionally buy and sell money to each other. It varies from day to day and is closely linked to base rate.


Debts and outgoing payments that you are legally responsible to pay.


An individual or company who grant a lease.


Person to whom the lease is granted.

Lender’s Arrangement Fee2017-06-28T14:23:49+00:00

Fee for arranging a loan passed on by the buyer to the lender.


An organisation which offers mortgage products.

Legal Mortgage Fee2017-06-28T14:25:09+00:00

The fee charged by the solicitors acting for the lender in creating their legal charge over the property.

Legal Charge2017-06-28T14:25:44+00:00

The means by which lenders enforce their rights to a property, and is recorded at the land registry. There are various different types of legal charge and the type used will vary from lender to lender. A primary mortgage will normally be secured by a first charge.


The land on which the property is built is not owned directly by the property purchaser and is held under a lease for a fixed period.

Late Payment2017-06-28T14:26:42+00:00

A payment a lender receives after the due date has passed.

Late Charge2017-06-28T14:27:05+00:00

A fee the lender imposes for receiving payments late.

Landlord’s Reference2017-06-28T14:27:33+00:00

This is a reference from the previous landlord regarding the general conduct of the tenant and whether rent has been paid promptly.

Land Registry Fees2017-06-28T14:27:54+00:00

A fee payable to the land registry to change an entry in their records following a transaction involving registered land. This can be following a change of ownership or just a change of mortgage.

Land Registry2017-06-28T14:28:28+00:00

A record of property, ownership and the mortgage is registered in a central register at HM land registry.

Key workers2017-06-28T14:31:12+00:00

Individuals employed within the public sector who deliver an essential public service in areas such as health, education and community safety are classed as Key Workers by the Government. Depending on the area in question, specific examples can include: NHS staff (except doctors and dentists) teachers,police,community support officers,fire-fighters,prison officers,probation service staff,social workers,psychologists and therapists employed by local authorities or the NHS, Ministry of Defence staff (some, not all) , Lawyers/solicitors (not all lenders will consider barristers),Pharmacists ,Accountants ,Optometrists . Contact us to find out more about the professional mortgages and government housing schemes available to key workers, as these change over time.

Joint Liability2017-06-28T14:31:52+00:00

Two people who are responsible for a loan or debt.

Joint Application2017-06-28T14:32:21+00:00

A mortgage application that involves more than one person as the borrower.


Insurance premium tax.


Person who introduces a loan to a lender.

Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (IMLA)2017-06-28T14:35:14+00:00

This organisation represents mortgage lenders who channel their business through mortgage intermediaries, or brokers. Its membership includes banks, building societies and subsidiaries of overseas banks. IMLA is involved in a range of activities, including communicating its members’ views to the Council of Mortgage Lenders and supporting new product development.?
Website: www.imla.org.uk


Broker or person who attempts to sort and arrange financial packages for you.

Interest Rate2017-06-28T14:36:38+00:00

Also known as the rate of interest, mortgage rate or product rate ?The rate of interest on your mortgage denotes the amount you are paying the lender to borrow funds. The rate is expressed as a percentage and calculated by the lender to ensure it receives the original loan amount back by the end of the term (or before if you repay early), plus a profit. Use our mortgage calculator to work out the repayments for any mortgage rates you are considering.

Interest Only Mortgages2017-06-28T14:37:20+00:00

Learn about interest only mortgages in our mortgage section.

Inheritance Tax2017-06-28T14:38:12+00:00

Tax payable on your estate when you die, charged at 40% on anything over £325,000 for individuals and £650,000 for married couples (2011/2012).


Increase in earnings or prices, which change in accordance with price inflation, and the national average earnings.

Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA)2017-06-28T14:54:26+00:00

IVAs were introduced under the insolvency act 1986 with the intention of allowing an individual to avoid bankruptcy and make maximum possible restitution to creditors. An IVA is seen as preferable to bankruptcy as the debtor can retain his tools of trade and, in the case of a professional person, continue to practice, or hold company directorships.

Individual Saving Accounts (ISA)2017-06-28T14:41:29+00:00

A tax-efficient plan launched in April 1999. Permits investment in stocks and shares, cash deposits and insurance.

