Updated September 2016
Know your APRs from your BACS? There can be 100s of gibberish terms found on bank and credit card statements and utility bills.
This is a full rundown, including table breakdowns of popular gobbledygook, and how to query terms on itemised bills and bank statements if they remain unclear.
In this guide...
A table is below of jargon that you may have come across on your bank or utility statement. We've tried to include as many popular terms as possible – yet this isn't an exhaustive list.
Are acronyms on bills and bank statements the same across the board?
Unfortunately not. As there's no set standard for statement abbreviations, terms are likely to differ slightly across different banks or utility providers. For instance, the long-winded 'Clearing House Automated Payment System' term is referred on a Barclays bank statement as CHAPS, while on a NatWest statement it'll be known simply as CHP.
However, most terms generally follow similar acronyms, so distinguishing between them shouldn't be too difficult.
Jargon found on bank, credit card or utility statements
|Jargon||What it stands for||Description|
|APR||Annual Percentage Rate||
A rate of interest payable over a year. See APR examples.
|BBP or BP||Bill Payment||Payment of a bill|
|BAC or BACS||Bankers' Automated Clearing Services||An electronic system to make payments directly from one account to another. Can take up to 3 working days to clear.|
|BGC||Bank Giro Credit||The deposit of cash or a cheque in a bank branch|
|BSP||Branch Single Payment||Bill or third-party payment made within a branch|
|CDL||Career Development Loan||A Government loan received for career development. See Career Development Loans.|
|CDM||Cash & Deposit Machine||Cash machines which can be used to process pay-ins, bill payments and withdrawals|
|CHG||Charge||Charge regarding a transaction|
|CHP or CHAPS||Clearing House Automated Payment System||Electronic transfer for large payments between accounts sent and received on the same day|
|CHQ||Cheque||Document that orders payment of money from a bank account to another person or organisation|
|COR||Correction||Correction regarding a transaction error|
|CRE||Credit payment||Credit which has been added to your account|
|CSH||Cash||Cash which has been paid into your account|
|CUI||Centralised Unpaid In (Unpaid Cheque)||Cheque that has failed to clear|
|CWP||Cold Weather Payment||Government payment to qualifying households during periods of cold weather. See if you qualify. Benefits check-up.|
|D/D or DDR||Direct Debit||A regular payment of a fixed or variable amount to a third party or some savings accounts|
|DIV||Dividend||A payment to your account from shares you hold|
|DR||Account Overdrawn or Debit Item / Debit balance||An indication on your statement to show that your balance is less than zero. If needed, see Debt Problems.|
|DWP||Department for Work and Pensions||Deposit into your account by the Department for Work and Pensions|
|ERTF||Exchange Rate Transaction Fee||Fee for the use of a card at a cash machine or POS (Point of Sale machine) abroad. You can avoid these in future. See Travel Credit Cards.|
|FPI or FP||Faster Payments Inwards||A 'faster' payment – made using the 'Faster Payments' electronic system – received from another account|
|FPO||Faster Payments Outwards||A 'faster' payment – made using the 'Faster Payments' electronic system – sent to another account|
|IBAN||International Bank Account Number||Usually required for international money transfers when making a payment between international bank accounts. See Sending Money Abroad.|
|IBP||Inter-Branch Payment||Transfer of money between accounts at different bank branches|
|IMO||International Money Order||Used to make payments abroad. See Sending Money Abroad.|
|INT||Interest||Credit or debit on your account associated to interest earned or incurred on your balance|
|ISA||Individual Savings Account||A tax-free savings account. See Top Cash ISAs.|
|ITL||International||Transfer of money from your UK account to an account abroad|
|NDC||Non Dividend Counterfoil||A payment to your account from shares held by you|
|OTR||Online Banking Transaction||Transaction carried out using online banking|
|POC||Post Office Counters||Transaction carried out over a post office counter|
|POS||Point Of Sale/Debit Card Transaction||A purchase made with your debit card, eg, at a retailer|
|REV||Reversal||A standing order or direct debit that has been returned|
|SAL||Salary||Salary payment paid into bank account|
|S/O or STO||Standing Order||A regular payment of a fixed amount from your account to another account or a third party|
|SBT||Screen Based Transaction||A transaction processed by a bank branch on your behalf|
|TEL||Telephone Banking||A transaction carried out using telephone banking|
|TFR||Transfer||Transfer of money between accounts|
|TLR||Teller Transaction||A transaction carried out using a bank branch|
|UNP||Unpaid||A cheque credited to your account that was not paid in at your account-holding branch or bank|
There are organisations that may leave a mark on your bank, credit card or utility statement by using unique acronyms that only apply to themselves or specific products or services. Based on our forum search traffic, we've included a few terms below.
