Consumer Financial Definitions
Lapin Law Offices offers the following definitions for commonly used consumer financial words and phrases related to consumer protection, credit cards, banking, debt collection, telephone or facsimile solicitations or credit reports. They are used in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and other consumer protection laws and regulations. The definition of some words and phrases may be different depending on the situation or applicable law. These definitions are primarily obtained from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the FDCPA, the TCPA and the FCRA.
Account Agreement: The contract governing your open-end credit account, it provides information on changes that may occur to the account.
Account History: The payment history of an account over a specific period of time, including the number of times the account was past due or over limit.
Account Holder: Any and all persons designated and authorized to transact business on behalf of an account. Each account holder’s signature needs to be on file with the bank. The signature authorizes that person to conduct business on behalf of the account.
Accrued Interest: Interest that has been earned, but not yet paid.
Adjustable-Rate Mortgages (ARMS): Also known as “variable-rate mortgages.” The initial interest rate is usually below that of conventional fixed-rate loans. The interest rate may change over the life of the loan as market conditions change. There is typically a maximum (or ceiling) and a minimum (or floor) defined in the loan agreement. If interest rates rise, so does the loan payment. If interest rates fall, the loan payment may as well.
Amortization: The process of reducing debt through regular installment payments of principal and interest that will result in the payoff of a loan at its maturity.
Annual Percentage Rate (APR): The cost of credit on a yearly basis, expressed as a percentage.
Annual Percentage Yield (APY): A percentage rate reflecting the total amount of interest paid on a deposit account based on the interest rate and the frequency of compounding for a 365-day year.
Application: Under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), an oral or written request for an extension of credit that is made in accordance with the procedures established by a creditor for the type of credit requested.
Appraisal: The act of evaluating and setting the value of a specific piece of personal or real property.
Authorization: The issuance of approval, by a credit card issuer, merchant, or other affiliate, to complete a credit card transaction.
Automated Clearing House (ACH): A computerized facility used by member depository institutions to electronically combine, sort, and distribute inter-bank credits and debits. ACHs process electronic transfers of government securities and provided customer services, such as direct deposit of customers’ salaries and government benefit payments (i.e., social security, welfare, and veterans’ entitlements), and preauthorized transfers.
Automatic Telephone Dialing System (a/k/a autodialer, auto-dialer, autocaller, auto caller, robodialer, robo dialer: As used by the TCPA, equipment which has the capacity: (1) to store or produce telephone numbers to be called, using a random or sequential number generator; and (2) to dial such numbers.
Availability Date: A Bank’s policy as to when funds deposited into an account will be available for withdrawal.
Available Balance: The balance of an account less any hold, uncollected funds, and restrictions against the account.
Available Credit: The difference between the credit limit assigned to a cardholder account and the present balance of the account.
Balance Transfer: The process of moving an outstanding 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 Statement: Periodically the bank provides a statement of a customer’s deposit account. It shows all deposits made, all checks paid, and other debits posted during the period (usually one month), as well as the current balance.
Bankrupt: A bankrupt person, firm, or corporation has insufficient assets to cover their debts. The debtor seeks relief through court proceedings to, depending on the type of bankruptcy, to either have debts eliminated or to work out a payment schedule, usually for a lower amount, to pay off the debts. For individuals, the most common types of bankruptcy are
Bankruptcy: The legal proceedings by which the affairs of a bankrupt person are turned over to a trustee or receiver for administration under the bankruptcy laws. For individuals, the most common type of bankruptcies are: Chapter 7, which is for a complete elimination of all debts listed and may require the surrender of property; and Chapter 13, in which property is retained you debts, either in full or in part, over a three to five-year period. A bankruptcy can be voluntary, in which the debtor files a petition claiming an inability to meet financial obligations and a willingness to be declared bankrupt, or involuntary, in which one or more creditors of an insolvent debtor file a petition to have the debtor declared bankrupt.
Billing Cycle: The time interval between the dates on which regular periodic statements are issued.
Billing Date: The month, date, and year when a periodic or monthly statement is generated. Calculations have been performed for appropriate finance charges, minimum payment due, and new balance.
Billing Error: A charge that appears on a periodic statement associated with an extension of credit (such as a credit card) that was not authorized by the cardholder, is not properly identified, and was not accepted by the cardholder.
Business Day: Any day on which offices of a bank are open to the public for carrying on substantially all of the bank’s business.
