Banking definitions

Here you’ll find an explanation for some of the terms we use when it comes to banking.



You can be charged interest on products like a credit card or a loan (lending interest), and you can also earn interest too on products like your savings (savings interest).

Lending interest is where you’re asked to pay more back for borrowing the money.

Savings interest is where you’re given extra money for keeping your savings in a savings account.


APR stands for Annual Percentage Rate. This is the standard way of showing how much you’ll pay in total for what you borrow over a year.


An example of a transaction is when you buy/purchase something. When you pay for your food shop, this is called a transaction.


A merchant or retailer is a company or individual who sells you goods or a service. We may ask you who the merchant was for your last credit card transaction which means who was the company you made a purchase from.


Contactless is where you hold your card up to the retailer's payment terminal and wait for a beep, to show that the card has been read. You can use your contactless card at any terminal where you see the contactless logo.


PIN stands for (Personal Identification Number) and it’s a 4-digit number that’s given to you by your bank so that you can make transactions using your debit or credit card.

Direct Debit

A Direct Debit is where you set up an instruction allowing a company to automatically collect money to pay for something you’ve agreed to. The money is collected from your bank when it’s due. You do this by setting up a Direct Debit mandate.

Standing order

A standing order is where you can set up an instruction from your bank to automatically make payments to a company or person. It’s a regular payment and you can decide how regular the payment is made (weekly, monthly etc).

Faster Payment/bank transfer

When you send money from your current account to another current account (this could be to another current account in your name or to a company to pay a bill) this is called a bank transfer and is usually sent by Faster Payment. Once you’ve sent the money it can take up to a couple of hours to arrive. If you do a bank transfer to your M&S Credit Card account, although we’ll receive the money in a couple of hours it can take a couple of days to appear on your transaction list.

Balance transfer

A balance transfer is a type of transaction where you can move the balance you owe from one credit card to another. To complete a balance transfer from a credit card with another provider to M&S Bank, you’ll need to have a balance transfer offer available to you.


The Financial Services Compensation Scheme protects you if your bank (or financial firm) goes out of business. Find out more about the FSCS.


If you’ve made a complaint to your bank (or financial service provider) and you’re not happy with how it’s been resolved, you can contact the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). FOS can help by reviewing your complaint and take action if they feel your resolution was unfair. Find out more about the FOS.

Bereavement terms

You’ll find a list of the different bereavement terms we use and their explanations in our bereavement support glossary.

Power of attorney (POA) terms

You’ll find a list of the different POA terms we use and their explanations in our power of attorney glossary.

Third party support

This is where you can tell us if you’d like someone else to carry out everyday transactions on your M&S Everyday Savings Account (ESA) because you need help managing your accounts or for convenience.

Support needs

We understand that everyone needs something a little bit different. At M&S Bank we have some options to make banking work for you. By telling us about your support needs we'll make a note on your account and make changes to help you moving forward.


Integrated Voice Response (IVR) is a technology that allows you to interact with a computer-operated telephone system. For example, when you call M&S Bank you’ll be asked to choose an option based on what you’re calling about. What you’re interacting with is the IVR.

Telephone Security Number

This is a unique number that some customers have attached to their accounts with us and it’s used as a security question for telephone banking. A Telephone Security Number isn’t needed for all of our products, so not every M&S Bank customer will have one.

Account number vs card number

A card number is the 16-digit number on the front of your credit card and you use this to make purchases. Your card number only changes when you’re sent a new card. Your card number will stay the same if your card has reached it’s expiry date and you’re sent a renewal.

Your account number always stays the same. When you contact us about your account, or view your details in the M&S Banking App or via Internet Banking, we can see everything you’ve done with your M&S Credit Card. Even if you’ve had a few different card numbers, we can see all of the history under your account number.

Settlement figure

A settlement figure is the amount of money you still owe on your loan, including interest. This figure can change depending on how long and how much you have left to pay off your loan. You would ask for a settlement figure if you were ready to pay off your loan sooner than you expected.

Telephone security/verifying your details

When you call us we may ask you to enter some of your personal details into the IVR. This is so that we can see who’s calling and is a part of some of the security checks we complete. This would be called telephone security. You might also hear our colleagues ask you to ‘verify your details’, this means that we need to ask you some more questions to make sure it’s you calling us about your accounts.

Digital banking

M&S Banking App

This is an app you can get on your phone, tablet or any compatible smart digital device and it allows you to keep on top of your banking. Through the app you can complete certain things like viewing your balance, keeping on top of your transactions and making a payment towards your credit card. Learn more about our banking app.

Internet Banking

Like the M&S Banking App, this is where you can keep on top of your banking but instead of using an app, you would sign into Internet Banking through our website on your computer, mobile or tablet. Learn more about Internet Banking.


The M&S PASS provides an additional layer of security when you use our digital banking services by generating a unique security code to let us know it’s you that’s accessing your accounts and nobody else. The M&S PASS can be accessed digitally in our M&S Banking App or with a physical device that looks like a mini calculator.

