Jargon Buster


Jargon Buster - Vanquis


Account holder

The person or persons responsible for paying the amounts charged to the account. A person can be allowed to use a credit facility as a additional cardholder but not be legally liable for the debt.

Additional cardholder

Most credit card and pre-paid card companies offer the ability to have additional cardholder(s) on an account. However, in the case of a credit card, remember that it is the main account holder who has signed the credit agreement with the credit card company, and who is therefore legally responsible for paying off the spending of all cardholders on the account.

Authorised user

This is a trusted person whom an account holder appoints. They have access to the account with limited abilities to help manage the account on behalf of the account holder. The authorised user is not permitted to use the account card. The account and its balance is still the responsibility of the primary account holder.

APR (Annual percentage rate)

The interest charged on purchases over one year, expressed as a percentage of the amount borrowed. It includes the interest to be paid on the amount borrowed and other compulsory non-interest costs (for example annual fees). The APR does not include any avoidable charges such as late payment fees.



The total amount outstanding n a credit card account that includes borrowing for purchases, cash advances, balance transfers and any interest or charges incurred.

Balance transfer

Where the credit from one credit card account is used to pay off part or all of another debt. The total transfer amount cannot exceed the credit limit of the account that the payment is transferred to. Often credit cardholders will request a balance transfer to take advantage of a promotional or preferential rate on a new or existing account.

Billing cycle

The length of time between credit card statements. Credit card billing cycles are typically around one month in length.


Cash advance

An advance that draws directly against a cardholder’s credit limit, where the service is available. A fee is usually levied by card issuers for an advance, and interest is charged from the date of the advance. Some other transactions such as foreign currency purchases and using a credit card for gambling are treated as cash advances

Consumer Credit Act 1974 (CCA)

The legislation that regulates the consumer credit market in the UK, including credit cards.

CRA (Credit reference agency)

An organisation licensed under the Consumer Credit Act 1974 that holds information about the borrowing habits of people. Financial institutions may contact these agencies for information to help them make various decisions, for example, whether or not to open an account or provide loans or grant credit. Financial institutions share information with the agencies to improve the overall quality of lending decisions.

Credit history

A partial profile of how an individual has paid credit accounts in the past, given within a particular time frame (usually measured in years). It is used as a guide to determine whether or not the applicant is likely to pay future accounts on time, and is used by credit card issuers to decide whether to provide customers with a credit card, and as a guide to set the credit limit on a credit card account (see also Credit record).

Credit limit

The maximum amount of credit issued by a lender. Under some circumstances, a credit card issuer may increase or decrease a credit limit. Where card issuers seek to increase cardholders’ limits cardholders have 30 days to consider the offer and decide whether to decline the increase.

Credit rating

A rating used by banks and other financial institutions making loans, which is used to judge an individual or company's creditworthiness. Credit reference agencies provide credit data to financial institutions that use these data, along with other information about customers, to give points based on how they compare to people who pay their bills and repay loans on time.

Credit record

The information held about a cardholder by a credit reference agency concerning that cardholder's financial status (see also Credit history).

Credit score

This score calculates how well a person or business has handled debt. The higher the number (or score) the better. There are a variety of credit scores using different formulas; what they have in common is that they judge risk and try to predict future behaviour. Factors such as employment, income, credit lines outstanding, debt to income ratio, past payment behaviour factor in to a person's credit score.


A measure of a consumer's past credit behaviour that allows a potential lender to decide whether or not to extend credit to that consumer.


Default charge

Default charges are charges for missed or late payments.

Due date

The date by which your credit card company must have received the minimum repayment owing on your credit card account. If your credit card company does not receive the minimum amount by this date then you may incur a default charge.



Interest rate

The percentage rate at which interest is charged on money that is borrowed or invested. It is expressed as a percentage of the amount borrowed or invested, usually over one year, but could be over one month.

Interest-free period

The period of time customers may be given to pay the outstanding balance in full on their latest statement before interest is charged.

Introductory period

This is the period of time when the introductory annual percentage rate is in effect. The APR may go up after the end of the introductory period.




Over limit Fee

An over limit fee (a over limit charge) is charged to a customer who goes over their credit limit. Going over limit may affect your credit history negatively, even if the customer makes payment to bring themselves back under their credit limit.

One-time passcode

The One-Time Passcode (OTP) service is an additional level of security in Online Banking that allows you to authorise certain transactions.


When buying items from online retailers, you may receive a text message from Vanquis containing a one-time passcode. You will then be prompted to enter this code on-screen before your payment will be taken.



The name given to the practice of sending emails at random purporting to come from a genuine company operating on the Internet, in an attempt to trick customers of that company into disclosing information at a bogus website operated by fraudsters.

PIN (Personal identification number)

A set of characters, usually a four-digit sequence, used by cardholders to verify their identity at a point-of-sale or at a customer-activated device such as a cash machine. The number is generated by the card issuer when the card is first issued and may be changed by the cardholder thereafter.

Promotional rate

The promotional rate is the annual percentage rate charged by the credit card issuer during an initial period. When the promotional period ends, the APR goes to a higher rate.


Section 75

A provision within the Consumer Credit Act 1974 that makes a cardholder's credit card company jointly liable with the merchant for any purchases made on a credit card between £100 and £30,000. This protection does not apply to payments made with credit card cheques.

Summary box

A standard format for providing a brief summary of the key features of a credit card, which is available on all credit card marketing materials and credit card statements. A Summary Box can be used to easily compare different products and to remind cardholders of the features of their credit cards.


Variable interest rate

An interest rate that may change from time to time. For example, a movement in the base rate would usually have an effect on an interest rate.

VbV (Verified by Visa)

The Visa brand name for their service that uses the 3D Secure standard (the technical standard developed by Visa and MasterCard to further secure card transactions over the internet).