Canceled Check: A check that a bank has paid, charged to the account holder’s account, and then endorsed. Once canceled, a check is no longer negotiable.
Cease and Desist Letter: A letter requesting that a company stops the activity mentioned in the letter.
Certified Check: A personal check drawn by an individual that is certified (guaranteed) to be good. The face of the check bears the words “certified” or “accepted,” and is signed by an official of the bank or thrift institution issuing the check. The signature signifies that the signature of the drawer is genuine, and sufficient funds are on deposit and earmarked for payment of the check.
Charge-off: The balance on a credit obligation that a lender/borrower no longer expects to be repaid and writes off as a bad debt.
Check: A written order instructing a financial institution to pay immediately on demand a specified amount of money from the check writer’s account to the person named on the check or, if a specific person is not named, to whoever bears the check to the institution for payment.
Checking Account: A demand deposit account subject to withdrawal of funds by check.
Closed-End Credit: Generally, any credit sale agreement in which the amount advanced, plus any finance charges, is expected to be repaid in full by a specified date. Most real estate and automobile loans are closed-end agreements.
Closed-End Loan: Generally, any loan in which the amount advanced, plus any finance charges, is expected to be repaid in full by a specified date. Most real estate and automobile loans are closed-end agreements.
Closing Costs: The expenses incurred by sellers and buyers in transferring ownership in real property. The costs of closing may include the origination fee, discount points, attorneys’ fees, loan fees, title search and insurance, survey charge, recordation fees, and the credit report charge.
Collateral: Assets that are offered to secure a loan or other credit. For example, if you get a real estate mortgage, the bank’s collateral is typically your house. Collateral becomes subject to seizure on default.
Collected Funds: Cash deposits or checks that have been presented for payment and for which payment has been received.
Collection Agency: A company hired by a creditor to collect a debt that is owed. Creditors typically hire a collection agency only after they have made efforts to collect the debt themselves, usually through letters and telephone calls.
Collection Items: Items-such as drafts, notes, and acceptances-received for collection and credited to a depositor’s account after payment has been received. Collection items are usually subject to special instructions and may involve additional fees. Most banks impose a special fee, called a collection charge, for handling collection items.
Co-Maker: A person who signs a note to guarantee a loan made to another person and is jointly liable with the maker for repayment of the loan. (Also known as a Co-signer.)
Communication: As used by the FDCPA, the conveying of information regarding a debt directly or indirectly to any person through any medium, such as mail or telephone.
Consumer: As used by the FDCPA, any natural person obligated or allegedly obligated to pay a debt.
Consumer Credit Counseling Service: A service which specializes in working with consumers who are overextended with debts and need to make arrangements with creditors.
Consumer Credit Protection Act (CCPA): Is federal statute (15 U.S.C.A. § 1601 et seq.) intended to protect people who borrow money. It helps assure meaningful disclosure of credit terms and to protect consumers against inaccurate and unfair credit billing and credit card practices. It also extends these protections to many types of personal leases. It was amended in 1978 to include the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
Consumer File : As used by the FCRA, all of a person’s information recorded and retained by a consumer reporting agency regardless of how the information is stored.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB): The federal agency that holds primary responsibility for regulating consumer protection in the United States.
Consumer Report: Under the FCRA, it means any written, oral, or other communication of any information by a consumer reporting agency bearing on a consumer’s credit worthiness, credit standing, credit capacity, character, general reputation, personal characteristics, or mode of living which is used or expected to be used or collected in whole or in part for the purpose of serving as a factor in establishing the consumer’s eligibility for (a) credit or insurance to be used primarily for personal, family, or household purposes; (b) employment purposes; or (c) any other purpose authorized under the FCRA.
Consumer Reporting Agency: An agency that regularly collects or evaluates individual consumer credit information or other information about consumers and sells consumer reports for a fee to creditors or others. Typical clients include banks, mortgage lenders, credit card companies, and other financing companies. As defined by the FCRA it means: Any person, company or entity which, for monetary fees, dues, or on a cooperative nonprofit basis, regularly engages in whole or in part in the practice of assembling or evaluating consumer credit information or other information on consumers for the purpose of furnishing consumer reports to third parties, and which uses any means or facility of interstate commerce for the purpose of preparing or furnishing consumer reports.
