Do Brits know ASOS from AER and APR?

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  • New research from Shawbrook Bank shows an alarming number of Brits don’t know the meaning of common financial acronyms and terms
  • More of us know what brand acronyms like ASOS, B&Q and HMV stand for, but don’t know the full meaning of financial ones like SVR, AER and AIR
  • Majority also don’t understand the meaning behind financial terms, including adverse credit and credit searches

Two thirds (65%) of the UK population know exactly what B&Q and BMW stand for, yet less than one in five could tell you what SVR (17%) or AIR (18%) mean, claims new research from Shawbrook Bank Personal Loans

Shawbrook Bank’s research of more than 2,000 UK adults presented participants with a list of 20 commonly used acronyms, including brand names, texting abbreviations, and financial acronyms.

More Brits know what ASOS stands for (45%) compared to AER (30%), otherwise known as the annual equivalent rate, while more than twice know the meaning of HMV (63%) and BMW (65%).

The five least known acronyms were all financial jargon terms, while the top five best known acronyms were either brand names or texting terms.

 

  Five least known acronyms % Five best known acronyms %
1

SVR

(Standard Variable Rate)

17%

KFC

(Kentucky Fried Chicken) 

82%
2

AIR

(Assumed Interest Rate) 

18%

M&S

(Marks & Spencer) 

81%
3

FSCS

(Financial Services Compensation Scheme)

28%

LOL

(laugh out loud)

77%
4

AER

(Annual Equivalent Rate) 

30%

OMG

(oh my god) 

76%
5

FCA

(Financial Conduct Authority) 

37%

B&Q

(Block and Quayle)

66%

 

Sally Conway, Head of Consumer Communications at Shawbrook Bank commented:

“Financial terms and acronyms can be confusing and there is a long way to go before they become as well-known as popular brands or texting terms.

“But it’s not just up to consumers, providers like Shawbrook Bank also have a role to play in increasing the understanding and education around financial jargon. When it comes to signing up for a financial product, whether it be a savings account or a personal loan, knowing the ins and outs is vital.”

 

 

The research from Shawbrook Bank also found that the acronyms aren’t the only point causing confusion for consumers. In fact, even fewer know the actual definition of some of the acronyms and other financial terms when written out.

Less than a fifth (17%) of Brits completely understand what adverse credit means, while only a similar amount (20%) know the meaning of a soft or hard credit search.

Only a quarter (25%) understand what standard variable rate means (SVR), while the same number could give a definition for representative APR.

Sally continued:

“People often panic or feel uncomfortable around words they don’t understand, but there is no shame in asking for help. Banks and loan providers will be happy to discuss anything you’re not clear on, so make sure you take advantage of that before taking out a new financial product.”

We have a range of guides and top tips if you’re unsure on what financial jargon means. Why not read our guide on personal loan terminology.

 

Why not test yourself with the acronyms below?

 

Finance terms:

  • SVR
  • AIR
  • FSCS
  • AER
  • FCA
  • APR

 

Texting talk:

  • ROFL
  • YOLO
  • BAE
  • BFF
  • OMG
  • LOL

 

Brands:

  • ASOS
  • M&Ms
  • HMV
  • MTV
  • BMW
  • B&Q
  • M&S
  • KFC

 

Methodology

The survey of 2,007 British respondents was collected over a 3 day period (Wednesday 28th April 2021 - Friday 30th April 2021).