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1 Debt Jargon Adverse credit If you fall into arrears or default on a loan or credit agreement, the resulting effect on your credit history is described as having adverse credit. This makes it harder or more expensive to get credit in the future. Adverse credit is also referred to as bad credit, poor credit, impaired credit and non-status. Annual Percentage Rate (APR) This is the actual cost of the interest on a loan or mortgage expressed as a percentage. Nominal APR takes into account the amount of interest calculated over a 12 month period. Effective APR also takes into account compound interest added over the term of the loan so the higher the APR the more you'll pay. Comparing APRs is one way to compare the cost of loans and credit cards. Arrears These are missed, late or underpaid credit repayments. If you fall into arrears, the creditor may take action to recover overdue payments which may culminate in a County Court Judgement (CCJ). Assets Assets are items you own that have a monetary value such as property, car, shares, antiques or savings. Attachment of earnings This is an amount of money that's taken directly from your wages or salary and sent to a creditor by your employer. A creditor may apply to the court for this to happen if you don't pay debts from a CCJ. It is possible to have several attachments of earnings at the same time, which could have a drastic effect on your disposable income and ability to meet basic living costs. Bailiff A person employed by the court to enter your property to repossess or seize your assets to cover your outstanding debts. Bankrupt / bankruptcy Bankruptcy is a legal process that happens when you can't pay off your debts and there are no other suitable debt management options. The Official Receiver takes control of your assets, which may be sold to pay off your debts, during the bankruptcy period. This normally lasts 12 months. Bankruptcy Discharge Notice A notice issued by the court to confirm that your period of bankruptcy is over. Bankruptcy Order An order made by the court to declare your bankruptcy. The order transfers your assets to the control of the Official Receiver.

2 Bankruptcy Petition This is a document that you can file to declare yourself bankrupt, or that's filed against you by a creditor to force you into bankruptcy. Bankruptcy Restrictions Order (BRO) If you're made bankrupt and the Official Receiver thinks you've acted dishonestly or are otherwise to blame, he can ask the court to impose a BRO on you. This extends the terms and restrictions of your bankruptcy for up to 15 years, and could have serious implications for your credit rating, employment prospects and lifestyle. County Court Judgment (CCJ) An order made by a court requiring you to pay what is owed to a specific creditor. Having CCJs will adversely affect your credit rating. Collateral This is property or other assets that your mortgage lender can sell to repay your mortgage if you fall into arrears. Usually, your home will be the collateral on a mortgage and it will be repossessed if you don't keep up your mortgage payments. Consolidation / debt consolidation This is the process of paying off several debts with one arrangement. This could be by repaying them from the proceeds of one larger loan, or using the services of a debt management company so you have only one monthly payment to make. Credit check A credit check looks at your credit file to see what your credit history is like, for example, if you've missed any payments in the past or have had default notices or CCJs awarded against you. A lender uses the information from the credit check to give you a credit rating or credit score. If your credit rating is good enough to meet their criteria, they may lend to you. Credit history / credit record Your credit history is a formal record of your credit repayments. It's held by credit reference agencies like Experian and Equifax. Numbers are used to show the status of each of your past and current debts over the last six years. A row of zeroes means you've made all your monthly repayments on time. The numbers 1 to 7 indicate the number of late or missing payments. 8 indicates a default, normally signalling the end of the credit agreement. Your credit history also includes other information about each of your debts, such as the lender's name, total loan amount and the amount of each monthly payment. Creditor This is a person or company who lends you money that you agree to pay back, such as a bank, building society or Loan Company. Also called a lender. Credit rating / credit score

3 A lender calculates your credit rating to assess how risky it is to lend you money. They'll use your credit history to work this out. Debt The money you owe to a creditor. Debt collection agency A company with relatively limited powers employed by a creditor to chase outstanding debt. Debtor An individual or company who owes money to a creditor and is required to make repayment. Debt Management Plan (DMP) This is an informal agreement with your creditors designed to reduce your monthly debt repayments while still agreeing to repay the debt in full. Debt Relief Order (DRO) This is a form of debt relief introduced by government legislation in 2009 for people in England and Wales. Default Being in default is similar to being in arrears. You'll be in default of your credit agreement if you miss a series of payments, or just one mortgage payment. Default notice A notice issued by a creditor to confirm you've broken the original credit agreement by falling into arrears. Disposable income This is the amount of money that's left over from your net wages or salary after basic living costs such as rent, food, fuel and energy bills have been deducted. If you're having debt problems, a court or debt management company will use your disposable income to work out how much you can afford to repay your creditors each month. Equity Equity is the portion of your home that you own if you're a mortgage holder. It's the difference between the property's value and your outstanding mortgage amount. You may be able to release some or all of this equity to pay off debts or pay for home improvements etc. If you have an IVA in place to repay your debts, you may be obliged to release some equity to repay your creditors, or the term of your IVA may be extended.. See also remortgage.