Conventional Fixed Rate Mortgage: A fixed-rate mortgage offers you a set interest rate and payments that do not change throughout the life, or “term,” of the loan. A conventional fixed-rate loan is fully paid off over a given number of years-usually 15, 20, or 30. A portion of each monthly payment goes towards paying back the money borrowed, the “principal”; the rest is “interest.”
Co-Signer: An individual who signs the note of another person as support for the credit of the primary signer and who becomes responsible for the obligation. (Also known as a Co-maker.)
Credit Application: A form to be completed by an applicant for a credit account, giving sufficient details (residence, employment, income, and existing debt) to allow the seller to establish the applicant’s creditworthiness. Sometimes, an application fee is charged to cover the cost of loan processing.
Credit Bureau: An agency that collects individual credit information and sells it for a fee to creditors so they can make a decision on granting loans. Typical clients include banks, mortgage lenders, credit card companies, and other financing companies. Also commonly referred to as a consumer reporting agency or a credit reporting agency.
Credit Card Account Agreement: A written agreement that explains the terms and conditions of the account, credit usage and payment by the cardholder, and duties and responsibilities of the card issuer.
Credit Card Issuer: Any financial institution that issues bank cards to those who apply for them.
Credit Limit: The maximum amount of credit that is available on a credit card or other line of credit account.
Credit Repair Organization: A person or organization that sells, provides, performs, or assists in improving a consumer’s credit record, credit history or credit rating (or says that that they will do so) in exchange for a fee or other payment. It also includes a person or organization that provides advice or assistance about how to improve a consumer’s credit record, credit history or credit rating. There are some important exceptions to this definition, including many non-profit organizations and the creditor that is owed the debt.
Credit Report: A detailed report of an individual’s credit history prepared by a credit bureau and used by a lender in determining a loan applicant’s creditworthiness.
Credit Score: A number, roughly between 300 and 800, that measures an individual’s credit worthiness. The most well-known type of credit score is the FICO score. This score represents the answer from a mathematical formula that assigns numerical values to various pieces of information in your credit report, which is used to determine the risk whether a borrower will repay a debt.
Creditor: As defined by the FDCPA, any person, company or entity who offers or extends credit creating a debt or to whom a debt is owed, but such term does not include any person to the extent that he receives an assignment or transfer of a debt in default solely for the purpose of facilitating collection of such debt for another.
Cut-Off Time: A time of day established by a bank for receipt of deposits. After the cut-off time, deposits are considered received on the next banking day.
Debit Card: A debit card allows the account owner to access their funds electronically. Debit cards may be used to obtain cash from automated teller machines or purchase goods or services using point-of-sale systems. The use of a debit card involves immediate debiting and crediting of consumers’ accounts.
Debit: An account entry representing money you owe a lender or money that has been taken from your deposit account.
Debt: As defined by the FDCPA it is any obligation or alleged obligation of a consumer to pay money arising out of a transaction in which the money, property, insurance or services which are the subject of the transaction are primarily for personal, family, or household purposes, whether or not such obligation has been reduced to judgment.
Debt Collector: Any person or entity who regularly collects debts. These debt may be owned by another person or entity or may be owned by the debt collector, who purchased the debt. The FDCPA defines a “debt collector” as “any person, company or entity who uses any instrumentality of interstate commerce or the mails in any business the principal purpose of which is the collection of any debts, or who regularly collects or attempts to collect, directly or indirectly, debts owed or due or asserted to be owed or due another.”
Debt Elimination Scheme: A debt elimination scheme is a plan that is advertised as a way for an individual to eliminate various types of debt simply by paying someone a small fee compared to the amount of debt to be eliminated. These schemes are fraudulent. As a result of using a fraudulent scheme, individuals will lose money, could lose property, will damage their credit rating, and possibly incur additional debt.
Debtor: Someone who owes monies to another party.
Debt-to-Income Ratio (DTI): The percentage of a consumer’s monthly gross income that goes toward paying debts. Generally, the higher the ratio, the higher the perceived risk. Loans with higher risk are generally priced at a higher interest rate.
Decedent: A deceased person, ordinarily used with respect to one who has died recently.
Deferred Payment: A payment postponed until a future date.
Delinquency: A debt that was not paid when due.
Derogatory Information: As used in credit reporting, data received by a creditor indicating that a credit applicant has not paid his or her accounts with other creditors according to the required terms.
