Bankrate's financial glossary
Did you run across an unfamiliar term when applying for a mortgage, credit card
or auto loan? Find the meaning here, along with definitions of other financial words
and phrases, in Bankrate.com's financial glossary.
Earnest money deposit
A deposit made by potential home buyers during negotiations with the seller. The sum shows a seller that a buyer is serious about purchasing the property.
The right of another to use property. The most common easements are for utility lines.
The right of public agencies to take land for public use.
A lien, charge or liability against a property.
Equal Credit Opportunity Act
A federal law that requires lenders and other creditors to make credit equally available without discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, marital status or receipt of income from public assistance programs.
The value of a homeowner's unencumbered interest in real estate. Equity is the difference between the home's fair market value and the unpaid balance of the mortgage and any outstanding liens. Equity increases as the mortgage is paid down or as the property enjoys appreciation.
The portion of a homeowner's monthly mortgage payment that is held by the loan servicer to pay for taxes and insurance. Also known as reserves. The loan servicer holds the escrow funds separately from money meant to pay off principal and interest.
A deduction allowed by the IRS to help you arrive at a lower taxable income. Exemptions can be claimed by you, your spouse and your dependents. The IRS allows a dollar amount for each exemption and this amount is subtracted from your adjusted gross income to come up with the final amount of money upon which you must pay taxes.
A system used to conduct business transactions of buying and selling goods and services over a computer network.
Shorthand for electronic filing. The submission of a tax return to the IRS via electronic, rather than paper, means. Taxpayers can e-file through an electronic return originator (ERO), personal computer software, or over the telephone through the IRS TeleFile program. E-filing usually speeds IRS processing, reducing turnaround time for refunds and the detection of errors on returns.