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Understanding the jargon around credit cards and banking can help you make the most of your credit card, so we’ve put together a glossary of the most commonly used terms for you.

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128-Bit encryption
The highest level of encryption provided by major internet browsers today. 128-bit encryption is more than 300 x 1024 times more secure than 40-bit encryption.

3D Secure
3D Secure is a free service that protects your online credit and debit card payments. By registering and creating a personal password it means only you can use your cards online. To find out more and register for this service go to the 'Manage Account' tab within Online Card Services and click on the 3D Secure link. Once registered you’ll have access to your payments that’ve been authenticated with 3D Secure.


Additional cardholder
A person who’s issued with a credit card to use on the main cardholder's account, but isn’t responsible for paying the balance on the account.

Annual fee
The amount some companies charge once per year for using their card. Not all cards have this charge.

Anti-virus software
Software installed on your computer that protects you against online viruses.

APR (Annual Percentage Rate)
This is the Annual Percentage Rate and is calculated to include both the cost of the credit and any associated charges over a 12 month period. APR is calculated the same way by lenders allowing customers to compare different products.

A document or program that’s attached to an email.

Approved transactions for which funds have been set aside. Once a transaction’s gone through the credit card system, the pending amount will be replaced by an actual charge. If the charge is cancelled and not processed through the credit card system, the pending transaction will be removed from your account around 30 days after it was authorised.

Available credit
Your current credit limit less your current outstanding balance and any authorised but pending transactions (including temporary authorisations).


Balance transfer
Credit card companies like MBNA offer balance transfers, so you can move outstanding balances to another card. A fee is normally charged for this service, usually as a percentage of the amount you want to transfer. Please refer to the terms and conditions of your credit card for your balance transfer fees.

A program that lets the user browse internet pages such as Google Chrome or Firefox.

A method by which frequently used or useful web pages can be remembered so you can return to them at a later date.

Business days
Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm, excluding bank holidays or other public holidays. They’re sometimes called working days.


Card purchase
A purchase you make using your credit card.

County court judgment (CCJ)
If an individual is owed money by someone who fails to pay them, they can apply to the County Court for judgment to claim the money. The court will issue a CCJ if they agree the amount due is (other than a cash advance, money transfer, balance transfer or credit card cheque). A CCJ will be recorded by the court register for 6 years and will show on the credit file of the person who owed the money.

Credit agreement
A credit agreement is a legally binding agreement between a creditor (a financial institution who issues your credit card or loan etc.) and an individual under which the creditor provides credit to that individual. The credit agreement sets out the conditions associated with providing the credit, including the interest to be paid.

Credit card issuer
The bank, building society or company that issues your credit card. The issuer may have an arrangement with another organisation to put that organisation's logo onto the card.

Credit card verification code (CVC)
The CVC code is a unique feature of Visa and Mastercard cards and adds a layer of security. It includes a three digit number on the back of your card (usually the last three digits on the signature strip).

Credit card cash back
Some cards offer a rewards programme where you can earn cash back on card purchases you make.

Cash advances
The process for obtaining cash or cash substitute with your credit card. As an MBNA customer, you can receive cash advances against your available credit in one of five ways: Over the counter withdrawal - present your credit card and identification at any bank that accepts Mastercard® or Visa® credit cards. ATM Cash Withdrawal – use your MBNA credit card’s 4-digit personal identification number (PIN) at thousands of ATMs anywhere that displays the Mastercard® and Visa® logos. Purchase of non-sterling currency or travellers cheques Gambling transactions Electronic transfers (other than a balance transfer or money transfer) Fees are charged for cash advances. See your terms and conditions for details.

Cash advance rate
The rate of interest charged for using the card for cash advances. There’s usually a fee charged for cash advances, and interest is charged from the date of withdrawal.

CFS (Common Financial Statement)
A document which captures the customer's income, asset and expenditure (IA&E) detail in a similar way across the credit industry.

Chip and PIN
A four-figure number which is provided for your use only. You’ll have to use it for all retail transactions or cash withdrawals. (For purchases up to £30, you may be able to pay by contactless).

A 'cookie' is a set of information sent to your browser by a web server. Cookies allow information to be stored in and retrieved from your browser. They make surfing easier, faster, more personal, and more efficient. You can set your browser to warn you before you accept cookies or not accept them at all. Check your (advanced) browser settings. But keep in mind some secure sites, including Online Card Services, won't work if you don't accept their cookies.

Consumer Credit Act (CCA)
The CCA 1974 covers the content and form of credit agreements, how lenders calculate annual percentage rates (APR), their procedures relating to events of default, termination or early settlement, and credit advertising. Section 75 also gives you extra protection on items costing between £100 and £30,000 paid for by credit card.

All MBNA credit cards – and some issued by other lenders – come with contactless technology as standard. It means you can simply tap your card on the reader rather than using your PIN to pay for transactions up to £30.

Credit Reference Agency
A credit reference agency is an independent organisation that holds information about consumers or businesses (or both) to help lenders decide whether to give them credit. The three main credit reference agencies in the UK are Experian, Equifax and Callcredit.