Direct Deposit: A payment that is electronically deposited into an individual’s account at a depository institution.
Direct Dispute: A dispute submitted directly to the furnisher about the accuracy of information in your consumer report that relates to an account or other relationship you have with the furnisher.
Disclosures: Certain information that Federal and State laws require creditors to give to borrowers relative to the terms of the credit extended.
Do Not Call Registry or Do Not Call List: A list created by Federal law 15 U.S.C. § 6101 et. seq and administered by the FTC that is intended to give consumers an opportunity to limit the telemarketing calls they receive. The law provides specific exceptions to a blanket do-not-call ruling. Separate laws and regulations apply to autodialed or robocalls.
Draft: A signed, written order by which one party (the drawer) instructs another party (the drawee) to pay a specified sum to a third party (the payee), at sight or at a specific date. Typical bank drafts are negotiable instruments and are similar in many ways to checks.
Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT): The transfer of money between accounts by consumer electronic systems-such as automated teller machines (ATMs) and electronic payment of bills-rather than by check or cash. (Wire transfers, checks, drafts, and paper instruments do not fall into this category.)
Employment Purposes: As used by the FCRA in connection with a consumer report means a report used for the purpose of evaluating a consumer for employment, promotion, reassignment or retention as an employee.
Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA): Federal laws that prohibits creditors from discriminating against credit applicants on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age, or because an applicant receives income from a public assistance program.
Escrow: A financial instrument held by a third party on behalf of the other two parties in a transaction. The funds are held by the escrow service until it receives the appropriate written or oral instructions-or until obligations have been fulfilled. Securities, funds, and other assets can be held in escrow.
Established Prior Business Relationship: As used by the TCPA, a prior business relationship exists where the consumer has purchased a product from a seller. This relationship cannot be established merely by having made a prior solicitation call.
Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 (FACT Act or FACTA): The purpose of this Act is to help consumers protect their credit identities and recover from identity theft. One of the key provisions of this Act is that consumers can request and obtain a free credit report once every 12 months from each of the three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). AnnualCreditReport.com provides consumers with the secure means to request their free credit report.
Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA): A Federal law, established in 1971 and revised in 1997, that gives consumers the right to see their credit records and correct any mistakes. The FCRA regulates consumer credit reporting and related industries to ensure that consumer information is reported in an accurate, timely, and complete manner. The Act was amended to address the sharing of consumer information with affiliates.
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA): The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is a Federal statute enacted in 1978 and attached as Title VIII of the Consumer Credit Protection Act. It has many purposes including: eliminate abusive practices in the collection of consumer debts promote fair debt collection practices; provide consumers with an avenue for obtaining validation of debt information in order to ensure the information’s accuracy; and to dispute debts.
Federal Communications Committee (FCC): A federal agency that regulates interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable.
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC): A government corporation that insures the deposits of all national and State banks that are members of the Federal Reserve System.
Federal Reserve System (Fed): The central bank of the United States that regulates the U.S. monetary and financial system.
Federal Trade Commission (FTC): The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) promotes consumer protection as well as the elimination and prevention of unfair business practices.
FICO: A public corporation that offers numerous products and services involving predictive analytics solutions, which uses mathematical formulas to predict consumer behavior and determine risk. FICO is mostly known for its “FICO score,” which is the most common credit rating score used by the major credit reporting bureaus, banks, credit card companies and other lends. FICO was originally called the “Fair, Isaac and Company.” Since 2009, it has simply been known as “FICO”.
Finance Charge: The total cost of credit a customer must pay on a consumer loan, including interest. The Truth in Lending Act requires disclosure of the finance charge.
Financial Regulatory Agency: An organization authorized by statute for ensuring the safe and sound operation of financial institutions chartered to conduct business under that agency’s jurisdiction.
First Mortgage: A real estate loan which is in a first lien position, taking priority over all other liens. In case of a foreclosure, the first mortgage will be repaid before any other mortgages.
Fixed Rate Loan: The interest rate and the payment remain the same over the life of the loan. The consumer makes equal monthly payments of principal and interest until the debt is paid in full.
Fixed Rate Mortgage: A mortgage with payments that remain the same throughout the life of the loan because the interest rate and other terms are fixed and do not change.
Float: Can mean either: 1) the amount of uncollected funds represented by checks in the possession of one bank but drawn on other banks; or 2) the time that elapses between the day a check is deposited and the day it is presented for payment to the financial institution on which it is drawn.