Income Protection2017-06-28T14:42:46+00:00

(Also known as Permanent Health Insurance (PHI) Income protection provides protection if you are unable to work for a prolonged period of time due to ill health or an accident. It helps by making monthly payments to you to help cover your monthly expenses on outstanding loan/mortgage agreements etc… Read about income protection in our insurance section.

Impaired Credit2017-06-28T14:44:24+00:00

If you have an impaired credit record you will usually need a sub-prime mortgage charged at a higher interest rate than standard.


An illustration gives you an example of the monthly cost of a mortgage and other expenses associated with the loan such as set-up costs.


Independent financial advisor is an advisor who has no affiliation with other financial companies.

Housing Association2017-06-28T14:55:11+00:00

A body of trustees or company that is established for the purposes of providing, building, improving or managing, or facilitating, or encouraging the construction or improvement of, housing accommodation. It does not trade for profit. Anyone wanting help with housing puts his or her name down on the housing association list which acts in the same manner as council house lists.

Household Insurance2017-06-28T14:55:52+00:00

Insurance cover for your home. The two main types are building and contents insurance.

House or Flat Buyer’s Report2017-06-28T14:57:21+00:00

A more thorough survey than the simple valuation carried out on the property by the lender. If your lender does not offer this as an alternative to the basic valuation, you can negotiate with the surveyor carrying out the valuation for the fuller inspection and this may cost you less than a separate inspection.

House Auction2017-06-28T14:57:48+00:00

The process whereby something is bought at a price that arises from a process of bidding. If you bid for and win a home at an auction you will be legally bound to buy the house.

Homebuyer’s Valuation Fee2017-06-28T14:58:26+00:00

This is the fee paid for a simple survey of the property you are thinking of buying.

Homebuyer’s Report2017-06-28T14:59:17+00:00

The Homebuyers report is a less stringent report than a Full Structural Survey, but more detailed than the Basic Valuation carried out by the lender. Contact us to find a local professional who can provide this service for you.

Home Information Packs (HIP’s)2017-06-28T14:59:53+00:00

A HIP USED to be provided to prospective buyers of residential properties for sale in England and Wales. Fully introduced on 14 December 2007, they provided enough information relating to the property to allow prospective buyers to make an informed decision about purchasing. A range of documents were included, such as an energy performance certificate, registration details and details of standard searches. Now, only the EPC is required and should appear on the property details provided by the seller or their Agent.

Home Improvements2017-06-28T15:00:27+00:00

Work carried out to improve your home.

Home Equity Loan2017-06-28T15:01:12+00:00

A method releasing capital from people’s homes. See Equity Release

Holiday Home2017-06-28T15:01:52+00:00

A property that will not be your main address or place of residence.

Higher Lending Charge (HLC)2017-06-28T15:03:16+00:00

An insurance premium which insures the lender against any loss of money, e.g. If you default on your loan or get repossessed. This usually applies only if you borrow more than 75% of the price asked for the property you are buying. Even though you have to pay for the insurance premium, it does not mean that you are covered by the insurance, the lender is.

High Street Lenders2017-06-28T15:03:43+00:00

Mortgage providers based on the high street. These are mainly banks and building societies.

Guarantor Mortgages2017-06-28T15:05:11+00:00

During the Credit Crunch most of the lenders offering 100% or 100%-plus mortgages pulled their products from the market. As a result, the only 100% mortgage deals currently left are guarantor mortgages.


A Guarantor is a person who agrees to guarantee that a loan will be paid. The guarantor is therefore fully liable for the repayment of the borrowed amount should the borrower default.

Guaranteed Earned Income2017-06-28T15:06:34+00:00

Is income that you receive along with your basic salary that is not part of your normal basic pay under the terms and conditions of your employment but which you are guaranteed to receive.

Ground Rent2017-06-28T15:07:10+00:00

When you are a leaseholder you will probably have to pay ground rent to the person that owns the land you property stands on.

Gross Income2017-06-28T15:07:38+00:00

Total income before tax is deducted.


Where the seller accepts a higher bid after accepting your offer.

Full Structural Survey2017-06-28T15:11:34+00:00

It is essential to have this comprehensive survey carried out if you are thinking of buying an older property, as it will tell you if there is any problem or faults. Contact us to find a local professional who can provide this service for you.

