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CreditThe granting of money or something else of value in exchange for a promise of future repayment.

Credit bureau
An organization that compiles credit information on individuals and businesses and makes it available to businesses for a fee.

Credit cardA plastic card from a financial services company that allows cardholders to buy goods and services on credit.

Credit rating
An estimate of the amount of credit that can be extended to an individual or business without undue risk.

Credit report
A loan and bill payment history, kept by a credit bureau and used by financial institutions and other potential creditors to determine the likelihood a future debt will be repaid.

Credit union
A cooperative organization that provides financial services to its members.

Creditor
A person, financial institution or other business that lends money.

Debt
Money owed; also known as a liability.

Debt service
Periodic payment of the principal and interest on a loan.

Debit
Charges to an account.

Debit card
A plastic card similar to a credit card that allows money to be withdrawn or the cost of purchases paid directly from the holder's bank account.

Delinquency
The failure to make timely payments under a loan or other credit agreement.

Diversification
The distribution of investments among several companies to lessen the risk of loss.

Dividend
A share of profits paid to a stockholder.

Equity
Ownership interest in an asset after liabilities are deducted.

Face value
The principal amount of a bond, which will be paid off at maturity.

Fair market value
The price a willing buyer will pay and a willing seller will accept for real or personal property.

Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC)
A federally chartered corporation that insures bank deposits up to $100,000.

Finance company
A company that makes loans to individuals.

Financing fee
The fee a lender charges to originate a loan. The fee is based on a percentage of the loan amount; one point is equivalent to 1 percent.

Foreclosure
The legal process used to force the payment of debt secured by collateral whereby the property is sold to satisfy the debt.

401(k) plan
A tax-deferred investment and savings plan that serves as a personal retirement fund for employees.

General obligation bond
A type of municipal bond backed by the full faith and credit of the governmental unit that issues it.

Individual development account (IDA)
A type of savings account, offered in some communities, for people whose income is below a certain level.

Individual retirement account (IRA)
A retirement plan, offered by banks, brokerage firms and insurance companies, to which individuals can contribute each year on a tax-deferred basis.

Industrial bond
A financial instrument issued by businesses primarily to fund expansion or acquisitions.

Interest
A fee for the use of money over time. It is an expense to the borrower and revenue to the lender. Also, money earned on a savings account.

Interest rate
The percentage charged for a loan, usually a percentage of the amount lent. Also, the percentage paid on a savings account.

Investor
An organization, corporation, individual or other entity that acquires an ownership position in an investment, assuming risk of loss in exchange for anticipated returns.

Installment plan
A plan requiring a borrower to make payments at specified intervals over the life of a loan.

Investing
The act of using money to make more money.

Leverage
The ability to use a small amount of money to attract other funds, including loans, grants and equity investments.

Liability
Money an individual or organization owes; same as debt.

Lien
A creditor's claim against a property, which may entitle the creditor to seize the property if a debt is not repaid.

Liquidity
The ease with which an investment can be converted into cash.

Load
The fee a brokerage firm charges an investor for handling transactions.

Loan
A sum of money lent at interest.

Management
fee The fee paid to a company for managing an investment portfolio.

Market value
The amount a seller can expect to receive on the open market for merchandise, services or securities.

Maturity
The time when a note, bond or other investment option comes due for payment to investors.

Money market savings account
A type of savings account offered by a financial institution.

Mortgage
A temporary and conditional pledge of property to a creditor as security for the repayment of a debt.

Municipal bond
A bond issued by cities, counties, states and local governmental agencies to finance public projects, such as construction of bridges, schools and highways.

Mutual fund
A pool of money managed by an investment company.

Net worth
The difference between the total assets and total liabilities of an individual.

Par value
The nominal, or face, value of a stock or bond, expressed as a specific amount on the security.

Pretax
A person?s salary before state and federal income taxes are calculated.

Predatory lending
Targeting loans to elderly, low-income and other people to take advantage of their financial status or lack of financial knowledge.

Prime rate
The lowest interest rate on bank loans, offered to preferred borrowers.

Principal
The unpaid balance on a loan, not including interest; the amount of money invested.

Promissory note A written promise on a financial instrument to repay the money plus interest. 

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