This refers to the money loaned to the borrower by the lender.


Another term for “contract”, an agreement is a legal document that makes a loan official. The agreement confirms the terms of the loan between you and the lender. When you sign a loan or credit agreement, you are accepting that you are legally responsible for paying back the money borrowed, and any interest and fees applicable.


The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is the total charge for credit, including interest and any annual or arrangement fees. However the APR is only a guide for some loans firms and you may find you are not eligible for the rates offered in their advert, or it may not include other charges such as early repayment fees for loans.

A Sikamaster Loan is simple, just as advertised, with no additional charges. We told you - we like to do things differently!

Arrangement to Pay

Where a customer has fallen behind on their payments, the lender will try and arrange with them to pay an additional amount each month to catch up. The lender should assess how much is affordable to ensure that they are treating the customer fairly.


Arrears is a term that means money that is owed, that should have been paid earlier. If you’ve missed or only partially paid a repayment on a bill or loan, then your account will be in arrears until you get back up to date. Having accounts in arrears too often or for too long can make it more difficult to get credit in the future. Late and missed payments are recorded on your credit report, which lenders often check and use to help them make a decision about whether to lend money to you, or not.



A balance can be the amount of money in your bank or savings account. It can also refer to the amount you owe a lender in order to pay off your loan in full.


Bankruptcy is a court order that you can apply for if you are in debt. Someone you owe money to can also apply to make you bankrupt even if you don’t want this. You might want to think about bankruptcy if you have no money to pay your debts, or have so little that it will take you years to repay them.

Once you have been made bankrupt, you don’t have to deal with the people you owe money to (your creditors). An official called the Official Receiver takes control of your money and property, and deals with your creditors.

When the bankruptcy order is over, you can make a fresh start and the money you owe is usually written off. In many cases, this can be after only one year. Creditors have to stop most types of court action to get their money back following a bankruptcy order.

Bankruptcy Search

Checks made against an individual usually carried out by a solicitor or lawyer, which will confirm if the person is bankrupt or in the process of going through bankruptcy proceedings.


Bank of Ghana. The independent body that regulates deposit-taking institutions.

Broker (or Intermediary)

A person engaged by an applicant to discuss and provide them with financial advice.


A budget is a document that you can build yourself, or have help to build, that tracks your income against your outgoings,so you can see how much you’re pending and how much you have left. It can also highlight areas where you could make savings, which you may not have been aware of.

Buy to Let

An investment mortgage. The property is rented out and the rent received used to pay the mortgage.


Certificate of Title (COT)

Legal document completed by the solicitor confirming all formalities have been satisfied prior to completion.


In finance, charges and fees are usually the same thing, and are applied to your account by your bank or lender in line with the type of account or loan you have. Banks and lenders provide a number of services to their customers, and some come with charges attached. These can include interest, transmission fees, service charges, and for some credit cards, annual card fees. If a service is misused or the terms of an agreement are broken, then that’s where things like overdraft charges and late payment charges come in.


A cheque is a paper voucher linked to a current account. When you open a bank account you may be given a cheque book which contains a number of cheques. Each cheque will already be printed with your bank sort code and account number, your bank’s name and address and a unique cheque number.


The final legal transfer of ownership when the buyer pays the required funds to purchase the property.


An agreement between the borrower and the lender. Our contract is upfront, honest and has no hidden extras. It also has a cancellation period if you change your mind.


Refers to the legal work done for the transfer of the legal title of a property from one person to another.


Credit is money borrowed from a bank or credit provider on the condition that it’s paid back in accordance with the agreement. Types of credit include loans, both secured and unsecured, credit cards and pawnbroking.

Credit Limit

A credit limit is the maximum amount of money that you can borrow on a credit card, or from a particular lender, and will be determined by the lender based on a number of factors.

Credit Report

This document, compiled and held by Credit Reference Agencies, gives a summary of your credit history and financial behaviour. It includes your personal details such as your address and date of birth, information on your borrowing and payment histories, the length of your credit history, information on the total credit you have available to you and how much of that you’ve used. Some of the things that are not included in your credit report are your salary and details of savings accounts you hold.

Credit Search

The applicants name and address is fed into a credit agency database in order that a search can be done to see whether any Court Judgements, defaults, credit agreements are registered against the applicant. The search will also indicate who is registered at the property for voting purposes.



Debt is money that you owe to a person or company.

Debt Collection Agency

If you owe money to a company they may pass on your debt to a Debt Collection Agency who will be responsible for collecting the past due debt.

Debt collection agencies use several different methods to get you to pay your unpaid debt including: calling you at home, sending letters to your home, listing the debt on your credit report, and sometimes taking the matter to litigation

Decision in Principle (DIP)

An application agreed subject to reference checks and usually a valuation report.


A deduction is any money that is taken from your gross income before you receive your wages or salary, and will be displayed on your payslip. Common deductions you may come across include income tax, Insurance, student loan repayments and pension contributions, etc.