Digital M&S PASS PIN

When you registered for our M&S Banking App you will have been asked to set up a 6-digit numerical PIN. This is called your Digital M&S PASS PIN. You’ll use this to log into our mobile banking app and generate security codes when prompted.

Physical M&S PASS PIN

When you register for Internet Banking, you’re asked to select a digital or physical M&S PASS. You need this PASS to be able to access your digital banking. If you choose the physical M&S PASS, that looks like a mini calculator, when it arrives in the post you’re asked to activate it by choosing a 4 to 8-digit numerical PIN. This is called your physical M&S PASS PIN. You’ll use this PIN and the physical M&S PASS to log into Internet Banking and generate security codes when prompted.

Security code

A security code is a unique 6-digit numerical one-time passcode that’s generated using your digital or physical M&S PASS. Currently we have two types of security codes that you can generate, an Internet Banking sign-in code and a re-authenticate code.

Internet Banking – Sign in code

This is a type of security code that we’ll ask you to generate using your M&S PASS when you’re signing in to Internet Banking.

Re-authenticate code

This is a type of security code that we’ll ask you to generate using your M&S PASS when you’re trying to update some of your personal details via digital banking. We ask for this code just to confirm that it’s you updating your details.

SMS OTP (One-time passcode)

Sometimes when you’re trying to do something with M&S Bank you’ll need to enter a one-time passcode to complete what it is you’re trying to do for security reasons. We send this code to you via text message. This is a unique code that can only be used once. An example of when you’ll be sent a one-time passcode is when you’re setting up the M&S Banking App or buying something online.

Card reader

Our card reader is one method used to confirm any online payments you make so that we know it’s really you making the payment. If you’re unable to confirm your payments using the app or via text message, you can use our alternative card reader solution to verify your payments. This is where you insert your M&S Credit Card into the card reader and follow the instructions on screen to produce a one-time passcode that will allow you to complete your payment.


You’ll see or hear this word when we ask you to check or approve something. For example, if you buy something online we might ask you to authorise that it’s you making the purchase before it’s all gone through. This would be you authenticating the purchase.


Biometrics can be used to access your M&S Banking App. This is where you can use your fingerprint ID or face ID instead of a password and you can set this up on your smartphone device.

Open banking

This is where you can agree (or provide consent) to securely share your financial information between banks and other financial service providers. For example, you might use an app that uses open banking to tell you your credit score. It uses open banking to look at the different bills you pay and when you pay them to give you a score and make suggestions on how to improve or sustain your score.

Digital accessibility

This is where digital technology, products or services can be easily accessed by anybody regardless if they have a disability or not. An example of poor digital accessibility would be if a website couldn’t be read by someone who’s blind and using screen reader software.


MOBI is a virtual assistant (computer generated) who you may see chatting to you if you use our chat with us service. MOBI can read and reply to common queries but if they can’t answer your query, you’ll be transferred to one of our human colleagues.

Chat with us

Our chat with us service is where you can speak with one of our human colleagues by typing and receiving messages. You might speak with MOBI first before being transferred to one of our colleagues. Chat is available via our mobile banking app and Internet Banking.


Instead of sending you information in the post, like your credit card statements, you might choose to go paperless. This is where we would send you information by email or through the M&S Banking App, that we would normally send in the post.


A browser is an app on your computer, or digital device, that allows you to access websites. Within the browser there are settings that you can change to make searching and looking at websites easier for you.


Cache is where your browser saves images, code and other files when you visit websites. This makes it quicker for websites to load because it doesn’t have to download the same files over and over again. Sometimes, if you’re having trouble accessing our website or Internet Banking, we might ask you to clear your cache and you can do this in your browser settings.


Cookies are small trackers that are used on websites and help the website remember what you’ve clicked on or entered into certain fields, like your username. Sometimes, if you’re having trouble accessing our website or Internet Banking, we might ask you to clear your cookies and you can do this in your browser settings.

Digital device

When we say ’digital device’ we mean anything you can access the internet on. For example, a smartphone, tablet or computer.

Type of accounts

Credit card

A credit card lets you borrow money up to your credit limit to pay for things in shops and online. You’ll get a bill each month showing you how much you’ve spent and what you need to pay back that month. If you don’t pay back the full amount you’ve borrowed each month, you might be charged interest. You can find out more about how credit cards work.


A personal loan is a lump sum of money that you borrow from the bank. You agree to pay back the money you’re borrowing at a set amount each month for a set amount of time. You will pay interest on the loan which means you’ll pay back more than you borrowed. To understand more about the benefits of a loan or credit card you can look at the different ways to borrow.

Sparks Pay

Sparks Pay is for M&S Sparks members and is used to pay for your M&S shopping. Rather than paying for your shopping upfront, Sparks Pay is where you spread the cost of your purchases. You’ll get a bill each month showing what you need to pay back, if you don’t pay back the full amount you’ve borrowed you might be charged interest.

Savings accounts

This is where you can save money and earn interest on it. That means, we’ll give you money for saving. The amount we’ll give you will depend on how much you save and the interest rate on the savings account.