Foreclosure: A legal process in which property that is collateral or security for a loan may be sold to help repay the loan when the loan is in default.
Forged Check: A check on which the drawer’s signature has been forged.
Form 1099-C: A tax form used by the United States Internal Revenue Service. The IRS typcallytypically considers forgiven or canceled debt as income. Creditors and debt collectors who agree to accept at least $600 less than the original balance are required to file 1099C forms with the IRS. The debt collectors are also required to send debtors notice of the filing. Taxpayers are required to report that portion of forgiven debt as “income” on their federal income tax returns.
FOTI Decision: A court ruling that under the FDCPA every voicemail message left by a debt collector for a debtor must include a FDCPA mini-miranda and a meaningful disclosure of the debt collector’s identity.
Fraud Alert: A key provision of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 is the consumer’s ability to place a fraud alert on their credit record. A consumer would use this option if they believe they were a victim of identity theft. The alert requires any creditor that is asked to extend credit to contact the consumer by phone and verify that the credit application was not made by an identity thief.
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA): A Federal law that mandates that all the records created and kept by Federal agencies in the executive branch of government must be open for public inspection and copying. The only exceptions are those records that fall into one of nine exempted categories listed in the statute.
Frozen Account: An account on which funds may not be withdrawn until a lien is satisfied and a court order or other legal process makes the account available for withdrawal (e.g., the account of a deceased person is frozen pending a court order distributing the funds to the new lawful owners).
Furnisher: An entity that provides information about a consumer to a consumer reporting agency for inclusion in a consumer report.
Garnishment: A legal process that allows a creditor to remove funds from your bank account to satisfy a debt that you have not paid. If you owe money to a person or company, they can obtain a court order directing your bank to take money out of your account to pay off your debt.
Guaranteed Student Loan: An extension of credit from a financial institution that is guaranteed by a Federal or State government agency to assist with tuition and other educational expenses. The government agency is responsible for paying the interest on the loan and paying the lender to manage it. The government agency also is responsible for the loan if the student borrower defaults.
Guarantor: A party who agrees to be responsible for the payment of another party’s debts should that party default.
Hold: Used to indicate that a certain amount of a customer’s balance may not be withdrawn until an item has been collected, or until a specific check or debit is posted.
Home Equity Loan: A home equity loan allows you to tap into your home’s built-up equity, which is the difference between the amount that your home could be sold for and the amount that you still owe. Homeowners often use a home-equity loan for home improvements, to pay for a new car, or to finance their child’s college education. The interest paid is usually tax-deductible. Because the loan is secured by your home’s equity, if you default, the bank may foreclose on your house and take ownership of it.
Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC): A line of credit secured by the equity in a consumer’s home. It can be used for home improvements, debt consolidation, and other major purchases. Interest paid on the loan is generally tax deductible (consult a tax advisor to be sure). The funds may be accessed by writing checks against the line of credit or by getting a cash advance.
Inactive Account: An account that has little or no activity; neither deposits nor withdrawals having been posted to the account for a significant period of time.
Individual Account: An account in the name of one individual.
Insufficient Funds: When a depositor’s checking account balance is inadequate to pay a check presented for payment.
Interest: The term interest is used to describe the cost of using money, a right, share, or title in property.
Interest Rate: The amount paid by a borrower to a lender in exchange for the use of the lender’s money for a certain period of time. Interest is paid on loans or on debt instruments, such as notes or bonds, either at regular intervals or as part of a lump sum payment when the issue matures.
Investigative Consumer Report: As used by the FCRA, a consumer report or portion thereof in which information on a consumer’s character, general reputation, personal characteristics, or mode of living is obtained through personal interviews with neighbors, friends, or associates of the consumer reported on or with others with whom he is acquainted or who may have knowledge concerning any such items of information. However, such information shall not include specific factual information on a consumer’s credit record obtained directly from a creditor of the consumer or from a consumer reporting agency when such information was obtained directly from a creditor of the consumer or from the consumer.
Joint Account: An account owned by two or more persons. Either party can conduct transactions separately or together as set forth in the deposit account contract.
Kiting: Writing a check in an amount that will overdraw the account but making up the deficiency by depositing another check on another bank. For example, mailing a check for the mortgage when your checking account has insufficient funds to cover the check, but counting on receiving and depositing your paycheck before the mortgage company presents the check for payment.
