Mifos Glossary

Taken from Check there for the most up to date version of this glossary.


A/C Collections
It is a column on collection sheet entry where any fees/charges assessed against client/group/center, not including a loan, that are due at the meeting will be summed up. Perhaps think of A/C as Assessed Charges.
Accepted Payment Types
[HowToDefineAcceptedPaymentTypes] Forms of payment accepted by an MFI. The default choices are cash, check/cheque, and voucher.
[Howtocreateanewloanaccount][WhatIsASavingsAccount] Savings account or loan account with an individual client or group.
Account Status History
The account history shows listing of loan status changes with the first entry being the first status assigned to the loan when it was created. The information can be used to track the progress of the loan, the efficiency of the loan officer or MFI approval process. [not found]
A function provided in the Mifos software that a user can perform.
[HowToViewAndWorkWithGroupDetails] Changes made to an account other than normal disbursements and payments. This can include rescheduling missed installments and ??
Administrative Document.
A document that can be attached to a specific loan or savings account and printed as needed. The administrative documents that ship with Mifos include a voucher, payment book, disbursal receipt, and payment receipt.
A user role giving permission to view and modify the structure of the MFI, product definitions, and other internal settings.
[HowToSetProductRulesAndAttributes] The attributes of a product include currency, interest rate, and repayment schedule.


[HowToCreateReports] (Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools) is Free/Libre/Open Source Software for generating reports. See
A list of people that have been barred from getting loans.
Branch or Branch Office
The level at which all client interactions take place.
Bulk Loan, Bulk Loan Approval, Bulk Loan Creation
A bulk loan is several loans that can be created or approved all at once.
Business Intelligence (BI)
Mainly referring to computer-based techniques used in identifying , extracting, and analyzing business data, business intelligence technologies provide historical, current, and predictive views of business operations.


[HowToSetProductRulesAndAttributes] A named group of products.
Center or Kendra
[CentersGroupsAndClientsOverview][HowToCreateANewCenter] In an MFI hierarchy, a collection of multiple groups. In India, this is called a Kendra.
Change Log
[Common tasks] The changes made to any of the following items on the accounts page will be logged in the change log: Account information changes, Addition/removal of fee types, Addition of notes and change in collateral notes, Status changes: includes changes that were made by the user and the system.
[HowToWorkWithUserChecklists] Checklists specify what steps must be completed before changing the status of accounts or customer records can proceed. Each time a user attempts to change the status of an account or customer record, the Checklist defined for that state change is shown to the user. The user can read through the checklist and make sure all the requirements are met. These checklists will be associated with all workflows for accounts and client records but are not automated. Checklist types include Center, Group, Client, Loan, Savings.
[Common tasks] To create a client you need to choose to attach a client to a branch or group and enter the client details. The following steps provide more details on the how to create a client. The individual client can have savings accounts and borrow money according to the rules of your MFI. [HowToCreateANewClient]
Collection Sheet, Collection Sheet Report
[HowToEnterCollectionSheetData] The collection sheet Web form shows all payments expected on that day, and situations requiring attention, including missed payments and missed meetings.
Community for Open Source Microfinance, the name of the "Mifos Initiative". Mifos is sharter version of MIcroFinanace Open Source.
Custom Fields, Additional Fields
Mifos provides custom fields that enable MFIs to capture additional information for customized processing. The custom fields can be used by the MFI to capture different sets of information. The fields can be used to capture text, date or numeric data. The system allows the system administrator to make the custom fields mandatory and to change the labels for such fields. [not found]
Client is a subset of customer. For example, a loan can be made to a Client (an individual) or a Group (some number of clients). You could refer to a the Customer of a given loan where Customer would mean Client or Group. So in general Customer is used when it could mean Client or Group.
Customized Text
Mifos allows the customization of certain terms in order to make documentation more understandable to specific regions or languages. "Customized text" refers to the text that the original text needs to be changed to. (For more information visit


The dashboard is an interactive user interface that allows the user to quickly get updates, learn about Mifos projects, navigate to specific subsections of the website, or perform a search for topics that may not be listed.
Data Warehouse
A data store containing microfinance institution data from both Mifos as well as external sources in order to provide support for operations and finance reports and to provide a more generic reporting capability.
Declining Balance - Equal Principal Installment
This feature allows MFIs to calculate interest using equal principal installments, and simple declining balance formula to calculate the interest. This means that the borrower pays equal installments of principal for the duration of the loan, and the interest is calculated on principal that has not been paid for the loan period.

