Financial jargon explained

For the first time, Post Office has conducted research into Britain’s understanding of financial jargon. Here, we’ve presented our findings together with some explanations of what key terms mean.

About our research

Our research studied 2,000 nationally representative UK adults to find out what they already knew about financial phrases, in a bid to:

1. Encourage the nation to read up and seek help about any that cause confusion

2. Show that improving financial literacy can help widen the financial options available

3. Understand how Brits choose to use personal loans


Key findings

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Our findings highlight widespread financial confusion with seven in 10 Brits reporting that they feel overwhelmed by the financial jargon used around money and savings.


Half reported not understanding personal loans, APR (Annual Percentage Rate), interest rates, tax codes, dividends, rebates or the stock market.


A further one in six have been caught out when using financial jargon in a social situation without knowing what it meant.


Whilst 44 percent admit they sometimes feel confused when speaking to finance experts – with a fifth not questioning the meaning or jargon in such a situation.

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The importance of financial literacy

”Improving financial literacy will help to widen the range of financial options people have available,” says Naveed Abraham, Senior Product Manager at Post Office., “For example, a personal loan may help Brits with their larger purchases without taking an unnecessary financial risk – whether that is buying a car, extending a home, or paying medical bills. Yet, our research shows that one in five do not consider it an option as they are put off by the confusing jargon around them.”

The research has highlighted the importance of encouraging adults to challenge financial experts on what phrases actually mean – especially as some said they are willing to sign for something they don’t necessarily understand”.

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Financial terms explained


Get clued up on any tricky financial phrases to do with personal loans with these definitions of common terms.

Top personal loans terms Brits don’t understand

1. Unsecured loan ISA

2. Consolidation loans

3. FSA (Financial Services Authority)


Brits are most likely to take out these personal loans:

1. Car loan

2. Home improvement loan

3. Debt consolidation loan

4. Holiday loan

5. Medical bills loan

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