Full Status2017-06-28T15:12:13+00:00

A loan where complete checks are made on the borrower’s credit history and income.


Land or property which is owned outright, as opposed to leasehold where the owner has the right to occupy the land or property for a given period of years only.


When a delinquent borrower surrenders their property rights.

Foreign Currency Mortgage2017-06-28T15:13:40+00:00

It is now possible to get a mortgage for your property in the UK in a mortgage denominated in a foreign currency. It sometimes gives you the opportunity to borrow money at a lower rate of interest than is possible in the UK.


The legal process when a borrower defaults on a loan.


An action a lender may take to delay foreclosure or legal issues with a delinquent borrower.

Flexible Mortgages2017-06-28T15:17:02+00:00

Flexible mortgages are offered by some lenders and allow you to make overpayments in order to repay the mortgage early or save for a special event. Read more about flexible mortgages in our mortgage section.


An abbreviation for flexible. See flexible mortgages.

Flat Over Shop2017-06-28T15:18:49+00:00

Residential habitation situated above retail premises. Some lenders will not lend on this type of security because it is seen as having limited appeal to prospective purchasers and therefore have a lower value compared to an otherwise similar property. Any property that is located above commercial property usually takes longer to sell than properties which do not have any commercial element. A flat above a take-away restaurant is more difficult to arrange a loan on than a flat above a book shop.

Fixtures and Fittings2017-06-28T15:19:21+00:00

There may be bites in the house that you want included in the sale like carpets door handles light fittings etc.

Fixed Rate Mortgages2017-06-28T15:19:52+00:00

A loan where the initial payments, for a certain period of time, are based on a specific interest rate. The rate payable will not change during that period regardless of changes in the lender’s standard variable rate. Read more about fixed rate mortgages in our mortgage section.

First Time Buyer2017-06-28T15:20:21+00:00

A person that is purchasing a property for the first time. Some lenders offer preferential lending terms to first time buyers. A borrower who has owned a property before but has sold this prior to buying again may be offered first time buyer terms by some lenders but this is dependent on the lender.

First Charge2017-06-28T15:20:48+00:00

A legal charge used to secure the main mortgage. A lender with a first legal charge over a property has a first call on any funds available from the sale of the property. See also: second charge.

Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS)2017-06-28T15:21:27+00:00

This is the fund of last resort for customers of authorised financial services companies. The FSCS can pay if a firm is unable to pay the compensation for claims made against it. ?It is a free, independent service, set up under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. It protects deposits, insurance policies, investments, insurance broking (for business on or after 14 January 2005) and mortgage advice and arranging (for business on or after 31 October 2004). The FSCS is funded by levies on authorised firms. ?Website: a< href="www.fscs.org.uk">www.fscs.org.uk

Financial Services Authority (FSA).2017-06-28T15:26:32+00:00

This independent, non-governmental organisation regulates the UK’s financial services industry, including mortgage lenders and brokers. Any organisation regulated by the FSA is legally bound to adhere to its rules. The FSA can conduct investigations and has powers to enforce rules upon the organisations it regulates and punish those that fail to adhere. The three main aims of the FSA are to promote efficient, orderly and fair markets, help retail consumers achieve a fair deal and improve business capability and effectiveness. The FSA also has a website for consumers offering information and advice, as well as a number of tools to help with financial decision making.?Website: https://www.moneymadeclear.fsa.gov.uk/

Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS)2017-06-28T15:26:58+00:00

This body provides consumers with an avenue for resolving disputes involving financial services firms. Set up by the Government, it gives independent advice on complaints in areas including banking, mortgages, pensions, insurance and investments. Consumers must try and resolve their dispute with the relevant organisation before referring to the FOS for advice, however. Decisions made by FOS regarding disputes are not legally binding unless agreed by both parties. ?Website: www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk

Financial Adviser2017-06-28T15:27:24+00:00

A person who helps individuals with their financial situation.


The amount charged by a lender, broker or other middleman for arranging a mortgage or property purchase.

Equity Release scheme2017-06-28T15:28:34+00:00

A way older homeowners (typically 55%) can free up some of the value of their homes in exchange for a cash lump sum or income.


