Chinese Finance Words: What to know as a banker


Chinese Finance Words: What to know as a banker

Virtually everyone has a bank account these days. Perhaps some have accounts with a lot of empty space, but they’re accounts nevertheless.  With such a wide base of clients, bankers nowadays have to be fluent in Mandarin. Completing paperwork in English with decades of experience means nothing if the client can’t understand you very well. Here are 7 phrases that might be useful in the office:

Available balance: 可用余额 (Kěyòngyúé)

Suppose a client has cashed in a cheque from another bank for $2000 and immediately wants to withdraw $2000 from his account. How do you explain that the available balance of his/her account will only be updated when the transaction between the banks is confirmed? 可用余额, literally meaning ‘usable remaining sum’, would be a useful term to use. That would be particularly important if that client wanted to withdraw $2000 from an account with an available balance of $12.

Credit limit: 信用额度 (Xìnyòng édù)

While it is not written on the credit card itself, each credit card has a credit limit or 信用额度. Generally dependent on one’s ability to pay interest and repay the outstanding sum, it prevents people from buying things with credit that they can’t repay the bank for.


Loan: 贷款 (Dàikuǎn)

Apart from investments with money that people deposit at the bank, banks make loans or 贷款. Usually with a good deal of interest or 利息 (Lìxí) , they require certain guarantees (see below) for the bank to approve. Not being cautious with their ‘investment’ in your loan would be bad business on their part.

Guarantor: 担保人 (Dānbǎo rén)

Some banks may have reservations over approving a loan for someone with a chequered record, minimal collateral and unstable employment. They may ask the person applying for a loan to find a guarantor or 担保人. Since the guarantor has to pay the debt should the original person be unable to, the bank has a guarantee or 担保 that it will get its money back.

Mortgage: 抵押贷款 (Dǐyādàikuǎn)

Mortgages are often a part of buying property given few people have mountains of cash lying around. With your apartment as collateral or 抵押 in case you are unable to repay the loan, banks approve loans, hence the term 抵押贷款.

Time deposit: 定期存款 (Dìngqí cúnkuǎn)

With a sustained period of low interest rates, some people have turned to time deposits to get a higher interest rate from the bank for putting money into their bank account. Time deposit is 定期存款 where 存款 is deposit. 定期, or literally ‘set period’ in Chinese, describes how the deposit cannot be withdrawn by the person for some agreed period.

Saving deposit: 储蓄存款 (Chúxù cúnkuǎn)

On the other hand, the conventional saving deposit, which allows a client to withdraw money whenever they need to. The translation of saving deposit is 储蓄存款.While most people use the automated teller machine for withdrawals, knowing this term is important so you know which type of deposit people want. There are few more terrifying sights than a person who suddenly has lost access to his/her money!

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