Glossary: C

This section explains terms you might have seen in other parts of this site or in communication you have received from creditors.

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Calendar Month
Definition: Calendar Month

The period of time from the same date one month to the same date the next month; so it can be 28, 30 or 31 days long (or 29 in a leap year).

Cancellation Rights/Cooling-off Period
Definition: Cancellation Rights/Cooling-off Period

A period of time after a person signs a contract, but before the contract becomes binding. In this period of time, you can change your mind about the contract without any penalty. Details of the time limit are usually explained in the terms and conditions of a contract and can vary depending on the type of agreement.

There are some legal rights you should know about:
•    The Consumer Credit Act provides a 10-day cooling-off period for all contracts and agreements, but this right can be given up by signing a waiver.
•    The cooling-off period for online sales starts on the date the contract is signed concluded. This means you can return an item or cancel a service within seven fourteen days.

For more information, see

Definition: Capital

The original amount you borrowed in a loan (also called “principal”). It can also mean the amount of money a person saves, invests or borrows before it gains interest or is lost. Think of it as the amount of money you started with.

Capital Gains Tax
Definition: Capital Gains Tax

A government tax that must be paid on any profits you make up to a certain amount. For more information, see Revenue – Guide to Capital Gains Tax.

Car Insurance
Definition: Car Insurance

Insurance that you need to have before you can drive a vehicle. Depending on the type of insurance, a policy will pay you a certain amount if your car is stolen and contribute to repairs if the car is damaged in an accident or fire.

Cash Advance
Definition: Cash Advance

A cash withdrawal using a credit card, which is basically a loan from the card company and may have a fee and interest attached to it.

Cash Back
Definition: Cash Back

A feature of a Laser or debit card that lets you to get money straight from your account when you use it to buy something in a shop.

Cash Loan
Definition: Cash Loan

Borrowed money that can be used as the borrower chooses. In other words, it is not linked to a vehicle or property and is more often used for smaller purchases (such as computers or holidays).

Cashcard (Also known as ATM card)
Definition: Cashcard (Also known as ATM card)

A card you can use only at cash machines (with a Personal Identification Number (PIN)) to withdraw cash, check your balance or print out a short account statement.

Catalogue Company
Definition: Catalogue Company
Catalogue Credit
Definition: Catalogue Credit

A way of buying goods (from a catalogue or online) on credit that will often be delivered to your home. You can often pay this credit in instalments with interest. When goods are sold as being “interest free”, it is important read the contract to find out whether interest is added if payment is not received on time. When you make a purchase from a catalogue, over the phone or online, the seller is required to give you certain information before the purchase goes through. This information must include:
•    the name and address of the seller
•    a detailed description of the goods
•    the total price (including fees, taxes and delivery charges)
•    the arrangements for payment and delivery
•    details of the cancellation rights/cooling-off period.

If you don’t receive all of these details, the cooling-off period is legally extended from seven days to 90 days. For more information, see

Caveat Emptor
Definition: Caveat Emptor

A Latin term (meaning “buyer beware”) used to warn people to make sure they understand what exactly it is they are buying, before they buy it.

Acronym:Community Education

Community Education

Charge Card
Definition: Charge Card

A type of credit card often given by a store to its customers so that they can buy goods from the store on credit and receive special offers or special interest rates when the card is used in that store. Beware of paying only the minimum amount when the bill comes, as the debt can escalate quickly. See also Credit Card.

Definition: Charges

Usually refers to the fees and interest you must pay, for example when you borrow money or buy something on credit. Under the Consumer Protection Code, banks and businesses have to give you information about all of the costs of their products and services. They are required to:
•    tell you what the charges are before providing their service
•    give you at least 30 days’ notice if they plan to increase the charges or introduce any new charges (if the change affects you)
•    ensure that each statement they send you shows all the charges they applied in the period the statement covers
•    tell you at least 10 business days before taking money from your account when charges are left to build up and then charged at regular times (unless they are for €12.70 or less)
•    fix any mistakes they make in any charge or price quickly, efficiently and fairly
•    tell you how you can avoid charges such as penalty fees or penalty interest on your account (for example, charges for taking out more money than you have in your account or going over your overdraft limit, if you have one)

Definition: Cheque

A written order addressed to a bank telling the bank to pay an amount of money from one account to the person or organisation the cheque is made out to.

