The Financial Terms That Baffle Brits the Most

The Financial Terms That Baffle Brits the Most
  • AER‘ and ‘Hedge fund‘ are two of the most confusing finance terms for the British public
  • 73% of British adults do not understand the phrase ‘Equity loan
  • Pension‘ is the most understood financial term with 78% reporting an understanding, followed closely by ‘Interest rates‘ at 76%

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Keeping on top of your personal finances is an important responsibility, and for many it can be quite overwhelming. With new financial technology constantly developing, many Brits face the worry of being left in the dark about their finances.

Interested in just how confident Brits are in their understanding of essential finance terminology, conducted a Likert-scale survey among 3,972 Britons, asking them to what extent they understood some of the most essential finance terms. The results are quite shocking!

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Financial Terms

The Finance Terms Confusing Brits the Most

Only 4% of Britons were confident in their understandings of ‘Blended Finance’ and ‘Cornerstone investment’, making them the most confusing financial terms for Brits.

The next most confusing financial terms are ‘Social enterprise’ and ‘Fintech’ at 13%. ‘Fintech’ is an abbreviation for financial technology and encompasses assets like mobile banking. ‘Bridging loan’ is in third from the bottom with only 14% of Brits confident in their understanding of the term; bridging loans are a short-term finance option specifically for buying property.

CHAPS’ and ‘Hedge fund’ are next, at 18%, whilst ‘Annuity’ ranks fifth with 20% of Brits confident they understood its meaning.

The next most confusing term is ‘AER’ at 23%. Standing for ‘Annual Equivalent Rate’, it is the official rate for savings accounts.

Equity Loan’ is the least confusing term from this data set at 27%. It is somewhat worrying that perhaps another 73% do not understand its definition.

Financial Terms

The Terms Confusing Brits the Least found that 78% of Britons were confident in their understanding of the term ‘Pension’, making it the least confusing financial term.

The second least confusing term is, thankfully, ‘Interest rates! With 76% of Britons confident of what exactly it means, it is a reassurance that Brits understand this considering how important interest rates are for credit scores and mortgage applications.

In third place is ‘Crowdfunding’ at 73%, an innovative way to raise money for personal projects and new businesses that relies on the good natures of others.

'Credit Score' scores fourth, with 71% of Brits confident in the definition, whilst ‘ISA’ (Individual Savings Account) lands in fifth place at 68%.

Investing’ ranks sixth at 64%, followed by ‘Stock’ at 61%.

Rounding off the top 10, in eighth place is ‘Net worth’, with 59% of Brits’ confident in its meaning. Net worth is defined as the total value of assets a person owns. ‘Repossession’ is in ninth place, at 56%, whilst ‘Depreciation’ finishes in 10th place at 55%.

For further guidance on investment jargon, check out Uswitch’s Investment Glossary guide. further analysed average monthly search volumes within the UK for questions relating to the definition of each financial term.

The most searched for term is ‘stamp duty’, with 37,540 average monthly searches for questions relating to its meaning. For example, the question ‘what is stamp duty’ has a whopping 7,300 average monthly searches alone!

Other commonly searched-for phrases include ‘what is a recession’ (6,800) ‘what is APR’ (5,700), and ‘what is cryptocurrency’ (2,400).

For more information, including data for finance terms Brits have some understanding of and the most commonly searched financial questions, please check out the blog post:


  1. Uswitch researched essential financial terms for individuals and businesses, as provided by a range of sources including YouGov, AgeUK, Capify, Investopedia and MorganStanley.
  2. They then conducted an adapted Likert-style survey of 3,972 Britons, questioning the extent to which respondents understood each financial term.
  3. Field research for this survey was conducted between 05/03/2021 and 09/03/2021.
  4. Average monthly search volumes for the UK were sourced on 09/03/2021 from Ahrefs.
  5. All data is correct as of 09/03/2021 but is subject to change.

We really hope you find the above information useful. If used, we appreciate a linked credit to, who commissioned the study. These link credits allow us to keep supplying you with future content you may find useful!

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Jacob Wolinsky is the founder of, a popular value investing and hedge fund focused investment website. Jacob worked as an equity analyst first at a micro-cap focused private equity firm, followed by a stint at a smid cap focused research shop. Jacob lives with his wife and four kids in Passaic NJ. - Email: jacob(at) - Twitter username: JacobWolinsky - Full Disclosure: I do not purchase any equities anymore to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest and because at times I may receive grey areas of insider information. I have a few existing holdings from years ago, but I have sold off most of the equities and now only purchase mutual funds and some ETFs. I also own a few grams of Gold and Silver
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