Formula Interest = (P-Pp) * r * n


P = loan amount

Pp= Principal paid

r = rate of interest

n = term of loan

The following additional logic is needed in the Loan Repayment and Interest Calculation:

Calculate the Principal per Installment PPI = Total Principal/ No of Payments Interest Per Period = (P-Pp) * r * n Where, P = loan amount Pp= Principal paid r = rate of interest n = term of loan

Declining Balance - Interest Recalculation
This takes the Declining Balance interest rate type, but interest charged is updated based on early or late payments. See Declining Balance - Interest Recalculation FSfor more information.
Details Page
[HowToViewPerformanceHistory] Information page in Mifos for centers, groups, and clients.
Paying out a loan. [Commontasks]
Date when the loan is disbursed (NEW)
[Common tasks] How long, after a period of no activity (dormancy) in a savings account, to mark the account as "On hold." The default is 30 days. [HowToSetProductRulesAndAttributes]


Equated Monthly Installment: this is the amount payable to the MFI every month until the loan is paid back in full. it consists of a portion of the interest as well as the principal. See the Appendix for a discussion of how to compute this installment. [HowToCalculateTheEMI]


Fee Types
[HowToSetUpYourOrganizationPreferences] Different fee types can be defined at the head office by authorized users. The user must have Can define fee type permission in order to define a fee type.
Fees or Charges
MFIs can charge their customer fee for the various services offered. Reasons for charging a fee can vary from one MFI to another. Mifos system gives the flexibility to MFIs and branches to define fee types to meet their requirements. Examples of fee types can be client creation fee, training fee, or account creation fee. [HowToSetUpYourOrganizationPreferences]
Flat Interest Rate
Flat interest refers to charging interest on the full original loan amount, rather than on the declining balance. For example, with group based loans, a common "interest rate" is "3% per month, flat, for four months". This means that a $100 principal amount lent is multiplied by 3%, and then by 4 months to come up with $12 in interest. Thus, $112 would be repaid over four months in equal installments.

This is the most common calculation used in Grameen Style MFIs (most MFIs). Also there is no incentive for repaying early, since customer still has to pay the total interest as was calculated at the start of the loan.

The use of "flat" interest rates is usually explained as facilitating understanding by poorly educated and illiterate clients. "Flat" interest is easier to calculate than “declining balance” interest. However, "flat" interest also disguises the "effective" interest rate (APR, or internal rate of return) to the loan. Based on how often the principal is collected (weekly, monthly or at the end of the term), and assuming there are no additional fees, the above loan has an APR of between 39% and 71%.

Formula: Interest = P * r/100 * n

P = loan amount- Initial amount

r = rate of interest

n = term of the loan


P=100, r = 3/100 per month, n = 4

Interest = 100 *(3/100) * 4 = 12

Monthly payments of 112 / 4 = 28

Note: The above formula holds for loans disbursed in between two meetings also.g into account the balance paid.

Fund Code
[HowToWorkWithFunds] A predefined numeric code for identifying funds.
Fund Type
[Common tasks] Name for group of sources of funds
[HowToWorkWithFunds] A source of money used to make loans or carry out other MFI functions. Examples are donor funds and deposits. Mifos provides a set of fund codes that Administrators can name as appropriate.


Group loans, individual monitoring. In a GLIM loan, all transactions (disbursals, payments, adjustments, bulk entry, and so forth) take place at the group level. The only major difference between GLIM and the usual group loans is that the initial loan account creation specifies the amounts given to each individual, the purposes for these amounts, and the way these loans affect the calculation of individual performance metrics. See also: Group loan.
Gl Code
[HowToDefineNewLoanProducts] General Ledger code
Group Loan
[Common tasks] Loan to a member of a group, where the entire group takes responsibility for managing the loan, and making sure that the borrower repays it.
Group Loan
In a group loan, the group has a single loan account, and the group is the primary unit that the MFI interacts with; a single repayment schedule is maintained for the entire group. The group as a whole is responsible for repayment and fees, and each individual in the group has a designated responsibility to pay their part of the debt. See also: GLIM, Individual lending.
A collection of clients working together, that is assigned to a center or a branch. The group can act together to borrow money and hold a savings account. [HowToCreateANewGroup]


Head Office
Hierarchy, MFI
The structure of offices in an MFI is an inverted tree, with the central office at the top, and up to four levels below it. The system uses the office hierarchy to structure management, control, and reporting on microfinance transactions. Also called office hierarchy.
[Common tasks] Periods of time when no payment is due. Each holiday has an associated repayment rule, such as Next Working Day.


Individual Lending
A loan made to an individual person. See also: Group loan.


See Center.


[Howtocreateanewloanaccount] Loan schedule independent of meeting: allows loan payments to be collected on nonmeeting days.
[HowToSetRulesForDataDisplay] Variable text in the user interface, changeable by administrators. These are in Unicode, and can be in any language.
[Common tasks] An attribute of a loan product, specifying how long to wait after nonpayment of a loan before the account is marked "In arrears". [HowToSetProductRulesAndAttributes]
Loan Account
[Howtocreateanewloanaccount] Account with an individual or group to take out and repay a loan.
Loan Cycle Counter
A count of how many times a new loan account has been opened for the client. Rescheduling or writing-off a loan decrements the loan cycle count.
Loan Cycle
A client's loan cycle begins when a new loan account is opened. It closes when the loan is fully repaid.
Loan Officer
User role for personnel permitted to act on client loan accounts.
Lookup Options
[HowToSetUpAnMFI] In the mifos UI, a dropdown list of items to choose from.


M-PESA ("M" for "mobile", pesa is Swahili for "money") is a mobile-based money transfer service provided by Safaricom which allows borrowers to conveniently receive and repay loans, as well as easily track their finances, send remittances, and make payments.
MFI Hierarchy
See hierarchy, MFI
MFI Principles
[HowToCreateANewClient] The essential information that clients should know about the purposes and practices of a microfinance institution.
Management Information System (MIS)
Software for aggregating and analyzing information from a business, designed to answer essential management questions. [Welcome]
Microfinance Institution (MFI)
Bank or NGO engaged in microfinance. [Welcome]
Making small loans to poor people without collateral, based on their ability to repay from a new or expanded business. Begun by Muhammad Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank. [Welcome]
Microfinance Open Source software. Web-based software for microfinance institutions. [Welcome]
Minimum Balance
The required minimum amount of money that must be kept at all times in a savings account.
Mobile Money
Refers to the ability to perform online banking through a cell phone or other mobile device.


Naming Sequence
Client, user, father, and spouse names can consist of the following fields: First Name, Middle Name, Second Last, Last Name. The first and last names are mandatory. An MFI can choose whether to collect the middle two; if they aren’t collected, the fields will not be displayed. An MFI specifies the sequence in which the names are displayed. Once defined, names are always displayed in this order, whether in search results, detail pages, or reports. Reference: (Search for "Name" within "Personal Details" section)
A nonprofit corporation or other organization for some public good, which is not an agency of a government or a treaty organization (such as the UN), or a for-profit business. The legal basis for such organizations differs significantly in various countries. [not found]
National ID
[HowToWorkWithRolesPermissionsAndSystemUsers] Government ID, national ID, or social security number. Also called UID.
The following section of the loan account dashboard shows the Recent Notes of a loan account. It shows various notes that have been appended to the loan account. The loan dashboard shows the 3 most recent notes. A note must be added when the user is changing the status of the account. The user can also add a note when need arises by using the Add note link. [Commontasks]


[HowToCreateAndorViewTheOfficeStructure] Any part of an MFI hierarchy In Mifos, typically based on a geographic area or functional division, with users and clients assigned to it. An MFI can have five levels of offices.
[not found] Calculations that can be performed at any time, without waiting for any batch process to complete. In particular, calculations made and displayed immediately on a Web form from entered data.


[Common tasks] [HowToSetUpYourOrganizationPreferences] The Progress Out Of Poverty Index is used in India, to measure the financial improvement of a country's population.
Performance History
[Common tasks] A summary of essential information on centers, groups, or clients.
Personnel Hierarchy
[HowToWorkWithRolesPermissionsAndSystemUsers] Loan officers, with restricted permissions, and Others, with unlimited permissions within their offices.
An MFI product is a type of loan or savings account, with an individual name and with various defined rules and attributes.
Product Categories
Types of products offered by the MFI. The different types of Loan categories and different types of Savings categories that are offered by MFI.
Product Mix
A product mix restricts the combination of active loans a client can have. For instance, a product mix may contain only Loan Product A, and Loan Product B. Then the client has the option to take out either or both of these loan products simultaneously but not any other loan products. Reference:


Redo Disbursal
[Common tasks] When a payment has been recorded and then reversed, this function allows it to be recorded again.
Repayment Rule
[HowToSetUpYourOrganizationPreferences] For a loan product, the way to generate a repayment schedule, and the requirements on borrowers in order to receive that type of loan.
Repayment Schedule
[Common tasks] For any loan, the dates and amounts of money to be repaid.
Reporting Engine
[not found] Software for generating reports from a description of the data required and the calculations to be performed. In Mifos, this is the BIRT engine.
Reverse Loan Disbursal
Functionality for reversing a loan that has already been paid out.
Redo Loan Disbursal
Functionality for redoing a loan that has already been paid out.
[Common tasks] A named set of permissions enabling users to perform a set of activities. Examples are Administrator (able to reconfigure a Mifos installation and define or redefine products) or Loan Officer (with full control over the accounts of their own clients, and the ability to view but not modify other accounts), Data Entry (able to enter transactions, but not otherwise modify client accounts).


Savings Account
An individual deposit account.
[Common tasks] Surveys are ways for loan officers and others working in the center to collect information about groups and clients for analysis and reporting. [HowToViewAndWorkWithCenterDetails]
System User
A person who works with clients, such as a Loan Officer.


Tally ERP 9
Financial software used by Mifos for accounting integration compatible with XML, ODBC, and DLL technologies.


A person authorized to use Mifos :Users are limited to performing the activities that are associated with a defined role.


Variable Loan Installments
The ability to create loans with variable installment periods.
Virtual Branch Office
[HowToCreateAndorViewTheOfficeStructure] A branch office defined within the head office, if that head office is to offer services directly to clients.