DBs are the so-called “gold-plated” pensions, where your retirement income is based solely on earnings and the length of time you’ve been a member of the scheme. In most cases, your final salary is the key determinant, but some pension schemes now use a “career average” salary instead. While commonplace in the public sector, such pension schemes are now rare beasts elsewhere.
DCs are also known as money purchase schemes. With these, your retirement benefits are based solely on how much money you’ve accumulated in your pension pot, consisting of contributions from you and your employer, investment returns, plus tax relief. Most work pensions are now DC schemes and come with no guarantees. Currently, when you reach age 55, you can take the money out, although it’s usually more sensible to leave it there until you actually retire.