4 Full and final settlement This is an offer of partial repayment to your creditors. If it's accepted, your creditors will agree to write off the remaining balance so your debts are settled. Gross income The amount of money you earn before tax, national insurance and other deductions such as pension contributions and attachments of earnings are taken off. Guarantor A guarantor is someone who guarantees a loan for you. It's a big risk for someone to take on as they'll have full responsibility for repaying the debt if you default on it. However, it may be the only way for people with adverse credit to obtain a loan or mortgage. Hire purchase (HP) Hire purchase is a form of credit that's often used to buy a car or other expensive item. You repay a set amount each month for a fixed period, after which you own the item outright. If you default on your HP agreement, the lender will usually repossess the item and sell it. You'll then have to pay the difference between the outstanding loan amount and the sale proceeds, usually as a lump sum as the credit agreement will have ended. Individual Voluntary Agreement (IVA) This is a legally-binding arrangement that lets you pay a reduced amount to your unsecured creditors each month for a fixed period, usually five years. After that, the remaining debts are written off Insolvency Service Register A public register listing the names and details of all people and businesses that have been declared bankrupt or otherwise insolvent. If you're made bankrupt or enter into a DRO or IVA, your name will appear in it. Interest / interest rate Interest is the amount of money that's added to your loan each month or year. It's charged by the lender in return for letting you borrow from them. The interest rate you pay may be fixed for the duration of the credit agreement, or vary according to changes in the Bank of England's base rate. Interest rates vary from 0% deals to many thousands of per cent for payday loans and other short term solutions. Insolvent / insolvency You are insolvent if you don't have enough money or assets to meet your credit repayments. Insolvency Service, The This is a government-run organisation that regulates the UK insolvency profession. It also provides public services to support the legal and regulatory framework of insolvency, such as Debt Relief Orders.

5 Lender See creditor. Loan shark This name is given to unauthorised, unlicensed lenders, and sometimes to licensed lenders who are considered to behave unethically. In the case of unlicensed lenders, loan sharks operate illegally, often charging extortionate interest rates or issuing loans that are impossible to repay, and then using violence and intimidation to recover the monies owed. Minimum payment amount / minimum repayment amount You'll normally see this term on credit and store card statements. It's the minimum amount of money they'll accept from you in a particular month, and is usually either 5 or 5% of the outstanding balance, whichever is higher. Whilst it can be tempting to only pay the minimum amount, doing this will take you a long time to pay off your balance in full. Negative equity If you're in negative equity, it means you owe more money on your mortgage than your home is worth. This means you'll still have some mortgage to pay off if you sell your home, and will find it almost impossible to remortgage. Net income The amount of money you receive after your tax, national insurance and other deductions like pension contributions have been taken off your wages or salary. See also disposable income. Official Receiver This is a court official who takes control of your assets when you're declared bankrupt. Payday loans These are short term loans with very high interest rates. Whilst they can be useful as an occasional solution to a temporary cash flow problem, they're highly dangerous if not paid back on time. You could end up owing many times the amount of the original loan and the situation could quickly spiral out of control. Payment break or payment holiday Sometimes, a lender may agree to a payment break to give you some breathing space to get your finances under control. Normally, interest will still accrue during the payment break, but you won't be charged for missing the payments and your credit rating shouldn't be affected. Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) This is a type of insurance policy that's designed to protect your monthly credit repayments if you become ill or are made redundant. Many PPI policies have been mis-sold and are invalid, leaving many policyholders in dire financial straits when their circumstances changed and they could no longer meet their repayments. However, mis-sold PPI premiums can now be reclaimed.

6 Releasing equity See equity. Remortgage / remortgaging A remortgage is the process of paying off an existing mortgage with a new mortgage. You might remortgage to take advantage of a better deal, reducing your monthly payments and increasing your disposable income. Or you could release some equity in your home and make your mortgage larger. The resulting cash can be used to pay off debts or pay for home improvements etc. Repossession If you take out a mortgage or a loan secured on property and don't keep up your repayments, you could be evicted and your property repossessed. The repossessed property will be sold and the proceeds deducted from the balance of the loan. You'll still need to pay off the difference, usually in a lump sum as the credit agreement will have ended. Secured loan This is a type of personal loan that uses the equity in your home as added security for the lender. As a result, you'll normally pay less interest than with an unsecured loan. However, if you default on your loan repayments, you could be evicted and your home repossessed. Settlement figure This is the amount quoted by your lender for a loan to be repaid during the contracted term. Unsecured loan This is a type of personal loan that doesn't offer the lender any security if you default on it. As a result, you'll usually pay a higher interest rate than with a secured loan. If you can't make your repayments, the lender may take you to court, which could result in a CCJ, attachment of earnings or even bankruptcy.

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