If an applicant does not pay a financial commitment, the Company can record this as a default once they are at least three months behind.


Balance being put towards the purchase price of the property by the applicant, which makes up the difference between the mortgage and purchase price.

Note that is this is not money to be paid to us, money to show us cleared balance.

Direct Debit

A Direct Debit is a regular payment debited from your account that you have authorised. The transaction is ‘pulled’ from your account by the company who’s provided you with a service, but only because you know in advance the amount you will be debited and the date the payment will happen. Direct Debits are typically used to make regular payments, amounts can vary but you will always know in advance what the amount will be. For your protection Direct Debits may be guaranteed by all banks under the Direct Debit Guarantee Scheme.


Early Repayment

An early repayment means paying back a loan before the balance is due. Some lenders may charge a fee for doing this, but we don't.


The difference between the value of the property and the amount of any loan secured against it.

Essential repairs

Work required on the property before the mortgage loan can be issued.

Exchange of contracts

Exchange of contracts is the point at which the contract governing the sale of the property becomes legally binding. Prior to exchange, either party can pull out of the transaction. After exchange, the buyer should take out appropriate buildings insurance.


First mortgage payment

The initial mortgage payment, which is commonly higher than regular monthly payments as interest from the day money was released to complete the transaction is included, in addition to the first monthly payment.

Fixed Rate Interest

Fixed rate interest means the interest payable or receivable, on the account will be fixed for the time period specified.


The freeholder of a property is the outright owner and also owns the land the property is built on.



When the seller, having already accepted an offer but before contracts are exchanged, accepts another, higher offer from someone else.

Gross Income

Gross income is the total amount you earn from your employment, before any tax or other deductions are made.


Home Equity Line-of Credit Loans

Put your home to work for you! A Home Equity Loan from Sikamaster Loans can be an affordable way to finance any major expense. You can take out a flexible line-of-credit against your home’s equity and receive convenient advances as you need them.

Homebuyer's survey

Also known as a HomeBuyer Report, this is a fairly inexpensive survey suitable for properties in a reasonable condition. The survey is less extensive than a building survey, but it will help identify any structural issues such as subsidence or damp.



A sum of money payable as one of several equal payments for something, spread over an agreed period of time.


Interest can be used in two ways. One use of it is the amount you earn from savings and investments. Interest can also be money you pay to borrow money, and is usually expressed as a percentage of the amount borrowed. Interest is normally included in the total cost of borrowing.

Interest Rate

Rate refers to the level of interest charged by a lender, and is usually expressed as an Annual Percentage Rate (APR).

When you borrow money, the lender makes a charge known as interest. For example, if you borrow GHS100 at an interest rate of 10% for one year, you would have to repay GHS110 at the end of the year. We offer one of the most competitive interest rates on the market and we offer the same rate to all our customers. We won't advertise one rate and ask you to pay another

Interest-only mortgage

This is a type of mortgage that allows you to pay just the interest charged each month for the term of the loan. You don’t have to repay the amount you’ve borrowed until the end of the term.


Land Registry Certificate

Issued by the Land Registry to the owner of the registered land, these certificates act as proof of ownership prior to the introduction of the Land Registration Act.

Land Registry fee

A fee paid to the Land Registry to register ownership of a property.


A leaseholder rents a property from the freeholder for a fixed period of time. This can be years, decades or even centuries. The leaseholder does not own the land that the property is built on. A legal agreement would be in place between the Leaseholder and the landlord (sometimes known as the freeholder) called a ‘lease’ – which sets out how long you will own the property for.


A bank or company, which lends you the money.


The person who leases or lets a property to another; a landlord.

Letter of Credit

Also known as Documentary Credit is controlled through the banking system. It means your supplier has to provide specified documents to a bank in order to get paid.

It's a commitment from your bank to your supplier stating it will receive payment within a set time limit, as long as clearly defined terms and conditions have been met.

Life assurance

Commonly confused with life insurance (which has a fixed term), life assurance is a type of insurance policy in which a lump sum is payable upon death. Life assurance is often taken out with a mortgage to insure against the borrower’s death before the loan is repaid.

Loan Term

The loan period, or loan term, is the length of time you’ve agreed to borrow money for. It can last from a few days to a number of years depending on the terms of your agreement and the type of loan you are taking. In most cases, interest will accrue throughout the term of the loan.

Loan to Value (LTV)

The ratio of a loan to the value of an asset purchased.

Local authority search

A series of queries submitted to the local authority in which the property is located. The questions will cover matters relating to road schemes and ownership, planning permissions affecting the property and local conservation issues among others. A local authority search is always required if you are taking out a mortgage.


Minimum Payment

The least you can pay towards a loan or bill without incurring penalties.


A mortgage is a loan taken out with a bank or building society to buy a house or other property. The mortgage is usually for a long period, typically up to 25 years, and you pay it back by monthly instalments. When you sign the mortgage agreement you agree to give the property as security. This means if you don’t keep up with the repayments, the lender has the right to take back and sell the property.

