data limitations

In stabilization policy, refers to two scenarios: 1) quantitative factual information or data that is only available after the event (e.g., unemployment figures for last month); 2) the raw information that is adjusted for seasonal variations or changes in prices; therefore, data may not accurately measure the activity.

day trade

Also known as a ‘daylight trade.’ The purchase and sale or the short sale and cover of the same security in a margin account on the same day.

debit card

A card that resembles a credit card but which debits a transaction account (checking account) with the transfers occurring contemporaneously with the customer’s purchases. A debit card may be machine readable, allowing for the activation of an automated teller machine or other automated payments equipment.


Failure to meet the terms of a credit agreement.


The amount each year by which government spending is greater than government income.

demand deposit

A deposit that may be withdrawn at any time without prior written notice to the depository institution. A checking account is the most common form of demand deposit.

deposit ceiling rates of interest

Maximum interest rates that can be paid on savings and time deposits at federally insured commercial banks, mutual savings banks, savings and loan associations, and credit unions. Ceilings on credit union deposits are established by the Depository Institutions Deregulation Committee (DIDC). By law, deposit interest rate ceilings were phased out over a six-year period, ending in 1986 under the oversight of the DIDC.

depository institution

A financial institution that obtains its funds mainly through deposits from the public. This includes commercial banks, savings and loan associations, savings banks, and credit unions. Although historically they have specialized in certain types of credit, the powers of nonbank depository institutions have been broadened in recent years. For example, NOW accounts, credit union share drafts, and other services similar to checking accounts may be offered by thrift institutions.

Depository Institutions Deregulation Committee – DIDC

The Committee responsible for the orderly phase-out over a six-year period of interest rate ceilings on time and savings accounts at depository institutions. Voting members of the DIDC are the Secretary of the Treasury and the chairmen of the Federal Reserve Board, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Federal Home Loan Bank Board, and National Credit Union Administration Board. The Comptroller of the Currency serves as a non-voting member.


See currency depreciation.

direct deposit

A method of payment which electronically credits your checking or savings account.

dirty float

A type of floating exchange rate that is not completely freely floating because central banks intervene from time to time to alter the rate from its free-market level. It is still a floating rate because it has not been pegged at a predetermined par value.

discount payment

The difference between the face value and the price paid for a security.

discount rate

Interest rate at which an eligible depository institution may borrow funds, typically for a short period, directly from a Federal Reserve Bank. The law requires that the board of directors of each Reserve Bank establish the discount rate every fourteen days subject to the approval of the Board of Governors.

discount window

Figurative expression referring to the Federal Reserve’s facility for extending credit directly to eligible depository institutions (those with transaction accounts or nonpersonal time deposits).

durable merchandise

Goods that have a relatively lengthy life (television sets, radios, etc.).