A right of way giving individuals other than the owner permission to use a property for a specific purpose.

Early Repayment Charges (ERC)2017-06-28T15:29:48+00:00

A fee charged it you choose to move or pay off your mortgage before the end of an agreed term.

Discount Tracker Mortgages2017-06-28T15:32:32+00:00

Read about Discounted Tracker mortgages in our Mortgage section.

Discount Rate2017-06-28T15:33:13+00:00

The mortgage interest rate is lower than the current normal standard variable rate, but only for a certain period of time. Usually shown as a fixed percentage reduction to the lender’s normal variable rate e.g. 2.00% discount for 2 years.

Discount Purchase Price2017-06-28T15:33:40+00:00

The price of a property which has been reduced below the open-market value, such as in the case of a right-to-buy purchase or a builder’s discount. Under right to buy legislation, properties are not offered at the open market value, but at a discount, and if the property is resold within a three-year period, some or all of the discount will have to be repaid.

Discount Period2017-06-28T15:36:40+00:00

Time period in which reduced payments are offered.

Discount Mortgages2017-06-28T15:37:13+00:00

Such products allow for a certain discount to the lender’s Standard Variable Rate (SVR) typically for a set period of time. For example, if your lender’s SVR is 6.75% and you have a three-year discount mortgage with a rate of 4.99%, you will receive a discount of 1.76% for three years and then pay the SVR of 6.75%. Read about discount mortgages in our mortgage section.


Any written notice designed to discharge liability of a company, for providing inaccurate information in a leaflet.

Discharged CCJ2017-06-28T15:38:11+00:00

A county court judgement that has been paid.

Discharged Bankrupt2017-06-28T15:38:34+00:00

Person whose period of bankruptcy has ended.


Search fees, land registration, stamp duties are all examples of disbursement.

Direct Lenders2017-06-28T15:39:51+00:00

Lenders who operate on lower overheads, through use of call centres, mailing houses, or internet based operations, instead of an expensive branch-based network. Although direct lenders.

Direct Debit2017-06-28T15:40:23+00:00

A method of making automatic payments electronically from a current account. Direct debits may be at fixed intervals – e.g. for a monthly credit card or quarterly fuel bill, and they may be fixed (e.g. a monthly membership fee), or variable, such as for a mobile phone bill. Direct Debits can also be for irregular payments, such as buying shares.

Despatch Fee2017-06-28T15:40:53+00:00

See deeds release fee.


An individual who depends financially on another person.

Delinquent Loan2017-06-28T15:42:46+00:00

A loan whereby the borrower is behind on payments. If payments are not brought up to date within a set time frame the lender may foreclose proceedings.


Not making payments at the correct time.

Deferred Interest2017-06-28T15:45:59+00:00

A type of loan where some or all of the interest owed by the borrower is added to the amount outstanding which therefore causes the borrower to owe much more than originally borrowed.

Deferral Period2017-06-28T15:46:58+00:00

A time period on a loan during which no repayments need to be made. This is particularly popular with student and graduate loans, to enable young people to finish their studies, or to travel, before having to start making repayments. “Buy now, nothing to pay until next year” type offers in furniture and other stores also operate with deferral periods.

Default Notice2017-06-28T15:47:24+00:00

A letter served by a creditor to the borrower to say that a credit agreement has been breached, and that action must be taken by the individual to prevent the creditor seeking repayment via a County Court Judgement.


When a payment or a series of payments are missed.

Deeds Release Fee2017-06-28T15:48:20+00:00

This fee is charged by the lender for releasing the deeds of the mortgaged property and returning them to the owner or his solicitor, usually when the mortgage has been repaid.

Deed Of Proxy2017-06-28T15:49:10+00:00

A document enabling one person to manage the financial and legal affairs of another individual.

Deed Of Covenant2017-06-28T15:50:08+00:00

The document expressing the terms of a covenant (a binding agreement), which may typically be imposed by a lender to restrict certain activities, such as use of a house for commercial purposes, or sub-letting.

Debt-To-Income Ratio2017-06-28T15:50:34+00:00

A method used by lenders to establish if a person is qualified to receive a mortgage or loan.

Debt Consolidation2017-06-28T15:51:09+00:00

Replacing a number of existing loans with a single loan from a new lender which may reduce your monthly payments by spreading out a larger loan over a longer period of time, and reducing the interest rate being paid.


Funds owed to lender.

Data Protection Act (1988)2017-06-28T15:52:27+00:00

Regulations introduced to protect the transfer of personal data within and between different organisations. Remember that every time you apply for a store loyalty card, credit facility or magazine subscription, you are handing over substantial amounts of personal data for organisations to trade in. Whilst this data may enable them to make special offers which “may be of use to you”, it also means more opportunity to sell you products or services you would not otherwise have bought. If you are not the kind of person to say no easily, make sure you always tick the “no marketing material” box.

Daily Interest2017-06-28T15:52:58+00:00

Where interest is applied on a daily basis instead of the traditional monthly time frame.

Critical Illness Insurance2017-06-28T15:55:09+00:00

Insurance cover for major illness, diseases and other potentially fatal medical conditions. ?Read about critical illness insurance in our insurance section.


Person or company to whom a debt is owed.

Credit Worthy2017-06-28T15:55:58+00:00

A description of someone who is deemed by a lending institution to be a low risk to lend to (colloquial term). As with blacklisting, there is no such thing as a “perfect credit score”, or someone who is “completely credit worthy”, as there is always some element of risk involved when loans are made, and different institutions use different criteria when evaluating such risk

Credit Scoring2017-06-28T15:56:20+00:00

A generalised way of assessing the credit application, carried out by scoring the answers given on an application. It is important that there are no missing answers on an application otherwise the result for the question becomes a negative.

Credit Reference Agency2017-06-28T15:56:47+00:00

Companies that hold credit information one file. Experian and Equifax are the two main agencies used by mortgage lenders.

Credit Rating2017-06-28T15:57:06+00:00

Rating used to establish risk involved in lending money. This is used in conjunction with credit history and financial status.

Credit History2017-06-28T15:57:30+00:00

The history of a borrowers financial record.

Credit File2017-06-28T15:58:10+00:00

A record held by a credit reference agency on an individual or a company. You can inspect your own credit file by writing to the agencies. Experian and Equifax are the two main agencies used by mortgage lenders.

Credit Checking Agency2017-06-28T15:59:05+00:00

A service used by lenders to establish a level of risk involved in leading money.

Credit Check2017-06-28T15:59:28+00:00

Where an enquiry is made on the credit history of an applicant, normally by reference to one of the major credit agencies such as Equifax or Experian.

Credit Averse2017-06-28T16:00:15+00:00

If a borrower has been bankrupt or has outstanding county court judgements they would be described as credit adverse.


The risk that an insurance policy protects against, such as third party, fire and theft.

County Court judgement (CCJ)2017-06-28T16:01:04+00:00

A county court judgement is a judgement for debt in the county court. This debt does not appear in the credit register if this debt is settled within 30 days of the date of the judgement. Very few lenders are willing to offer loans to anyone with an outstanding or unsettled judgement, and even if the judgement has been settled many lenders are likely to refuse a mortgage or other credit application.

County Court Fee2017-06-28T16:01:29+00:00

Fee for when a lender provides information to solicitors regarding county court rules when payments are in arrears.

Council Tax2017-06-28T16:01:56+00:00

An annual fee paid to a local authority to cover essential services such as road maintenance, rubbish collection and leisure centres. Council tax is based on the value of the property according to set bands.

Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML)2017-06-28T16:02:33+00:00

The CML represents the mortgage lending industry and its members account for around 98% of residential mortgage lending in the UK. Membership comprises banks, building societies and mortgage lenders. The organisation provides statistics and research on mortgage related topics and maintains data on the top mortgage lenders in the UK market.Website: https://www.cml.org.uk/cml/home


A fee charge by a solicitor or licensed conveyancer for arranging the necessary legal work in transferring the ownership of a property. The total cost of the legal work also includes profit cost, Stamp Duty (where applicable), Land Registry fees and disbursements.

Contract Work2017-06-28T16:05:45+00:00

Many employers offer employment under fixed-term contracts as they have a greater control over staffing costs and are able to limit their redundancy payment liabilities.

