Glossary: E

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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Electronic Banking
Definition: Electronic Banking

The different ways to manage your money without going into a bank (for example by using an ATM card, the internet or the phone).

Definition: Endorsement

Writing on a document, for example the signature on a cheque.

Endowment Policy
Definition: Endowment Policy

See Insurance

Enforceability of debts
Definition: Enforceability of debts

The Consumer Credit Act 1995 sets out certain conditions that an agreement must meet for it to be enforceable. If these conditions are not met, the agreement may be challenged as being void.

A creditor must bring an action to enforce a debt within six years of the date the debt was last acknowledged. For example, if you took out a loan in 2000 but have made no repayments and had not contacted the creditor about the debt since 2005, then the debt will be unenforceable from 2011 (six years after the debt was last acknowledged). This limitation period does not apply to Revenue debts, which are enforceable forever.

Enforcement of Debts (see Court Procedures)
Definition: Enforcement of Debts (see Court Procedures)

A creditor will normally enforce their rights under an agreement by repossessing the asset or by obtaining a judgment from the court. If it is granted, the judgment may then be enforced in a number of ways:

Attachment of Earnings Orders
Usually seen in family law maintenance cases. The creditor seeks an order (similar to an Instalment Order) which is then served on the debtor’s employer, who sets up a direct debit to have the amount deducted from the debtor’s wages.

Bankruptcy Orders
A creditor may seek an order to have a debtor declared bankrupt.

Committal Order
Traditionally sought when a debtor doesn’t comply with an instalment order and is held to be in contempt of court. Due to changes in the law in 2009, these are now rarely sought as the grounds for granting them are so strict.

Execution by Sheriff
If the creditor lodges the judgment with the sheriff, the sheriff may go to the debtor’s home and seize goods that match the value of the debt. If there aren’t enough goods available, the sheriff may come to an instalment arrangement with the debtor.

Garnishee Orders
Where someone owes the debtor money, the creditor may apply to court for an order directing that person to pay the money directly to the creditor.

Instalment Order
Where the court orders the debtor to pay the creditor a certain amount every week / month. It may be granted without the debtor being present in court. We recommend that the debtor appear in court to ensure that the judge hears both sides and that the most reasonable order is made. Refusal to pay an instalment order results in contempt of court.

Judgment Mortgage
Where the creditor seeks an order to register the judgment against a debtor’s property. Judgment mortgages last for 12 years (and 30 years in the case of debt to Revenue) and are repaid when the debtor sells or remortgages the property.  The debtor cannot have any dealings on the property until the debt is repaid or discharged.

When a creditor is granted a judgment against a debtor, they can lodge it in the Central Office of the High Court, which puts the judgment on public record. The records of the Central Office are used by trade gazettes to gather information for their publications.

Equal Liability
Definition: Equal Liability

If a creditor was in some way responsible for the debtor refusing to pay (for example by selling faulty goods), they may be held equally liable for the debt.

Equitable Distribution
Definition: Equitable Distribution

Also called “pro-rata distribution”, this is how money to pay debts is shared between secondary creditors. It is considered a fair system of making sure the person who is owed the most receives the biggest share of the payment. For details of this calculation, see MABS Guide to Managing Your Money and Dealing with Debt.

Definition: Equity

The difference between the value of a person’s property and the amount of the mortgage they still have to pay.

    Negative Equity
    Where the value of the mortgage is greater than the value of the property.

Equity Release
Definition: Equity Release

A way of using any value in a property to get a cash sum. By law, all types of equity release firms must be authorised and regulated by the Financial Regulator and must meet the conditions of the Consumer Protection Code. For more information, see

Definition: Estate

The assets, including money and property, of a deceased person. See also Probate.

Definition: Estimate

A guide to the likely cost of a product or service.

Evaluate your Debts
Definition: Evaluate your Debts

In working through the MABS path to money management and dealing with debt, a vital step is to list and evaluate your debts. This helps you to decide which ones should be prioritised for payment and which debts need urgent attention (for example, mortgage arrears).

Definition: Evict

Forcing someone to leave a place, often because of non-payment of rent or a mortgage. There is a legal procedure that a landlord or mortgage company must go through to evict someone. For landlords’ and tenants’ rights and duties, see

Examination Order
Definition: Examination Order

A debtor is first served with a summons ordering them to complete a statement of means (a financial statement). They must then attend court to be cross-examined on the contents of that statement of means. Following this examination, the judge may make an instalment order.

It is recommended that the debtor attend the examination hearing, as the judge may make the instalment order in their absence and without full knowledge about their ability to pay.

Exceptional Needs Payment
Definition: Exceptional Needs Payment

A payment made by the Health Service Executive on behalf of the Department of Social and Family Affairs to meet essential, once-off payment in exceptional circumstances for a payment that a person could not reasonably be expected to make out of their weekly income. For example, the payments can be for:
•    special clothing for a seriously ill person
•    bedding or cooking utensils for someone setting up a home for the first time
•    visiting relatives in hospital or prison
•    funeral costs

For more information, see Citizens Information page on Exceptional Needs Payment or Exceptional Needs Payment.

Definition: Excess

A sum of money, usually advertised by an insurance company, that an insured person must pay for any loss, damage or injury before an insurance company will make any payments.

Exchange Rate
Definition: Exchange Rate

Also known as “currency exchange”, the amount of difference in the value of one currency compared to another. For example, if you use euros to buy dollars, the exchange rate might be $1.20 for €1.

Excludable Debt
Excludable Debt

Debts that are set out in the law and that will not be included in your application for any of the insolvency arrangements unless you have requested permission from the creditor.  These debts are:

  • Taxes, duties and levies owed or payable to the State
  • Local authority charges
  • Household charges
  • Local authority rates
  • Money owed to the HSE under the Nursing Home Support Scheme
  • Service charges or property management fees
  • Social Welfare debts (e.g. overpayments of benefits)
Excluded Debts
Definition: Excluded Debts

Debts that are set out in the law and that will never be included in your application for any of the insolvency arrangements.  They must always be paid.  These debts are:
-    Maintenance and other family law payments ordered by a court
-    Money owed to another person due to personal injury or wrongful death
-    Loans obtained by way of fraud or similar behaviour
-    Court fines for criminal offences
-    Court-ordered payments made under the Proceeds of Crime Acts

Definition: Exclusion

See Insurance

Definition: Executor

A person named in a will or appointed by a court to carry out the instructions in a will. An executor is not usually paid for providing this service unless provisions have been made in the will for the payment of an executor, or if they are a professional executor (such as a solicitor).

Definition: Exempt

Free from a duty or a condition.

Exit Charge
Definition: Exit Charge

A charge that a person pays if they end a financial agreement early. For example, withdrawing savings before an agreed date or switching mortgages.

Definition: Expenditure

Money that a person spends. As part of our money management process, we recommend that you keep a Weekly Spending Diary to record your weekly expenditure and identify the areas where you could save money. You can see our Weekly Spending Diary here.

Expiry Date
Definition: Expiry Date

The last date a person can use something, such as a credit card / gift voucher.