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If you’ve ever struggled to decipher what the abbreviations and bank jargon on your bank statement actually mean, you’re not alone. Most of us feel like this. Most banking providers use lots of abbreviations to shorten the length of our statements, but unless you know what they mean it can be hard to truly understand your finances.
At MoneyMagpie we’re here to help! We’ve put together a super easy guide explaining what all the common bank jargon we see really means.
Bear in mind that there are loads of abbreviations out there and not all banking providers use the same jargon. If you’re at all concerned about any transactions you see on your bank statement, or you still don’t know what the abbreviation means, then it’s best to contact your banking provider directly.
Increasingly in our digital age it is becoming easier than ever to spend. Every purchase is just a tap of the card away. Worryingly, large sums can disappear from our accounts without us actually realising quite how much we’ve spent.
It’s so important to track what you’re spending, and where you’re spending it, and you can’t do this without regularly checking your bank statements. At a minimum you should do this once a month, but depending on your circumstances it may be beneficial to check your statements more frequently.
Understanding what is going on in your bank account helps you stay on top of your budget, and helps you spot any fraudulent transactions as early as possible. Fraud isn’t always that easy to spot, but knowing your bank jargon can help you detect what is, and what isn’t, a legitimate transaction.
Citizen’s Advice give really useful advice on what to do if you spot fraudulent activity on your account, and what your rights are.
The following list outlines some of the most common abbreviations typically found on a bank statement. Let us know in the comments if you have any others you would like to know the meaning of!
BAC is an abbreviation for Bankers’ Automated Clearing. A BAC payment on your statement means you’ve used an electronic system to make a payment directly from one account to another.
BGC stands for Bank Giro Credit – when this appears on your statement it means you’ve deposited cheques or cash at a branch.
This is a very common bank statement abbreviation but it isn’t actually very clear what it means. Simply, BMACH is a brand of ATM so if you see this it actually just means you’ve made an ATM transaction.
BP is an abbreviation for Bill Payment. Sometimes you may also see another version of this, BP/SO, which stands for Bill Payment and Standing Order, i.e. you’ve paid a bill by standing order.
A BSP, or Branch Single Payment, is a bill or third payment that’s made in a branch or building society. Most providers are now keen for people to make these transactions online as it saves both time and money.
CHG stands for Charge and means you’ve been charged for a transaction you’ve made.
CUI is an abbreviation for Centralised Unpaid In. You’ll see this on your statement when a cheque has failed to clear. You should get in touch with your bank or building society as soon as possible to find out what has happened and how it can be rectified.
This is a very common abbreviation that almost all of us will see on our bank statements at some point. It signals a regular payment of either a fixed or variable amount that you make to a savings account or third party.
The cost of direct debits can add up, it’s always worth checking whether you can still afford them, or whether you still need the subscriptions in the first place.
If you see DIV on your bank statement it means you’ve received a dividend payment from shares you hold.
Department of Work and Pensions – you’ll see this if the DWP deposits money into your account, for example if you receive benefits.
An ERTF is an Exchange Rate Transaction Fee. This will show on your bank statement when you use your card at a cash machine abroad.
Be careful – some pricey fees can apply when you spend abroad so check your account’s T&Cs to make sure you know how much you may be charged.
FPI as an abbreviation means Faster Payment Inwards. An FPI payment is made using the ‘Faster Payment’ electronic system, so you’ll usually see this when you’ve received money from another account.
This is an International Bank Account Number and is usually required to make international money transfers.
An IMO is an International Money Order and means you’ve made a payment abroad.
An abbreviation for interest, this will appear on credit to your account associated to interest earned on your balance.
INT’L refers to a foreign purchase you may have made. For example, if you use your card when you’re abroad or purchase an item from overseas.
Be wary of charges – some banks have extortionate fees and charges for foreign transactions so make sure you read your account’s T&Cs before splashing out!
This abbreviation is usually followed by the owner of a vending machine, and it means you’ve made a payment at a vending machine.
Online Banking Transaction – this will occur on transactions carried out using online banking services. For example, if you open a Citibank checking account online and use their online service, you might see OTR on your bank statements.
You might see POS as an abbreviation all over your statement, but don’t worry! POS simply means Point of Sale, and refers to payments that you’ve made on your debit card.
Rev is short for Reversal, this may appear on your statement when a standing order or direct debit has been returned.
This stands for Statement Line – if you see this you’ll know it’s an individual statement that’s important for your bank.
S/O stands for Standing Order. This is when a regular payment for a fixed sum of money is deducted from your bank account.
This one just means that a transfer of money has been made between bank accounts.
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Disclaimer: MoneyMagpie is not a licensed financial advisor and therefore information found here including opinions, commentary, suggestions or strategies are for informational, entertainment or educational purposes only. This should not be considered as financial advice. Anyone thinking of investing should conduct their own due diligence.