Credit scoring
A system which is used to decide whether to provide you with a card, and what your credit limit should be. Credit scoring works by awarding ‘points’ to the information you provide on your application form and to the information recorded on your credit report (held by a credit reference agency). For more information on managing your credit effectively browse our Credit Card Guides pages.

Credit file
A credit file is the information a credit reference agency holds about you. It covers everything from voters roll information to how you pay your credit cards, loans and mortgage. Information goes back six years and every time you apply for credit, a credit search is registered on your credit file.

Credit limit
The maximum amount you may borrow by spending on the card set by the lender. If you go over this limit, your card may be refused and you’ll normally have to pay over limit charges.

Refunds and payments applied to your account. One example of a refund is a merchant credit for an item or items you return to them.

Current pending transactions
Transactions that have been approved, for which funds have been set aside. Once a transaction is transmitted through the credit card system, the pending amount will be replaced by an actual charge. If the charge is cancelled and not processed through the credit card system, the pending transaction will be removed from your account.


Debit card payment
A payment made to your credit card with your debit card.

Default notice
A notice that must be sent to any customer who’s breached their credit agreement before certain action can be taken. It sets out what the breach is, what must be done or paid to correct it, the date by which this must be done, and the consequences of failing to comply with the notice (what steps the creditor can take).

To transfer a copy of a file from another computer or website to your computer.


An electronic form used to request additional services or changes to your account. The contents of an e-form are encrypted to protect your information and give you more security.

Electoral register
The electoral register is a list of everyone who’s registered to vote. It’s also known as an ‘electoral roll’ or ‘voters roll’ and is used to verify your address when applying for credit.

Eligibility check
A check that’s carried out by a lender to assess whether or not an applicant meets the eligibility criteria for a particular product.

A way to ensure the privacy and security of your personal information when transmitted across the Internet. Encryption is the process of transferring information from one system to another without anyone but the intended recipient being able to see it. Consumers should make sure encryption’s used when sending sensitive information. Secure pages have a closed padlock at the bottom of their window.


An online document that answers the most frequently asked questions on a certain subject. You can view our FAQs at

A network security system used to stop unauthorised access attempts to a computer or device.

Full credit application
A full credit application is where an individual completes and submits a full credit card or loan application. A search will be carried out against their credit file, which will register as a full credit application search.



An accomplished technical computer operator who breaks into computers or networks for illegal purposes.

Handling fee
A fee charged for certain transactions, for example balance transfers and money transfers. They’re usually a percentage of the amount transferred.

Hide or show inactive accounts
If you’ve got more than one account registered with the same User ID in Online Card Services, and one or more are inactive, this application gives you the opportunity to view them. For example, when you report a lost card, we’ll close that account and open a new one to replace it. Your new credit card will automatically be shown within your Online Card Services 'My Accounts' screen. You can then use the same user name and password to access your Online Card Services account. This feature allows you to view historical information about the old account and you can hide or show these accounts when you log into Online Card Services.


I&E (Income & expenditure) form
A form used to assess a customer's financial situation.

Identity protection insurance
A form of insurance that covers you in the event of identity theft.

Identity theft
Identity theft is the crime of impersonating someone for a financial or criminal gain. The most common form is account takeover, where criminals get access to credit cards and/or accounts you already have and spend on those accounts.

Individual voluntary arrangements (IVA)
An IVA is a legally binding agreement between an individual and those they owe money to (creditors). It does not apply to secured debt, i.e. with their mortgage provider. The agreement sets out a formal debt repayment plan, where the individual will be expected to pay what they can afford outside reasonable living costs. It’s designed to help people in financial difficulties to make a formal proposal to settle their unsecured debt, and has to be set up by a licensed professional called an Insolvency Practitioner.

The amount you'll pay on any money you still owe after the interest-free period each month.

Interest-free period
The time between you buying something on a credit card and date interest begins to accrue from that transaction.

Introductory rate
Many providers offer special introductory rates for new customers. For example, an introductory rate of 0% on balance transfers, which then reverts to a higher standard interest rate after a certain time - usually at the end of the promotion period.

IP address
A unique numbered address that’s used to identify a computer on the internet. E.g. IP 123.345.456.


Joint account holder (certain accounts only)
A joint account holder is jointly and severally liable for the account. This means both the joint and main account holders have equal authority on the account, so they can both change the address or request a credit limit increase, for example.


A word you might use to search for something on the internet. For example, searching the web for the keywords "internet banking" will help you find this site.


Last payment date
The date the last payment was received on your account.

A link will take you from one internet site to another or to another page on the same website with just a click of your mouse. Links can be textual or graphical and will usually be underlined and in a different colour from the rest of the text on your screen. A graphic link usually has a frame around it.

Log in/Log off
The act of connecting to or disconnecting from the internet or a specific website.


Macro virus
A virus attached to common computer applications such as Microsoft Word.

Main cardholder
The person responsible for the repayment of the account balance. This person is listed first on the account.

Manage account
A secure way for you to request specific services and changes to your account. You can usually make your selection from a number of choices, depending on the status of your account.

