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Certificate in Financial Studies

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Certificate in Financial Studies develops the knowledge and skills required for young people to make informed financial decisions by introducing them to the risks and challenges involved in personal finance and the tools for effective planning. The objective is to enable students to make informed and confident decisions regarding their finances.

Certificate in Financial Studies is modular and examined in January and May, in the form of an online examination and a written paper.

Unit 1 - Financial capability for the Immediate and Short Term examine the following key areas

  • Purposes of Money – Students will learn about barter, the history of money and the need for money as a medium of exchange in a commercial world. Students will know, understand and be able to explain the characteristics and function of money.
  • The personal life-cycle students will learn about the need for money and financial products as they pass through the different stages of life. They will be made aware of the need to plan for life events and to expect the unexpected.
  • Payment methodsStudents will learn about the array of payment methods available to a range of customers for example direct debit, standing orders, online payments, contactless payments, mobile banking, Bac and Chaps payments, cheques, credit cards and cash payments.
  • Everyday bankingStudents will learn about opening current accounts, the range of current accounts available to different categories of customers and the need for a current account for payment of wages; direct credit and the need to meet their financial obligations.
  • Saving products Students will distinguish between Instant Access Accounts, Notice Accounts and Savings Bonds; the interest rates received and penalty charges
  • Borrowing productsStudent will know the difference interest rate charges and be in a position to find financial solutions to financial problems using appropriate borrowing product e.g. overdraft, personal loan, credit cards
  • ProvidersHere we examine the role of Banks, Building Societies, Credit Unions, NS&I, Challenger Banks and online providers in relation to ownership and range of products
  • Customer protectionStudents will learn about the Financial Crisis 2007/08 and the need for legislation to ensure consumer confidence and sustainability of the Financial Service Sector. We will examine the role of financial watchdogs PRA, FPC and FCA and the supports in place to ensure safety and security of the Financial Sector e.g. FSCS, FOS, MAS, CMA, VCOP, MPC, Bank of England and the Treasury
  • Budgets and forecasts Here students will learn the different between zero budget, budget surplus and budget deficit. Students will learn about the need to manage money and the distinction between mandatory, essential and discretionary payments
  • Dealing with unexpected eventsExpect the unexpected and here we examine the role and importance of general insurance e.g. car insurance, contents and building insurance, life term-assurance
  • Dealing with debtStudent learn how to manage debt and when overstretched the solutions to their changing circumstances e.g. debt management plan, individual voluntary arrangement and bankruptcy
  • EarningsStudents learn the key aspects of the world of work e.g. wage rates, income tax rates, national insurance rates, gross pay, net pay and penalties for non-payment.


Unit 2 – Students examine financial capability for the Medium and Long Term under the following headings:

  • Needs, wants and aspirations
  • Saving & Investments
  • Borrowing products
  • Dealing with long term risks
  • Financial planning
  • Financial planning and informed choices
  • Dealing with unforeseen events
  • Ethics and Sustainability
  • Sources of Information and advice



London Institute of Banking and Finance provide unit textbooks and a bank of online materials that all students can access using their unique login details


Sample papers

CFS Case Study

CFS Paper 1

CFS Paper 2