Contents Insurance2017-06-28T16:06:13+00:00

This is the insurance of property within your home i.e. furniture, clothing, personal possessions etc. Contents cover is a separate type of insurance to buildings insurance, which covers the structure of your property. Read about contents insurance in our insurance section.

Conditional Insurance2017-06-28T16:06:52+00:00

An insurance policy that has to be taken out as a condition of obtaining a loan. It must usually be taken out via the lender’s agency. See compulsory products.

Conclusion Of Missives2017-06-28T16:07:16+00:00

A Scottish term for exchanging contracts.

Compulsory Products2017-06-28T16:07:39+00:00

Aspects of a financial contract that must be adhered to as a condition of the loan. An example of this income payment protection.

Compound Interest2017-06-28T16:08:04+00:00

Interest on the interest.

Completion Date2017-06-28T16:08:33+00:00

The official date for completion of a sale of a house, when keys are actually transferred.


The moment at which all the legal formalities of the purchase or mortgage are finalised and the funds are drawn down from the lender, and usually into the solicitors account.

Comparison Table2017-06-28T16:09:20+00:00

A table giving comparisons between leading financial or other products to demonstrate which are the best performers under certain criteria. Remember that many such tables are a “one size fits all” covering a range of scenarios, and that the best way to evaluate your own options may be to draw up your own comparison table.

Common Law Partner2017-06-28T16:09:54+00:00

A partner who cohabits with his or her partner, and who can gain a number of financial benefits from such partner, without actually being legally married.


A percentage of the overall sale price that is received by the selling party (usually an Estate Agent) when acting on someone else’s behalf.

Commercial Mortgage2017-06-28T16:11:10+00:00

Where the loan is granted for commercial purposes, and is usually secured against commercial property, though residential property may be used. With a commercial mortgage there is a higher rate of interest, as it is a higher degree of risk for the lender.


Steps taken by a lender to bring a person’s payments back up to date

Code Of Practice2017-06-28T16:11:48+00:00

A group of principles and procedures individual employees of an organisation are expected to follow. This will cover such issues as client confidentiality, fairness and courtesy towards customers.


Shared ownership, a method of purchasing property in partnership with a housing association, where the borrower purchases part of the property and rents the rest from the housing association..


Security the lender relies on when granting credit.

CHAPS Fees2017-06-28T16:14:12+00:00

One means of transferring monies electronically between Banks and Solicitors or Clients where the funds clear immediately in the recipient’s account.

Certificate Of Deposit2017-06-28T16:14:40+00:00

Certificates from a financial organisation declaring you have the funds available to pay the deposit.

Centralised Lender2017-06-28T16:15:32+00:00

A general term applied to mortgage lenders, but not to high street banks and building societies, who mainly operate wholly from a head office location.


If payments on a financial agreement are not made, a magistrate may issue a county court judgement (CCJ) in the name of the individual. This greatly affects your credit rating.

CAT Standard2017-06-28T16:16:25+00:00

These are a set of standards proposed by the government aimed at ensuring a certain level of standard amongst financial products. Whilst they are a sign that a lender or provider is a reputable business and offers products that are of a certain quality, a CAT mark does not ensure that a product is the most suitable one for you.

Cash Buyer2017-06-28T16:16:54+00:00

Person or persons who do not need a mortgage in order to buy a property and who do not have a property to sell.

Cash Back Mortgages2017-06-28T16:17:15+00:00

Cash back mortgages provide you with a single lump sum of cash immediately on completion. The amount of cash is usually calculated as a percentage of the overall loan amount, though it can be a set figure. The percentage of the loan that is given as cash back can be as high as 5%, though amounts in the region of 1 to 3% are more common. See our Mortgage section for further information.

Capped Rate Mortgages2017-06-28T16:17:38+00:00

The mortgage interest rate will not exceed a certain value during a certain period of time, although it will fluctuate above and below the current level. Some capped products will have a ceiling and a floor between which the rate payable may move; such loans may be known as cap and collar mortgages. Read more about capped rate mortgages in our mortgage section.

Capital Raising2017-06-28T16:18:07+00:00

The act of remortgaging a property based on a higher value compared to the original purchase price. The capital raised is the amount left over after repayment of the original loan is deducted from the new loan. Some lenders will also take into account home improvement projects as part of the remortgage, if they are likely to significantly raise the value of the property.

