Glossary: U

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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Unauthorised / Unsanctioned Overdraft
Definition: Unauthorised / Unsanctioned Overdraft

The negative balance in a person’s account caused by withdrawing more money than they had in their account, without the permission of their bank. This type of overdraft can be expensive, as it may lead to penalty interest charges.

Unauthorised Overdraft Charges

Fees that a person must pay for an unauthorised/unsanctioned overdraft. You will also be charged this fee if you do have an authorised overdraft but go over your agreed limit.

Uncleared Cheque
Definition: Uncleared Cheque

A cheque that has been lodged to an account, but for which money has not yet been collected from the account of the person who wrote the cheque. It usually takes 3–5 days for a cheque to clear.

Underwriter
Definition: Underwriter

An organisation (usually an insurance company) that agrees to pay a claim on an insurance policy. Also an employee of a financial institution who reviews the suitability (or “riskiness”) of a loan before it is granted to the borrower.

Underwriting
Definition: Underwriting

The process of deciding whether to pay an insurance claim, determining the suitability (or “riskiness”) of a loan or a bank’s purchasing unsold shares from a company (after that company has already offered them to the public).

Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts
Definition: Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts

By law (European Communities (Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts) Regulations 1995 and 2000), consumers are protected against companies and organisations which use unfair terms in consumer contracts. An “unfair term” in a standard consumer contract is one that puts the consumer at a disadvantage. For more information, see Citizens Information’s section on Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts.

Universal Payments
Definition: Universal Payments

Social welfare payments or benefits that a person receives no matter how many PRSI contributions they have made or their level of means (such as Child Benefit and Free Travel). For more information on universal payments, see the Department of Social Protection or the Citizens Information Board.

Unlimited Company
Definition: Unlimited Company

A company with unlimited liability, which means that there is no limit on the shareholders’ liability for the debts of the company when the company is wound up. Unlimited liability companies are not required to file annual returns with the Companies Registration Office and its affairs are more confidential than those of a limited liability company.

Unpaid Item
Definition: Unpaid Item

An item (such as a cheque, standing order or direct debit) that a bank refuses to pay due to lack of money in the account. There is usually a penalty charge for unpaid items.

Unpresented Cheque
Definition: Unpresented Cheque

A cheque that has not been lodged to the bank account of the recipient.

Unsecured Debt
Unsecured Debt

This is a debt that is not attached to any asset (e.g. a credit card debt, a personal loan etc.).

Unsecured Loan
Definition: Unsecured Loan

A loan that is not borrowed against assets. If a person does not repay their loan, the lender must not take any of their assets without taking the person to court to get an enforcement order for the Sheriff. However, the lender still has a legal right to recover the debt and can do so by taking the debtor to court. See also Enforcement of Debts.

Upfront Fee
Definition: Upfront Fee

A fee that a person owes or must pay before receiving goods or services.

Utilities
Definition: Utilities

Necessary services such as electricity, gas, phone and postal services.

Utility Company
Definition: Utility Company

A company that performs a public service subject to government regulation, such as electricity, gas, phone or postal services. See also CER, COMREG