The loan is ‘secured’ against the value of the property until it’s paid off. If the borrower fails to repay the lender on the agreed terms, the property can be repossessed by the lender to cover their costs.

Mortgage Adviser

A mortgage adviser often works for a bank or other financial institution. Their job is to advise the customer on their available mortgage options and optimal mortgage strategy. They may also be able to negotiate with the bank on the borrower’s behalf.

Mortgage Broker

A mortgage broker is a professional intermediary who sits between the lender and the borrower. Brokers often work for themselves, rather than a financial institution. They receive a commission from lenders when they connect them with a suitably matched customer.

Mortgage Deed

Legal document which the applicant signs to agree to the mortgage being secured against their property. The Deed is then normally registered with Registrar Generals' Department to record the Company’s charge over the property.

Mortgage Term

The term over which you agree to repay the loan.


The entity in whose favour a Mortgage is granted by a Mortgagor.


The entity who grants a mortgage in favour of a Mortgagee.


Negative Equity

The property is worth less than the mortgage balance currently outstanding.

Net Income

Net income is the amount you earn from your employment, after all applicable deductions like tax, insurance, pension contributions and student loan repayments, also known as your “take-home pay”.



Document issued by the lender confirming the loan has been approved and offering the applicant a loan. The document is issued in a standard format. It will include such information as the loan amount, interest rate, monthly payments etc.

Outstanding Balance

The outstanding balance is the amount remaining on a debt that has not yet been repaid in full.


A overdraft is a credit facility granted by your Lender, The overdraft may be for a fixed amount over a set period, for example GHS500 to be repaid within six months. Or you may be given a limit on an ongoing basis to use whenever you like. There is unusually a charge for the service and interest is payable on any amount taken



Pawnbrokers lend money according to the value of goods left with them (pledged). When you leave your goods with the pawnbroker they must give you a receipt known as a ticket. The pawnbroker must keep the goods for a fixed period but you can get them back at any time by paying off the loan plus interest. The period can be extended by paying the interest only and re-pledging the goods.

If you don’t repay the loan or extend the credit, the pawnbroker can sell your goods and use the money to pay off your debt.

Payday Loan

A payday loan is a type of short-term, unsecured loan, which is usually repayable on the borrower’s next payday. Payday loans are usually for relatively small amounts of money, and are intended to be used only for unexpected expenses to cover a borrower’s expenses until their next payday.

Penalty Charges

Penalty charges are charges applied to your account with a bank or lender if the service is misused or the terms of your agreement with them are broken. Common penalty charges include late payment fees, over-limit fees and overdraft fees.

Poor credit

Bad credit describes a failure in the past to keep up with credit agreements, getting into arrears by missing payments and, as a result, not being able to get approved for new credit.



The estimated cost of a loan, usually showing monthly repayments and the total amount which needs to be repaid.



Remortgaging is the process of repaying one mortgage by taking out another secured on the same property. This is often done to take advantage of a new lender offering a more attractive rate and terms.

Repayment Date

This is the date that you agree to repay either the full balance, or an instalment towards, your loan.

Repayment mortgage

A type of mortgage where you make a monthly payment to cover both interest and the money borrowed. At the end of the mortgage term, the mortgage is completely paid off.

Repayment schedule

A document with details of the specific terms of a loan, such as monthly instalments, interest rate and due dates for payments.


Repossession is a last resort legal process where a mortgage lender takes ownership of a property. Repossession only occurs in instances where there are a number of missed mortgage payments and the borrower is unable to rectify the situation through a new payment plan.

Residential Mortgage

Mortgage where the applicant will be occupying the property as their main residence.

Responsible lender

A lender offering credit products (e.g. loans) which suit the consumers' needs and are tailored to their ability to repay.


Second Charge

The property is used as security for a second mortgage. This mortgage will rank behind the main mortgage in order of priority.

Stamp Duty

Tax imposed by the Government on house purchases. The purchaser will have to pay a certain percentage of the purchase price upon completion.


Title deeds / Title documents

The legal documents which provide proof of ownership of a property.


Transaction means any occasion where money is exchanged, whether it is being given to you, or taken away. In the context of credit, common transactions include borrowed money being deposited into your bank account, making purchases on a credit card, or repaying, or making payments towards, money borrowed.

Typical APR

Typical APR is a term lenders use to describe the APR offered to at least two thirds of their customers when they use risk-based pricing, and is intended as a guideline rather than a promise. The APR you are offered is based on a number of factors that help the lender decide how high-risk a borrower they think you will be, so it could be higher or lower than the Typical APR.


Unsecured Loan

A loan which is not secured (or guaranteed) against your property. If you are not a homeowner and don't want to use property as security for a loan, alternatives include an unsecured personal loan, overdraft or a credit card. Personal loans may be used for one-off purchases or expenses e.g. car, holiday, or home improvements.