Banking Vocabulary in English

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Banking is an essential part of our daily lives, yet the terminology can be confusing. This article aims to guide you through some key banking vocabulary, providing clear definitions and explanations. Whether you're a student, professional, or just curious, this guide will help you understand the language of finance.

Mastering Banking Vocabulary in English: Loans, Accounts, and Savings


For many people, understanding different types of bank accounts is the first step into the world of personal finance. These terms encompass various ways you can store and manage your money. By grasping these concepts, you'll be able to choose the right account for your needs.

  • Savings Account: a bank account that earns interest; generally used for money that you don't plan to spend immediately.
  • Checking Account: a bank account that allows easy access to your funds; typically used for everyday expenses.
  • Certificate of Deposit (CD): a savings product with a fixed interest rate and term; penalties apply if you withdraw the money early.
  • Joint account: one that two or more people share. It is usually used by couples or people who work together.
  • Money Market Account: a type of savings account with better interest rates and a higher minimum amount.
  • Trust Account: an account managed by one person for the benefit of another; commonly used in estate planning.
  • Business Account: an account used for a business; helps to separate personal and business expenses.
  • Retirement Account: an account for saving money for retirement; offers tax advantages.
  • Student Account: a bank account with features specifically designed for students; may include lower fees.
  • Escrow Account: an account where a third party holds funds; used in transactions where parties need assurance.

Now that you've learned about the essential types of accounts, you're better prepared to navigate the banking world. Remember, each type of account serves different needs and comes with its own set of features and restrictions. Understanding this banking English vocabulary can help you make more informed financial decisions.


Loans play a vital role in financial planning, whether for buying a house, funding education, or starting a business. In this section, you'll learn about different types of loans and their purposes. Knowing these terms will guide you in selecting the best option for your needs.

  • Collateral: an asset or property that a borrower offers as a way to secure a loan. If the borrower fails to repay the loan, the person who gave the money can take the collateral as a form of compensation.
  • Mortgage: a loan that is used to buy real estate and is generally paid back over a long period of time.
  • Personal loan: a loan that is used for personal reasons and usually doesn't need collateral.
  • Auto loan: a loan used to buy a car. Usually, the car is used as protection.
  • Home Equity Loan: a loan that is based on the value of your home. This type of loan is often used to make home changes or buy big things.
  • Student Loan: a loan to pay for school costs that can come from the government or from a private source.
  • Payday loans: short-term loans with high-interest rates that people usually take out when they need money quickly.
  • Business Loan: a loan specifically for business purposes; can be used to start, expand, or sustain a business.
  • Consolidation Loan: a loan that combines multiple debts into one; may simplify payment or reduce interest.
  • Secured Loan: a loan that requires collateral; often has lower interest rates.
  • Unsecured Loan: a loan that doesn’t require collateral; may have higher interest rates.

Understanding the various types of loans gives you the power to make educated borrowing decisions. Each loan type serves a specific purpose and has unique terms and conditions. Before taking out a loan, it's crucial to understand its meaning and know which one best fits your situation.



The realm of credit can be a bit intimidating, but it's a fundamental aspect of modern financial life. This section introduces you to key banking English vocabulary that defines how credit works. With a good understanding of these concepts, you'll be better equipped to manage your credit effectively.

  • Credit card: a card that lets you borrow money up to a certain amount. If you don't pay off your balance every month, you'll have to pay interest on it.
  • Credit score: a number that shows how creditworthy you are. It is based on things like how well you pay your bills and how much debt you have.
  • Credit report: a thorough record of your credit history that lenders use to figure out if you can pay back a loan.
  • Debit card: related to your bank account and lets you use your own money instead of taking it in cash.
  • Credit limit: the maximum amount of money you can borrow with a credit card. The company that gives you the credit card decides what it is.
  • Secured Credit Card: a credit card that costs money and is often used to build or fix credit.
  • Credit counseling: a service that helps people deal with their debt. It is usually offered by non-profit groups.
  • Credit unions: financial cooperatives that are owned by their members. They often have lower fees and better interest rates.
  • Credit Inquiry: when someone asks for your credit report. It can be hard (which affects your credit score) or soft (which doesn't).
  • Balance Transfer: moving a credit card amount from one card to another, usually to get a lower interest rate.

Credit is a multifaceted tool that requires careful management. The terms you've learned here provide insights into how credit functions, from cards to scores to counseling. By understanding these concepts, you can utilize credit to your advantage and avoid common pitfalls.


Investing is a way to grow your wealth over time, but it comes with its own set of unique terms and concepts. In this section, you'll learn the basic banking vocabulary related to various investment options. Familiarity with these terms will support your efforts to invest wisely and achieve financial goals.

  • Mutual Fund: a pool of funds collected from many investors; used to purchase stocks, bonds, or other assets.
  • Stock: ownership in a company; provides potential for profit through dividends and appreciation.
  • Bond: a debt security; you lend money to an entity in exchange for periodic interest payments and the return of the bond's face value.
  • Portfolio: a collection of investments; can include stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and more.
  • Dividend: a payment made to stockholders; represents a share of the company’s profits.
  • Treasury Bond: a government bond; considered low risk as the U.S. government backs it.
  • Real Estate Investment Trust, or REIT: is a company that owns or finances real estate that makes money and lets people invest in real estate markets.
  • Capital gains: the money made when a property is sold and taxed.
  • Exchange-sold Fund or ETF: is a type of investment fund that is sold on stock markets like individual stocks.
  • Annuity: a financial product that provides regular payments; often used for retirement income.

Investments provide opportunities for financial growth and security. The banking vocabulary you've learned in this section is essential for understanding the array of investment choices available to you. Knowledge of these terms will empower you to make informed investment decisions that align with your objectives.

Fees and Charges

Banking often involves various fees and charges that can impact your financial health. This section breaks down common fees, helping you understand what they are and when they might apply. With this information, you'll be able to manage your money more effectively and avoid unnecessary costs.

  • ATM Fee: a charge for using an ATM that is not part of your bank's network; costs vary by bank and location.
  • Overdraft Fee: a fee charged when you spend more money than is in your account; can be avoided by managing your finances carefully.
  • Minimum Balance Fee: a fee for not maintaining a minimum balance in certain accounts; different banks have varying requirements.
  • Late Payment Fee: a fee for paying a bill after its due date; applies to loans, credit cards, and other bills.
  • Annual Fee: a yearly charge for having a credit card; not present on all cards.
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: a fee for making purchases in a foreign currency; varies by bank and card.
  • Early Withdrawal Fee: a penalty for taking money out of an investment or deposit account before a specified date.
  • Wire Transfer Fee: a charge for sending money electronically; often used for large or international transfers.
  • Maintenance Fee: a monthly or annual fee for keeping an account open; can often be waived with minimum balances or other criteria.
  • Return Item Fee: a fee charged if something you deposited, like a check, is returned unpaid; varies by institution.

The world of fees and charges is complex, but understanding these terms puts you in control. Now, you'll be better equipped to identify potential fees and make choices that minimize costs. By being mindful of these charges, you can manage your money wisely and keep more of it in your pocket.


Navigating the complex world of banking doesn't have to be daunting. With this guide, you have a concise and clear reference for many of the common banking vocabulary words you might encounter. Whether you're opening an account, considering a loan, or exploring investment options, understanding these terms will empower you to make informed decisions. The banking vocabulary you've learned here forms the foundation of financial literacy; a valuable skill in today's world.

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jodyJan 16th, 2024