Cap and Collar2017-06-28T16:18:32+00:00

See capped rate.

Buy to Let Mortgage2017-05-26T13:49:31+00:00

A mortgage for a property which the owner intends to rent out privately to tenants. See commercial mortgages.

Buildings Insurance2017-05-26T13:50:39+00:00

An essential insurance policy which covers the structure of the building. Where the property is leasehold the buildings insurance will normally be arranged by the freeholder and the cost charged on to the leaseholder within the service charges payable.

Building Society2017-05-26T13:51:16+00:00

Building societies are mutual organisations owned by their members and regulated by the Buildings Societies Act.

Building Societies Association (BSA)2017-05-26T13:52:00+00:00

This organisation is the trade body for all UK building societies. Building Societies differ from banks in that they are mutual organisations, which means that most of its customers (borrowers, savings and current account holders, etc) are members and have rights to receive information, vote on important decisions and attend society meetings. On the other hand, most banks are listed companies with external shareholders that are paid a dividend out of the bank�s profits.Website: < a href="https://www.bsa.org.uk/">https://www.bsa.org.uk/

Broker Fee2017-05-26T13:53:08+00:00

A fee charged by an intermediary to the applicant for negotiating a loan. If a loan has not completed within six months of the date of introduction to a lender, the maximum fee that a broker may retain is £300, under the Consumer Credit Act.


A third party individual who attempts to find the best available financial or other package. Brokers could be affiliated with a larger network in finance, or they may be independent.

Bridging Loan2017-05-26T13:54:55+00:00

Short-term loan used as coverage when buying a new property before selling an existing one.

Breach Of Covenant2017-05-26T13:55:56+00:00

Failure to obey a legal agreement.

Breach Of Contract2017-05-26T13:56:49+00:00

Failure to fulfil the term and conditions of a contract.

Booking Fees2017-05-26T13:57:36+00:00

The same as arrangement, reservation and product fees. A fee charged by a lender to secure mortgage funds, payable at the time the loan application is submitted and normally applies only to special offer loans, such as fixed or capped rates.

Benefit Period2017-05-26T13:58:23+00:00

Time frame in which the interest rate of a mortgage is discounted. (See fixed or capped).

Basis Point2017-05-26T13:58:54+00:00

A basis point is 1/100th of 1%. For example the difference between a loan at 9.00% and a mortgage at 9.12% is 12 basis points.

Base Rate (BBR)2017-05-26T13:59:47+00:00

Also known at the Bank of England Base Rate. The Bank of England Base Rate is the main interest rate for the UK. It is set by the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Bank of England every month. The MPC consists of a group of independent experts appointed by the Bank of England who meet at the beginning of every month to assess the current economic situation and decide if the Base Rate should go up, come down or remain the same. The rate tends to be changed by a quarter of a percentage point at a time.
Website: www.bankofengland.co.uk


The process of declaring an individual bankrupt. Bankruptcy can be discharged within 12 months, but remains on your credit rating for seven years and limits a person’s ability to borrow.

Bank Rate2017-05-26T14:00:56+00:00

The basic interest rate set by the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England.

Audited Figures2017-05-26T13:29:06+00:00

These are a set of business accounts that have been ratified by an accountant. Self employed people may need to provide 3 years worth of figures checked by an auditor to be able to get a mortgage.


Income protection cover for loss of earnings caused by accident, sickness, or unemployment. See Accident, Sickness and Unemployment Insurance for more.

Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA)2017-05-26T13:30:27+00:00

As the professional and regulatory body for UK residential letting agents, ARLA has 1,800 offices around the country. Members must demonstrate a thorough knowledge of their profession and good business practices and comply with a code of practice laid out by ARLA. They must also have professional indemnity insurance to cover themselves in the event of a complaint by a consumer. Website: https://www.arla.co.uk/

Association of Mortgage Intermediaries (AMI)2017-05-26T13:31:09+00:00

This is the trade body for UK mortgage brokers. It is a not-for-profit organisation funded by its members and industry supporters. AMI presents the collective view of its membership to regulator the Financial Services Authority. AMI is aligned to the Association of Independent Financial Advisers (AIFA), which offers the same services for those brokers whose remits extend beyond mortgages alone. Websites: www.a-m-i.org.uk, www.aifa.net

Association of Home Information Pack Providers (AHIPP)2017-05-26T13:31:37+00:00

AHIPP is the body set up to represent organisations that provide Home Information Packs (HIPs), a Government initiative fully implemented on 14 December 2007 to speed up the homebuying process. The organisation has established a code of conduct, which its members must abide by, along with a redress regime for consumers. Website: www.hipassociation.co.uk Learn more about Home Information Packs in our Moving Home section.