Minimum payment
This is the contractual minimum amount you must pay off each month. Generally, this is a percentage of the credit card statement balance. If you only pay the minimum it could take you a long time to pay off your balance. We recommend you pay more than the minimum payment.

Money transfer
Transferring money from your credit card to your current account. A fee will be charged for this service so please refer to the terms and conditions of your credit card.


No statement generated
When there is no activity on your account and you have a zero balance for a specific month, no statement will be generated.

Non-sterling transaction
An amount some companies charge when you use the card abroad, due to the cost of converting the currency into sterling.

Notice of sum in arrears
A notice sent to a customer when they have failed to make two consecutive minimum payments.


Outstanding balance
The total amount you owe on your card.

Overdue amount
The total amount of scheduled monthly payments that’s not been received by the required due dates, in accordance with your MBNA credit card agreement.


A word or code known only to a particular user so only they can access a secure website (usually requested along with a user name).

Payment due date
The date on which your next payment’s due. At least your minimum payment must be cleared onto your account before this date to keep within your MBNA credit card agreement. Any payments received after the due date will be subject to late fees.

Payment holiday
A month in which a minimum payment isn’t required. Interest will continue to be added your account.

An attempt at identity theft using a fake website that looks identical or similar to the genuine website you’re used to using.

This acronym stands for Personal Identification Number. You must have your PIN when making purchases or to withdraw cash from an ATM machine.

Promotional rate
An advertised interest rate usually linked to an introductory offer on new accounts e.g. 0% on balance transfers for 12 months or 0% on card purchases for 12 months. Some issuers offer promotional rates to existing customers from time to time, not just for new accounts.

Pop up
A small window which appears above a website in the form of an advert.

Posting date
The date a transaction is posted to your account. This date may be later than the transaction date.


Quotation search
A search carried out at a credit reference agency that doesn’t register on the individual’s credit file as a full credit application search. Instead, it will be registered as a ‘quotation search’, which lenders will disregard when considering the credit rating / credit score of that individual. It’s also sometimes called a ‘soft search’.


Rate code
This is the code of the rate applied to your transaction.

Reduced payment programme
A reduced payment programme’s offered when a customer’s proved they’re in financial difficulties through an income, asset and expenditure (IA&E) form. The payment’s always less than the minimum payments due on the account.

Retail transaction
A payment for goods you make using your credit card in a high street shop or online (also known as a card purchase).


Secure website
A website where security measures are in place to protect data from unauthorised access. You can only access secure websites by typing in your user name and password, as in Online Card Services.

A computer system that manages and delivers information for client computers.

Any agreement with a customer to accept a payment of less than the outstanding balance, resulting in registering the account as 'partially settled' with the credit reference agencies.

Skimming is a type of credit card fraud. It occurs where criminals place a device to ‘skim’ your credit card details on an ATM or payment machine at a retail premises to make a copy they can use.

Junk email you’ve not requested from the distributor.

Forging emails to acquire a valid password to gain unauthorised access to a computer.

The leading security protocol on the internet today; it allows for the secure transmission of information submitted by a user from a computer, tablet or mobile to a website and vice versa.

Your monthly credit card bill that shows what you've spent, what you owe, the minimum you must pay and the latest date you can pay it by. As it only shows transactions made up until the date the statement was printed, it won’t show any transactions you’ve made after this.

Statement date
The date your credit card issuer compiles, totals and produces the statement of that month's transactions (if any) and outstanding debt. It’s not the date you actually receive the statement nor your payment due date.

Status codes
One of the five account classifications defined below:

- this account is open and you’re able to use your charging privileges as normal.

- this account’s not currently available for charging privileges. For more information, please call us at the number listed on the Contact Us page.

- this account’s been closed and is no longer available for charging privileges. For more information, please call us at the number listed on the Contact Us page.

- this account’s been reported as lost or stolen and is no longer available for charging privileges.

- the charging privileges for this account have been temporarily suspended. For more information, please call us at the number listed on the Contact Us page.


Temporary authorisation
A temporary authorisation is a transaction that’s been approved but hasn’t yet been officially posted to your account. The value of the transaction’s been deducted from your available credit limit and is included within your current balance. Normally, a temporary authorisation converts into a posted transaction but may expire if the merchant doesn’t complete the transaction. If this happens, the transaction will be removed from your balance and available credit limit.

Total minimum payment due
The minimum amount due for that month plus any amounts overdue from previous months' minimum payments.

Transaction date
Usually the date you authorise a merchant or bank to process a transaction on your credit card account.

A computer program or email attachment that appears to be useful but is actually harmful and may include a virus.


Uniform resource locator (URL)
The URL is the 'address' of a Website, such as

User name
A unique name that identifies and authenticates a user in order to allow access to a secure website (usually requested along with a password).


A code written to spread from one computer to the next, damaging hardware or used to access your computer for criminal purposes.


Web browser
A software program that allows you to surf the internet. Popular browsers include Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Opera.

Withdrawal limit
This is the maximum amount of cash you’re allowed to withdraw at an ATM or over the counter in a bank, on any one day. For example, the limit might be £250.