Credit

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DEFINITION of 'Credit'

1. A contractual agreement in which a borrower receives something of value now and agrees to repay the lender at some date in the future, generally with interest. The term also refers to the borrowing capacity of an individual or company.

2. An accounting entry that either decreases assets or increases liabilities and equity on the company's balance sheet. On the company's income statement, a debit will reduce net income, while a credit will increase net income.

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BREAKING DOWN 'Credit'

1. The amount of money available to be borrowed by an individual or a company is referred to as credit because it must be paid back to the lender at some point in the future. For example, when you make a purchase at your local mall with your VISA card it is considered a form of credit because you are buying goods with the understanding that you'll need to pay for them later.

2. For example, on a company's balance sheet, a debit will increase the inventory account (an asset) if the company buys merchandise for resale on credit. On the other hand, a credit will increase the company's accounts payable (a liability).

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