Late Charge: The fee charged for delinquent payment on an installment loan, usually expressed as a percentage of the loan balance or payment. Also, a penalty imposed by a card issuer against a cardholder’s account for failing to make minimum payments.
Lender: An individual or financial institution that lends money with the expectation that the money will be returned with interest.
Lien: Legal claim against a property. Once the property is sold, the lien holder is then paid the amount that is owed.
Line of Credit: A pre-approved loan authorization with a specific borrowing limit based on creditworthiness. A line of credit allows borrowers to obtain a number of loans without re-applying each time as long as the total of borrowed funds does not exceed the credit limit.
Loan Contract: The written agreement between a borrower and a lender in which the terms and conditions of the loan are set.
Loan Fee: A fee charged by a lender to make a loan (in addition to the interest charged to the borrower).
Loan Modification Provision: A contractual agreement in a loan that allows the borrower or lender to permanently change one or more of the terms of the original contract.
Loan Proceeds: The net amount of funds that a lending institution disburses under the terms of a loan, and which the borrower then owes.
Maturity: The date on which the principal balance of a loan, bond, or other financial instrument becomes due and payable.
Medical Information : As defined by the FCRA: Information or data, whether oral or recorded, in any form or medium, created by or derived from a health care provider or the consumer, that relates to: (a) the past, present, or future physical, mental, or behavioral health or condition of an individual; (b) the provision of health care to an individual; or (c) the payment for the provision of health care to an individual.
Mini-Mirandai: Under Section 807(11) of the FDCPA, when a debt collector initially contacts a debtor, the debt collector must inform the debtor that they are a debt collector and that the purpose of the call is to collect a debt. The Mini-Miranda warnings have nothing to do with criminal activity or criminal law.
Minimum Balance: The amount of money required to be on deposit in an account to qualify the depositor for special services or to waive a service charge.
Minimum Payment: The minimum dollar amount that must be paid each month on a loan, line of credit, or other debt.
Missing Payment: A payment that has been made but not credited to the appropriate account.
Mortgage: A debt instrument used in a real estate transaction where the property is the collateral for the loan. A mortgage gives the lender a right to take possession of the property if the borrower fails to pay off the loan.
Mortgage Loan: A loan made by a lender to a borrower for the financing of real property.
Mortgagee: The lender in a mortgage loan relationship.
Mortgagor: The borrower in a mortgage loan relationship. (Property is used as collateral to make payment.)
Official Check: A check drawn on a bank and signed by an authorized bank official. (Also known as a cashier’s check.)
Open-End Credit: A credit agreement (typically a credit card) that allows a customer to borrow against a preapproved credit line when purchasing goods and services. The borrower is only billed for the amount that is actually borrowed plus any interest due. (Also called a charge account or revolving credit.)
Outstanding Check: A check written by a depositor that has not yet been presented for payment to or paid by the depositor’s bank.
Overdraft: When the amount of money withdrawn from a bank account is greater than the amount actually available in the account, the excess is known as an overdraft, and the account is said to be overdrawn.
Overdraw: To write a check for an amount that exceeds the amount on deposit in the account.
Overlimit: An open-end credit account in which the assigned dollar limit has been exceeded.
Past Due Item: Any note or other time instrument of indebtedness that has not been paid on the due date.
Payday Loans: A small-dollar, short-term loan that a borrower promises to repay out of their next paycheck or deposit of funds.
Payee: The person or organization to whom a check, draft, or note is made payable.
Paying (Payor) Bank: A bank upon which a check is drawn and that pays a check or other draft.
Payment Due Date: The date on which a loan or installment payment is due. It is set by a financial institution. Any payment received after this date is considered late; fees and penalties can be assessed.
Payoff Statement: A formal statement prepared when a loan payoff is contemplated. It shows the current status of the loan account, all sums due, and the daily rate of interest.
Payoff: The complete repayment of a loan, including principal, interest, and any other amounts due. Payoff occurs either over the full term of the loan or through prepayments.
Payor: The person or organization who pays.
Periodic Rate: The interest rate described in relation to a specific amount of time. The monthly periodic rate, for example, is the cost of credit per month; the daily periodic rate is the cost of credit per day.
Preauthorized Payment: A system established by a written agreement under which a financial institution is authorized by the customer to debit the customer’s account in order to pay bills or make loan payments.