Asking Price2017-05-26T13:32:10+00:00

This is the initial starting price for which the property owner is looking to sell their property.

Arrears Fee2017-05-26T13:33:00+00:00

Charges for any late payments. See late payment fee.


A late payment, or a payment after the event, for example, most salaries are paid “monthly in arrears” – i.e. the first payment is one month after commencement of work.

Arrangement Fees2017-05-26T13:34:32+00:00

The same as reservation, booking and product fees. A fee charged by a lender for setting up the loan. Normally payable upon completion but may sometimes be added to the loan. Learn more about arrangement fees on our mortgage fees page.


See Annualised Percentage Rate.

Applied or Nominal Interest Rate2017-05-26T13:36:58+00:00

Rate used to calculate interest due.

Application Fee2017-05-26T13:37:58+00:00

Any charges made for an application.


The process of applying for credit, or other products. The vast majority of credit applications need to be made in writing, although it may be possible for some services, such as an overdraft extension, to be arranged over the phone. Even internet based credit applications will usually require you to sign documents before the application is finalised.

Annuity Mortgage2017-05-26T13:39:29+00:00

Another term for a capital & interest repayment mortgage.

Annualised Percentage Rate (A.P.R)2017-05-26T13:40:34+00:00

An explanation to identify the true cost of borrowing and a standard in order to provide a method of comparing costs of different loans. It is a legal requirement that a true APR figure is provided with any loan.

Annual Bonus2017-05-26T13:41:38+00:00

A bonus paid annually on an endowment mortgage which is dependent on the performance of the investment fund being used to repay your mortgage.

Agreement In Principle2017-05-26T13:42:09+00:00

This means you have been accepted for a mortgage or other financial product, but it will depend on issues such as a valuation report and confirmation of employment.

Affidavit Swear Fee2017-05-26T13:42:56+00:00

A fee charged when a mortgage lender is required to swear an affidavit. This is a written legal statement to a solicitor in connection with mortgage arrears.


The amount of your mortgage/loan. See also Cash Advance.

Administration Charge2017-05-26T13:44:13+00:00

Some lenders will reserve a proportion of the fee charged for the valuation to cover their own costs. If an application does not proceed, this part of the valuation fee may not be refunded, even if the valuation has not taken place. See valuation fee.

Additional Security2017-05-26T13:45:02+00:00

When a mortgage exceeds a certain loan-to-value, lenders may require additional security. The simplest form of additional security is a single mortgage loan-to-value, however other security such as cash or shares may be accepted as security.

Additional Principal Payment2017-05-26T13:46:11+00:00

An extra payment each month to help reduce a debt.

Accident, Sickness and Unemployment Insurance2017-05-26T13:47:31+00:00

Insurance cover arranged by the borrower to protect against inability to meet mortgage payments. Unemployment cover is restricted to cover certain events only. Exclusions to this insurance include dismissal due to professional misconduct or taking voluntary redundancy. The accident and sickness cover does not cover any act of self-injury or any injury related to the use of alcohol or drugs.

Accident Insurance2017-05-26T13:48:36+00:00

Insurance that covers you if you suffer certain injuries, such as loss of a limb or vision.


A positive response to an offer. Acceptances may be ‘conditional’, ‘express’, ‘implied’ or ‘qualified’, depending on the circumstances of the deal and whether there are any further mitigations, conditions or requirements.

Acceleration Clause2017-05-26T13:50:27+00:00

Allows the lender to collect the balance of a loan if a borrower misses one or more payments.

Ability To Pay2017-05-26T13:51:31+00:00

A way of working out how creditworthy a borrower is, by estimating how much they will have left to make payments on a mortgage after other deductions have been made from gross income.

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