Cheque Guarantee Card
Definition: Cheque Guarantee Card

A plastic card from a bank or building society which guarantees that the amount of money on a cheque (up to a certain limit) will be paid, whether or not there is enough money in the account to cover it.

Civil Bill
Definition: Civil Bill

See Summons.

Civil Summons
Definition: Civil Summons

The first stage of legal action taken in the District Court for the repayment of a debt or unpaid instalments on a loan (or other money owed). The District Court is used where the amount being claimed is less than €6,349. 

Definition: Claim

An application for a welfare payment, for compensation or against an insurance policy.

Welfare Payment Claim
If your income is low you may find you have an entitlement to a payment from the Department of Social and Family Affairs Protection or from the Health Service Executive. For extensive information on all welfare payments, see or

Compensation Claim
A claim for payment or damages. For example, loss of income can be because of an accident or injury that keeps you from working and so you may have grounds for a compensation claim if you can prove the injury was not your fault.

If you are injured as the victim of a crime, you may be eligible for compensation under the Scheme of Compensation for Personal Injuries Criminally Inflicted. For more information, see target="_blank>

Insurance Claim
If you are in financial difficulty it is always worth looking at your credit card contracts to see if you have paid for Payment Protection Insurance, as you may be eligible to claim cover to help with your credit card repayments if your circumstances have changed. See also Insurance.
If you have insurance, whether on a vehicle or Payment Protection Insurance, you may be able to make a request to the insurance company, based on the terms and conditions of that insurance, to make payments to you.

Definition: Clearing

The time it takes for a bank or building society to transfer money from one account to another, such as when a person lodges a cheque into their account.

Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears
Definition: Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears
Definition: Codes

Written regulations that govern procedure or behaviour in particular circumstances or within a particular profession. Codes can be followed on a voluntary basis, overseen by an association for a specific profession, or imposed by law and enforced by a regulatory body. 

Statutory Codes 
    Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears  This Code sets out how mortgage lenders (referred to in this     document as “lenders”) must treat borrowers in or facing mortgage arrears
Came into effect on 1 January 2011 For further information, see What is the CCMA?

Code of Practice on the Transfer of Mortgages
Sets out the practice for lenders transferring mortgage loans between each other. For further information, see Code of Practice on the Transfer of Mortgages.

Consumer Protection Code (CPC)
Under this code, banks and businesses must: 
•    deal with you professionally, honestly and fairly
•    act in your best interest when providing products and services to you
•    give you the information necessary for you to make the right decision
•    handle any complaints you have about their dealings with you quickly, efficiently and fairly

The CPC also prohibits them from misleading you (on purpose) about the advantages and disadvantages of any product or service, putting you under too much pressure or pressuring you to buy a product or service. In addition, they cannot prevent you from getting access to basic financial services (such as a bank account).

For a useful guide to this code, or if you think a bank or business has treated you unfairly, see CPC – Financial Regulator's Guide. 

    The Central Bank introduced its Code of Conduct on the Switching of Current Accounts with Credit Institutions in October     2010.  The Code is designed to make switching your current account simpler and faster. Under this code your new bank     or building society must have your new account up and running within 10 working days of the switching date

Voluntary Codes
The Irish Banking Federation


    Mortgage Lenders Pledge 
A voluntary promise to homeowners with difficulties paying their mortgage that Irish Banking Federation mortgage lenders will try to come to an agreement with the homeowner instead of taking legal action.

MABS/Irish Banking Federation Protocol
The country’s top 12 credit institutions are acting together to help personal customers to manage their debt. Developed jointly over two years by the Irish Banking Federation (IBF) and the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS), the IBF/MABS Operational Protocol: Working Together to Manage Debt came into effect on 28 September 2009.

The Irish Insurance Federation also has a number of voluntary codes of practice. For more information, see Definition: