Glossary: S

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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Definition: Savings

Money put aside for future use, whether in a deposit account or under your bed. “Rainy day” savings are useful for emergencies and need to be easily accessible, while longer-term savings can be built up to provide a “nest egg”.

Savings Account
A bank or building society account that pays interest and that you do not access every day. It is advisable to shop around for the best interest rate. For more information on savings accounts, see Savings and Investment Accounts.

Savings Fund
A fund that a person contributes to over time to build up a lump sum for paying off a loan.

Schedule of Payments
Definition: Schedule of Payments

A list of payment amounts and the dates they are due

Secondary Debts
Definition: Secondary Debts

Those debts where non-payment will not result in the loss of your home, liberty or essential goods and services. The people you owe the money to can take you to court to recover the debts, but you cannot be sent to prison for non-payment.

Secured Debt
Secured Debt

This is a debt that is attached to an asset that you own (e.g. a car loan that is not a hire purchase loan or lease agreement).

Secured Loan
Definition:  Secured Loan

A loan that is secured against a particular asset (or “security”). If a person cannot make the repayments when they are due, the lender can take ownership of the asset.

Definition: Security

Something of value (or “asset”) that one person or organisation uses provide an extra guarantee for a debt. If the debt is not repaid, the lender can seize (or “repossess”) the asset as full or partial payment for the debt.

Self Assessment
Definition: Self Assessment

A system for taxpayers to work out for themselves the tax they owe to the Revenue Commissioners each year. For more information, see the Revenue Commissioners’ Guide to Self Assessment.

Service Contract
Definition: Service Contract

A contract for services

Shared Ownership
Definition: Shared Ownership

Where ownership of something of value is shared between two or more people or organisations. There are many forms of shared ownership schemes on the market.

Local Authority Shared Ownership Scheme
Each local authority has set up a scheme where the authority will buy at least 40% of a house and the occupier buys the rest. The local authority will then charge rent on their portion of the house.

Private Shared Ownership Companies
There are a number of privately-owned shared ownership companies on the market. As with any house purchase, you should seek independent legal advice before applying for this kind of shared ownership scheme.

Definition: Sheriff

An official whose main duty is to seize assets to satisfy a judgment amount owed to a creditor as set out on the execution order granted by the court. In the District Court, the original order of judgment acts as an execution order; in the Circuit and High Courts, a separate execution order must be obtained by the creditor before the Sheriff can be sent to seize the debtor’s assets.

Seizure of goods is unpleasant business – and in many cases it is the creditor’s least preferred enforcement action because of the intrusion into the debtor’s private life. There are also practical difficulties; the Sheriff can seize any asset, but can only hold and sell assets that belong to the debtor. Any assets owned by someone else or that are rented by the debtor cannot be sold.

The Sheriff is prohibited from seizing essential household items such as clothing, bedding or tools of your trade.

Revenue Sheriff
Collects tax debts on behalf of the Revenue Commissioners. A collection manual for Revenue Sheriffs is available from the Revenue Commissioners’ website.

Shop Debts
Definition: Shop Debts

Money owed to local shops for things such as groceries.

Short Term
Definition: Short Term

A loan-repayment or savings period, usually not more than 5 years.

Definition: Signatory

A person who signs a legal document, such as an application form or cheque.

Social Insurance
Definition: Social Insurance

Government-provided insurance that compensates people for loss of income due to old age, unemployment, disability, illness or maternity. It is funded through PRSI contributions.

Solicitor’s Undertaking
Definition: Solicitor’s Undertaking

A written promise from a solicitor – for a debtor to a creditor – that they will repay a debt once they receive money from the debtor (whether by the sale of property, a court judgment, compensation claim etc). Solicitor’s undertakings are usually “conditional”, meaning they will only promise to repay the debt on the condition that they have received the money first.

Sort Code
Definition: Sort Code

A six-digit code that identifies a person’s bank branch. This is printed on bank statements and cheques. Sort codes are stored by the Irish Payment Services Organisation. For more information on sort codes, see Definition: