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The most confusing Trading & Finance Jargon in 2021

Trading gets more and more popular every year, particularly as a growing number of young adults take more of an interest in personal finance. But as many new traders will quickly learn, trading and finance have a lot of their own terminology, and it certainly helps to know them!

Because we’re so nice, we went away to find out the trading and finance terms causing the most confusion, and we’ve listed the top 10 alongside their definitions to help you out.

Trading Jargon

Millions of people around the world are now proud traders. However, the amount of jargon and terms out there can sometimes put new traders off. In a recent survey investigating crypto investing in Britain alone, a third of people said that despite their curiosity, they were too baffled by it to start investing in coins.

So, we whipped out our magnifying glass to investigate the terms and questions people find the most confusing. And how do we find that out? By looking at what everybody’s Googling!

In the table below, we’ve ranked the trading terms most people are looking for by their search volume. (Search volume is the average number of times users search for a term in a certain window of time.)

Trading Terms - Top 10 Increases in Online Search Interest

Rank Keyword 2020 UK Google
Search Volume
2021 UK Google
Search Volume
% YoY Increase
in searches
Pump and dump 7,200 26,300  265% 
Fiat currency  24,400 75,800  211% 
Over the counter (OTC) trading 2,380 6,800 186% 
Averaging down 800 1,800 125% 
Call option 20,200 43,700 116% 
Greenshoe 940 2,030 62% 
Trading volume 3,140  6,550 109% 
Hedge fund 106,100 213,000 101% 
Unborrowable stocks 50 100  100% 
10  Stock charts 30,000  57,200  91% 

Taking the top spot is the illegal trading tactic, ‘pump and dump’. These schemes essentially take advantage of unsuspecting people and make scammers a big sum.

In such a scheme, an influencer or investor will receive a fee behind closed doors to promote a stock or other commodity. This draws unaware traders to the market, inflating the cost before the colluding parties sell their investments and pocket the money, leaving the little guy down and out.

In other words, they ‘pump’ up the interest in a stock and then ‘dump’ their own shares.

But why the sudden interest? Well, the Dogecoin surge and the ‘GameStop’ fiasco may have had something to do with this term’s whopping 265% increase year on year, as both stories led to speculation of ‘pump and dump’ tactics.

In second place is ‘fiat currency’, earning a 211% increase this year, rising from 24,400 searches to 75,800. The payment form is now celebrating its 50th birthday this year, which may have contributed to its rise in interest… but it could also be down to bad press.

The great crypto versus fiat currency debate has gained plenty of traction this year, with surveyed crypto experts believing that global finance will eventually be overtaken by digital currency.

‘OTC stocks’ are drawing in far more interest this year than the last, earning it bronze position on the podium. Our findings show that there were 6,800 Google searches in 2021 for the term in the UK, a 186% increase from 2,380 in 2020.

This form of trading is for smaller scale stocks that aren’t listed on a centralised global exchange. It’s unsurprising that smaller scale trading is of interest to web-based traders, which helps explain the growth in research around OTC stocks.

Completing the top five most baffling terms are ‘averaging down’ and ‘call option’, up 125% and 116% respectively.

Next up, we looked at the most asked questions associated with financial terms. Many of the most asked questions corresponded with the top-ranking search topics, swapping out only ‘averaging down’.

Interestingly, the only addition to the top five came in at the top spot, with ‘what is slippage’ searches increasing 484% in the last year, up from 430 searches to 2,510 in 2021. (‘Slippage’ occurs when market participants receive a different trade price than intended. Often, this instance happens when the bid changes between order request and the time an exchange takes.)

Trading Questions - Top 5 Increases in Search Interest

Rank Most popular
trading questions
Percentage increase,
2021 vs 2020
1st What is slippage  484% 
2nd What is a fiat currency  457% 
3rd What is otc trading  435% 
4th What is pump and dump  364% 
5th What is a call option  283% 

The Most Confusing Trading Finance Jargon in 2021

Financial Jargon

But what about wider financial knowledge? Whether we like it or not, our financial behaviors are essential in helping us grow up and grow old. Yet, research shows eight in 10 Brits are confused by financial jargon.

So, we thought we should look at the most searched for terms and questions related to personal finance online as well.

(It turns out many of us may need to brush up on our financial knowledge…)

Financial Terms - Top 10 Increases in Search Interest

Rank Keyword 2020 UK Google
Search Volume
2021 UK Google
Search Volume
% Increase
1 Stamp duty 551,500 1,432,000 160%
2 Exchange of contracts 13,500 24,000 78%
3 Credit score 2,481,000 4,360,000 76%
4 Limited liability 19,100 33,100 73%
5 Quarterly statements 60 100 67%
6 Corporation tax 164,800 267,400 62%
7 Annual percentage rate (APR) 1,940 3,010 55%
8 Buildings insurance 91,100 134,000 47%
9 Conveyancing 172,700 252,000 46%
10 After tax 6,780 9,600 42%

The housing market is the hottest personal finance topic, which makes sense following the UK Government’s announcement of a ‘stamp duty holiday’ last year. That’s why it’s no wonder that ‘stamp duty’ topped the financial terms list!

Searches increased by a whopping 160% in 2021. According to our findings, there were 1,432,000 searches for ‘stamp duty’ in 2021 compared to 551,500 in 2020.

If you are reading this and are now frantically looking up ‘stamp duty holiday’ in another tab, unfortunately, it’s already ended – but despite finishing some months ago, the number of searches still shows heightened interest in the term.

In second place, we have ‘exchange of contracts’. This term saw a 78% increase from 2020, with the number of searches increasing from 13,500 to 24,000.

The third most searched for financial term, ‘credit score’, increased by 76%. That would make sense, as research shows 49% of UK adults have never accessed their credit report, despite it being key to whether or not they can borrow from lenders.

Completing the top five are ‘limited liability’, which increased by 73%, and ‘quarterly statements’ (67% increase).

Now, what are the more specific questions that people are asking? We found the most popular questions were focused on housing purchases and setting up a business.

The number one most asked question is ‘what is corporation tax?’, which has 80,500 searches in comparison to 21,700 in 2020. This is a huge 271% increase.

The Federation for Small Businesses estimated the average SME owner spends 70 hours per month on tasks like tax returns and reliefs, which could explain why the question is so popular.

In second place is ‘what is cost of sales?’, which increased by 150% and, again, is an important answer to know for those setting up their own businesses.

In fourth and fifth places are ‘what is exchange of contracts’? which increased by 139%, and ‘what is stamp duty’, which rose by 124%. This is unsurprising, as both topics – associated with housing – feature heavily in the most searched for terms overall too.

Finance Questions - Top 5 Increases in Online Search Interest

Rank Most Googled
financial questions
Percentage increase,
2021 vs 2020
1st What is corporation tax 271%
2nd What is a cost of sales 150%
3rd What is exchange of contracts 139%
4th What is stamp duty 124%
5th What is limited liability 110%


We compiled a comprehensive list of popular trading and financial terms, before analysing them using Google Keyword Planner to gather the amount of search volume for each term. To make our dataset more comprehensive, we included common queries relating to each topic, such as ‘what is remortgaging’ or ‘remortgaging definition’ and gathered search volume data on these from Google Keyword Planner too.

Search volume was recorded from Jan-June 2020 and Jan-Jun 2021 for year-on-year comparison. We calculated the difference in search volume between 2020 and 2021 to find the terms with the biggest changes in consumer search interest. 

Financial terms sourced from:

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