Prepayment: The payment of a debt before it actually becomes due.
Prepayment Clause: A clause in a mortgage lending instrument allowing the mortgagor borrower to pay off part or all of the unpaid debt before it becomes due.
Prepayment Penalty: A penalty imposed on a borrower for repaying the loan before its due date. (In the case of a mortgage, this applies when there is not a prepayment clause in the mortgage note to offset the penalty.)
Previous Balance: The cardholder’s account balance as of the previous billing statement.
Principal Balance: The outstanding balance on a loan, excluding interest and fees.
Reconciliation: The process of analyzing two related records and, if differences exist between them, finding the cause and bringing the two records into agreement.
Refinancing: A way of obtaining a better interest rate, lower monthly payments, or borrow cash on the equity in a property that has built up on a loan. A second loan is taken out to pay off the first, higher-rate loan.
Renewal: A form of extending an unpaid loan in which the borrower’s remaining unpaid loan balance is carried over (renewed) into a new loan at the beginning of the next financing period.
Residual Interest: Interest that continues to accrue on your credit card balance from the statement cycle date until the bank receives your payment.
Revolving Credit: A credit agreement (typically a credit card) that allows a customer to borrow against a preapproved credit line when purchasing goods and services. The borrower is only billed for the amount that is actually borrowed plus any interest due. (Also called a charge account or open-end credit.)
Service Charge: A charge assessed by a depository institution for processing transactions and maintaining accounts.
Signature Card: A card signed by each depositor and customer of a bank which may be used as a means of identification. The signature card represents a contract between the bank and the depositor.
Stale-Dated Check: Presented to the paying bank 180 days (6 months) or more after the original issue date. Banks are not required by the Uniform Commercial Code to honor stale-dated checks and can return them to the issuing bank unpaid. The maker of a check can discourage late presentment by writing the words “not good after X days” on the back of the check.
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.
Stop Payment: An order not to pay a check that has been issued but not yet cashed. If requested soon enough, the check will not be debited from the payer’s account. Most banks charge a fee for this service.
Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA): The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA) was enacted in 1991. The TCPA is codified as 47 U.S.C. 227. The TCPA restricts telephone solicitations (i.e., telemarketing) and the use of automated telephone equipment (auto-dialers). The TCPA limits the use of automatic dialing systems, artificial or prerecorded voice messages, text messages, and fax machines.
Telephone Facsimile Machine: As used by the TCPA, it means equipment which has the capacity (a) to transcribe text or images, or both, from paper into an electronic signal and to transmit that signal over a regular telephone line, or (b) to transcribe text or images (or both) from an electronic signal received over a regular telephone line onto paper.
Telephone Solicitation: As used by the TCPA, the initiation of a telephone call or message for the purpose of encouraging the purchase or rental of, or investment in, property, goods, or services, which is transmitted to any person, but such term does not include a call or message (a) to any person with that person’s prior express invitation or permission, (b) to any person with whom the caller has an established business relationship, or (c) by a tax exempt nonprofit organization.
Terms: The period of time and the interest rate arranged between creditor and debtor to repay a loan.
Time Deposit: A time deposit (also known as a term deposit) is a money deposit at a bank that cannot be withdrawn for a certain “term” or period of time. When the term is over it can be withdrawn, or it can be held for another term. The longer the term, the better the yield on the money. Generally, there are significant penalties for early withdrawal.
Truth in Lending Act (TILA): The Truth in Lending Act is a Federal law that requires lenders to provide standardized information so that borrowers can compare loan terms. In general, lenders must provide information on what credit will cost the borrowers, when charges will be imposed, and what the borrower’s rights are as a consumer.
Uncollected Funds: A portion of a deposit balance that has not yet been collected by the depository bank.
Uniform Commercial Code (UCC): A set of statutes enacted by the various States to provide consistency among the States’ commercial laws. It includes negotiable instruments, sales, stock transfers, trust and warehouse receipts, and bills of lading.
Unsolicited Advertisement: As used by the TCPA, any material advertising the commercial availability or quality of any property, goods, or services which is transmitted to any person without that person’s prior express invitation or permission, in writing or otherwise.
Usury Rates: The maximum rate of interest lenders may charge borrowers. The usury rate is generally set by State law.
Usury: Charging an illegally high interest rate on a loan.
Variable Rate: Any interest rate or dividend that changes on a periodic basis.