|Organisation||Jargon||What it stands for||Description|
|Adyen||Adyen UK LTD||Electronic payment processing company||Adyen processes payments on behalf of companies selling products and services via the internet|
|Bet365||B365 Internet||Bet365||Online gambling website|
|Buchanan Clark and Wells||BCW||BCW debt collection company||Debt collection agency. If needed, see Debt Problems.|
|Cassava Enterprises or Virtual MaSerIRL.||Cassava Enterprises or Virtual MaSerIRL||888.com / Wink Bingo||Online gambling website|
|Coral||Cl Ltd||Coral Interactive||Online gambling website|
|Vodafone||CFU||Call Forward Unconditional||Found on Vodafone statements. A charge relating to incoming calls that have been redirected to another number.|
|Domestic & General Services||DGS/RPP||Domestic & General Services / Regular Payment Plan Direct Debit||Warranty provider taking a direct debit from your account. See Free Warranties.|
|UK Government||EESA||Enhanced Employment Support Allowance||You can get EESA if your ability to work is limited by ill-health or disability. See if you qualify: Benefits check-up.|
|JPMorgan Bank and PayPal||JPMC||A payment to a PayPal account from your bank||PayPal use JPMorgan (a large American bank) to process PayPal transactions|
|Paddy Power||PP Phones||Paddy Power||Online gambling website|
|Payforit||Payforit||Brand allowing consumers to make payments via their phone on behalf of several mobile providers||Some MoneySavers have experienced issues with Payforit: see Feedback thread.|
|Qmee||Qmee||Cashback provider||Third-party provider offering cashback for internet searches and signing up to online offers. See Make money online.|
|Scarlet Marketing Services||SMS Legal||Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) reclaiming company||Cold-calling PPI-reclaiming company charging up to 30% of reclaimed funds. See how to Reclaim PPI for free.|
|William Hill||WHO Internet||William Hill Online||Online gambling website|
This guide is meant to help identify hard-to-understand acronyms. As such, any organisations included in our glossary above does not signify an endorsement from MoneySavingExpert.com.
If you find a term on your bank statement or itemised bill that isn't listed above, it's important to check it. The best way is to contact your bank or utility provider directly via secure messaging on internet banking or over the telephone.
If choosing the latter, ensure you don't pay through the nose by using premium-rate phone numbers. See our Say No To 0870 guide.
Alternatively, you may wish to post or search our forums where fellow MoneySavers may be able to help.
There are two main reasons why you should check your bank statements...
With contactless spending on the rise and online statements becoming the norm, keeping track of your finances should be easier than spending simply with cash. That said, getting on top of a budget is a challenging task for many and if you can't identify statement acronyms, it's nigh impossible.
Unclear jargon can cause issues with budget planning – a headache if on the verge of going overdrawn, for example.
Fraud is often difficult to spot before it's too late. However, never assume an unknown charge on your bank statement is legit. Fraudsters can hit you for large or low amounts, and often favour hard-to-understand jargon to commit their crimes. Grasping bank-statement terms is an effective way of spotting suspicious transactions early.
Thankfully, banks are legally responsible for refunding fraudulent transactions, unless it's proved a customer was grossly negligent. However, it's important to check yourself, as unauthorised transactions not identified may never be refunded. See ID Fraud Protection.