How to Talk about Credit & Loans

How to Talk about Credit & Loans

No matter how we look at it, money plays an important role in our life, so it’s necessary to be able to talk about it. What we are going to teach you with this post is how to talk about loans and credit in English. Read on for useful collocations, phrasal verbs and more…


A loan (countable) is a sum of money that you borrow:

The country has no access to foreign loans or financial aid.

The president wants to make it easier for small businesses to get bank loans.

If you are allowed credit (uncountable), you are allowed to pay for goods or services several weeks or months after you have received them:

I can’t get credit to buy the apartment.

I don’t like buying things on credit.

If you buy something on credit, you buy it with the agreement that payment will be made at a future date. Note that something which is on loan has been borrowed: That book is already out on loan. These paintings are on loan from the Guggenheim (/ˈɡʊɡənˌhaɪm/) Museum in Bilbao (/bɪlˈbaʊ/).


  • to have credit: Around 22% of women’s businesses have credit as opposed to 7% of male enterprises.
  • to use credit: When you use credit, it usually means using a credit card. (When you use a debit card, the money is deducted from your checking account. With a credit card, you’re borrowing money to be repaid later.)
  • to build credit: Bad credit can keep you from buying a home. This is why it’s so important to build good credit. (Bad credit is a description of a person or a company’s predicted inability to repay a debt on time and in full.)
  • to establish credit: Establishing good credit and learning to use it wisely when you are young can make your transition to adulthood much easier.
  • to have a credit history: If you have a credit card or a loan from a bank, you have a credit history. (Credit history is a record of how promptly a person pays back loans, credits, etc. over time.)
  • to give credit: If the bank agrees to give me credit, I’ll finally be able to get my business up and running.
  • to offer credit: Most shops selling furniture or electrical goods will offer credit.
  • to get credit: If you don’t have a regular income, you may be unable to get credit.
  • to extend credit: I’m sorry, Mr. Smith, but because of your poor record of payment,we are no longer able to extend credit to you.
  • to refuse credit: Refusing credit to someone, whether it is an individual or an organization, is not an easy task.
  • to deny credit: If you have ever applied for a loan and been denied credit, you know how discouraging that can feel.
  • interest-free credit: An interest-free credit card is a type of credit card that charges you no interest for a fixed period. (Interest (uncountable) is money that a person or institution such as a bank charges you for lending you money. They charge interest on something, and you can repay something with interest.)
  • Credit limit: Your credit limit is now £2,000.
  • Credit terms (the arrangements made for giving credit): Offering credit terms to customers is a common practice between businesses.


  • to pay off a loan: We need to pay off the student loan. 
  • to repay a loan: It would be impossible to say when we might repay such a loan.
  • to take out a loan: She had to take out a bridging loan until she could sell her house. (A bridging/bridge loan is a short-term loan used until a person or company secures permanent financing or removes an existing obligation.)
  • to receive/get a loan: Students who receive a loan are not required to make repayments until their income exceeds a minimum threshold.
  • to secure a loan: I need to secure (obtain) a loan by the end of the day.
  • to request a loan: Due to the evolution of prices in the real estate market, more and more persons intending to buy a real property (property consisting of land or buildings) have to request a loan from a bank.
  • to apply for a loan: You can apply for a loan from a bank.
  • to ask for a loan: I can go to the bank right now and ask for a loan.
  • to give a loan: I don’t know if you’re good to give a loan to.
  • to make a loan: My bank manager offered to make me a loan.
  • an interest-free loan: Interest-free loans are among the most attractive finance deals.
  • loan charges: Six people have been arrested over the promotion of fraudulent schemes designed to get round paying the loan charge.
  • loan rate (the amount of money that is charged for a loan): Loan rates vary depending on the purpose and type of loan.
  • loan sharks (if you describe someone as a loan shark, you disapprove of them because they lend money to people and charge them very high rates of interest on the loan): He ran up massive debts borrowing from loan sharks. (If you run up debts, you get into debt and allow the amount to increase.)


I managed to put aside some money before I went to university, and I also got a grant because my parents don’t earn a great deal. However, after I’d paid my tuition fees and bought a lot of books, I still had to take out a loan to cover the cost of my living expenses. By the end of my first year, I already owed the student loan company over 4,000 pounds.

In my second year, my parents subsidized me where they could, and I dipped into my savings a bit more as well, but my debts still mounted up. By the time I finished my degree, I owed over 15,000 pounds at 5% interest. It will take me years to pay that off.

(from “Oxford Learner’s Pocket Word Skills”)

  • If you put money aside, you save it.
  • A grant is an amount of money that the government or an organization gives you for a specific purpose and does not ask you to pay back. (Money that you have to pay back is a loan.)
  • If you earn a great deal, you earn a lot of money.
  • To cover the cost of something is to provide enough money for it.
  • Living expenses are the money that has to be spent on food, housing, clothes, transport, etc.
  • To subsidize a person means to give money to the person to help them pay for something.
  • If you dip into your savings, you use some of your savings.
  • To mount up is to increase gradually.
“Never spend your money before you have it.”
Thomas Jefferson, the 3rd U.S. President

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