16 Common Banking Terms You Should Know

banking terms

Banking terms and concepts are many and can sometimes be difficult to comprehend, even for the industry professionals. However, since banking is a critical part of our business and personal life, it is helpful for consumers to learn some common banking terms. Here are the 10 essential banking terms every consumer should know:

1. Overdraft

Yes, you can called it “over withdraw”. This occurs when a customer withdrew more money from their bank account than the balance in the account. In simple term it is another form of short term borrowing which attracts fees. This often costly charges can be avoided by keeping extra money in the account as a buffer. For individuals, you will not often need bank overdraft if you have practiced some personal savings.

2. Collateral

This is typically a tangible asset used to secure a bank loan. If you fail to make payments on the amount you borrowed or accrued interest, the bank may be able to seize and sell the property used as collateral. An example of collateral would include land, house, car, stock and businesses machines.

3. Working capital

It is more like an accounting term, but banker usually ask business borrowers to confirm their working capital need. It is used to describe the amount, by which the business’s current assets exceed its current liabilities. Some people describe it as the funds the firm has available to run its day-to-day business operations. Working capital can be well managed if one understand the working capital conversion cycle ( see below).

4.Working Capital conversion cycle

It describe the dynamics of short-term cash flows that occur during the normal operations of a business. The working capital conversion cycle is the circular process starting  with purchase of inventories on credit, then to sell that inventories in cash or credit and finally to carry the resulting accounts receivable that are the proceeds of the inventory. When the receivables are paid, the firm can then use the proceeds to either repay the debts or to start the cycle all over again by purchasing new inventories. It is desirable to keep the cycle as short as possible as it increases the effectiveness of working capital.

5. Warehouse receipt

A written evidence of goods held in a warehouse operated by a third party. The goods may be in a public (i.e., general), private, or field warehouse. Also known as collateral receipts. The receipts may be negotiable or non-negotiable. Negotiable warehouse receipts are bearer instruments. A negotiable warehouse receipt can be sold to a buyer who then owns the inventory covered by the receipt.

6. Money Laundering

This is when money gained from a crime is put into a bank or any other legal business activities so that it can be accessed safely by the criminals and terrorists. It makes the proceeds of illegal activities easier to get to.

7. Standing Order

A regular fixed payment made out of one account to another account or beneficiary. Standing order has helped many people to transfer funds from their current account to saving account a soon as they receive salary. It can also be used by business to make payment into an escrow account when their main account reach certain limit.

8. Available bank balance

The amount of money in your account that is available for immediate use. If the account has no uncleared cheque or blocked fund, then the available balance should be the same as the total or book balance.

9. Book Balance

The book balance is the term banks use to describe the amount of money in the account before any adjustments for cheques that have not yet been cleared. It is sometimes called the ledger balance.
When other banks cheque are deposited in a bank, it does not get available immediately. It takes about two to three business days in some countries.

10. Variable interest rate

An interest rate that may fluctuate (adjust) during the term of a loan, line of credit, or deposit account. Rates may adjust due to changes in an index rate (such as the prime rate) or reference rate like LIBOR. The next time you think of taking loan, check for the type of rate. Opposite to this is the fixed interest rate.

11. Time or fixed deposit

An agreement to deposit a stated amount in the bank for a fixed length of time during which a fixed rate of interest will be paid (unless disclosed as a variable rate). Penalties are typically levied on the interest if the funds are withdrawn before the end of the agreed-upon period. It is one of the common banking investment product in the Gambia.

12. Inactive account

Sometimes called dormant account. It is an account in which there have not been any transactions for an extended period of time (does not include bank own entries). In some cases, when there has been no activity in the account within a period specified ( 10 years in the Gambia) by Central bank, the law requires the bank to return the account over to the central bank as unclaimed funds.

13. Debit card

A plastic card that deducts money from the designated bank account to pay for goods or services. A debit card can also be used at ATMs to withdraw cash. The most common card are marked Visa or MasterCard and are accepted almost anywhere with no interest is charged.

14. Cost of Funds

The interest rate paid by financial institutions for the funds that they deploy in their business. The cost of funds is one of the most important input costs for a financial institution, since a lower cost will generate better returns when the funds are deployed in the form of short-term and long-term loans to borrowers. The spread between the cost of funds and the interest rate charged to borrowers represents one of the main sources of profit for most financial institutions.

15. Trust Receipt

Notice of the release merchandise to a buyer from a bank, with the bank retaining the ownership title to the released assets. In an arrangement involving a trust receipt, the bank remains the owner of the merchandise, but the buyer is allowed to hold the merchandise in trust for the bank, for manufacturing or sales purposes. The buyer of merchandise subject to a trust receipt is required to maintain the merchandise, and any proceeds’ of the sale of the merchandise, for remittance to the bank. In this way, the buyer is permitted use of the merchandise for their business activities, but the bank’s interest in the ownership of the merchandise is protected.

16. Cash Reserve

Bank reserves are the currency deposits which are not lent out to the bank’s clients. A small fraction of the total deposits is held internally by the bank or deposited with the central bank. Minimum reserve requirements are established by central banks in order to ensure that the financial institutions will be able to provide clients with cash upon request.
The main purpose of holding reserves is to avoid bank runs and generally appear solvent. Central banks place these restrictions on banks, because the banks can earn a much larger return on their capital by lending out money to clients rather than holding cash in their vaults or depositing it with other institutions.

Whether you visit the banks for small business relationship, personal banking or even for interview, it will be nice to understand few banking terms.

No to you

Well, these are the 16 banking terms we have gathered, but feel free to share your own banking terms or ask for any clarification via the comment box.


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