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What's a SWIFT? What is BIC? Finance jargon explained

Curious about APR, SWIFT and BIC and many more? Let's decode finance jargon together.

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If you're new to the fascinating world of finance, fear not, we're here to help. With plenty of new terms and concepts being thrown around, it's common to miss out on some of the basics. In this article, we're taking a look at some of the most frequently used acronyms and terms, making them accessible and relatable. Allow this trusty guide to help you navigate through the often perplexing world of financial jargon.

APR (Annual Percentage Rate)

Let's start with APR. This acronym stands for Annual Percentage Rate and represents the annualized interest rate you're charged for borrowing money. When you borrow funds, the APR includes not only the interest but also any additional fees associated with the loan or credit product. 

Understanding APR allows you to compare different borrowing options and evaluate the true cost of credit. So, next time you consider taking out a loan, pay attention to the APR to make an informed decision.

ATM (Automated Teller Machine)

ATM stands for Automated Teller Machine and is the nifty device that allows you to withdraw cash from your bank account. While ATMs are becoming less and less used in one’s daily life, their advantage lies in traveling. With your Tap card directly linked to multiple fiat and crypto options, simply hop over the border and withdraw the local currency.

BACS (Bankers Automated Clearing Services)

BACS stands for Bankers Automated Clearing Services. It may sound like a mouthful, but essentially, it's a system in the UK that enables electronic payments to be made from one bank account to another.

It simplifies transferring money between accounts, making transactions more efficient. Whether you're paying your bills, sending money to a friend, or making regular payments to the bank's head office, BACS ensures that your money moves smoothly and securely.

BIC (Business Identifier Code)

BIC stands for Business Identifier Code or Bank Identifier Code, and the purpose of BIC is to provide a reliable and internationally recognized identification system for banks and financial institutions, streamlining transactions and enhancing overall efficiency in the financial industry.

When you're conducting business with different banks, especially when dealing with the bank's head office, the BIC serves as a unique code that ensures accurate identification of the institutions involved. So, next time you're sending funds to the bank head office, rest assured that the BIC code helps facilitate a seamless and secure transaction.


Now, let's dive into dividends. A dividend is a distribution of a company's earnings to its shareholders. When a company makes a profit, it may choose to share a portion of those profits with its shareholders as dividends. So, if you're a shareholder, dividends are a way for you to earn a little extra income from your investments. 

FCA (Financial Conduct Authority)

The FCA is like the financial watchdog of the UK. FCA stands for Financial Conduct Authority. These folks are the regulators who keep an eye on the financial industry to protect consumers like you. Their job is to ensure that financial institutions play by the rules, maintain industry stability, and promote healthy competition among financial services. They've got your back when it comes to financial matters.

The SEC is the American equivalent (see later). 


Equity refers to the ownership interest in a company or property. When it comes to stocks, it represents the shares of a company that you, as an investor, own. In the real estate world, equity is the difference between the market value of a property and the outstanding mortgage. So, think of equity as your stake in something valuable.

Exchange rate

Ah, the ever-fluctuating exchange rate. It's like a dance between currencies. An exchange rate refers to the value at which one currency can be converted into another. It's crucial to understand exchange rates, especially if you're dealing with international transactions. They can impact the cost of goods and services when you're using different currencies. 

IBAN (International Bank Account Number)

IBAN stands for International Bank Account Number. It's a unique identifier for bank accounts used internationally. Think of it as a special code that helps simplify international money transfers. With an IBAN, you can easily identify an account internationally, making those international payments a little smoother. 

The structure of an IBAN may vary slightly between countries, but it typically consists of a country code, two check digits, and a series of alphanumeric characters representing the bank and account details. The length of an IBAN can also vary, ranging from country to country.

ISA (Individual Savings Account)

The ISA is a tax-advantaged savings and investment account that allows individuals to save and invest money without paying income tax or capital gains tax on the returns generated within the account. This is the United Kingdom equivalent to a Roth IRA (see later). 


Inflation occurs when the general price level of goods and services goes up over time. It means that your money can buy you less than it used to. So, keep an eye on inflation, my friends, as it affects your purchasing power and how much you get for your hard-earned cash.

Mutual Fund

Let's explore mutual funds. A mutual fund is like a financial potluck. It's an investment vehicle that pools money from multiple investors to create a diversified portfolio of stocks, bonds, or other securities. It's a way for investors like you to access a professionally managed portfolio without the hassle of selecting individual securities.

Net Income

Net income, also known as net profit or earnings, is a common financial term. It represents the amount of money left over after deducting all expenses from a company's total revenue or one's bank account. It's a key measure of financial performance and tells you how much money a company is making after all the bills are paid.


Remittance is the art of sending money across borders. Remittance simply refers to the transfer of money from one country to another. Whether you're an individual sending money to family overseas or a business making international payments, remittance is the term that captures those cross-border transactions. Remittance is most commonly used to describe the funds that are sent from someone in a developed country to family members in an undeveloped country. 

Roth IRA

A Roth IRA is a retirement savings account that packs a tax-free punch. You contribute money to this account with after-tax dollars, and the beauty of it is that qualified withdrawals in retirement, including both your contributions and earnings, are tax-free. It's a popular choice for those seeking tax-free growth potential in their retirement savings. 

SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission)

The Securities and Exchange Commission is the regulatory agency in the United States responsible for enforcing federal securities laws. The SEC's primary mission is to protect investors, maintain fair and efficient markets, and facilitate capital formation. It regulates and supervises various entities, including securities exchanges, securities brokers and dealers, investment advisers, and mutual funds.

SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area)

SEPA, or Single Euro Payments Area, is a game-changer for euro transactions within the EU and EEA. It harmonises payment systems, making international transactions as easy as domestic ones.

With SEPA payments, you can send and receive payments in euros across participating countries without dealing with separate systems and extra fees. It promotes efficiency, speed, and cost-effectiveness, simplifying your financial life and fostering economic integration.

SWIFT code (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications)

SWIFT stands for the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication. It's like the secret communication network that banks use to send secure financial messages, including payment instructions, to one another. Swift codes ensure that these messages reach their destinations reliably and efficiently. Think of a SWIFT code as the superhighway of financial communication, connecting financial institutions worldwide.


Understanding financial terms is crucial because it empowers you to make informed decisions about your money. Whether you're planning for the future, managing investments, or simply striving for financial stability, grasping key terms is essential. Armed with knowledge, you can navigate the financial landscape with confidence and make wise choices that align with your goals.


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