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Credit is the provision of resources (such as granting a loan) by one party to another party where that second party does not reimburse the first party immediately, thereby generating a debt, and instead arranges either to repay or return those resources (or material(s) of equal value) at a later date. It is any form of deferred payment. The first party is called a creditor, also known as a lender, while the second party is called a debtor, also known as a borrower.
Movements of financial capital are normally dependent on either credit or equity transfers. Credit is in turn dependent on the reputation or creditworthiness of the entity which takes responsibility for the funds.
Credit need not necessarily be based on formal monetary systems. The credit concept can be applied in barter economies based on the direct exchange of goods and services, and some would go so far as to suggest that the true nature of money is best described as a representation of the credit-debt relationships that exist in society
Credit is denominated by a unit of account. Unlike money (by a strict definition), credit itself cannot act as a unit of account. However, many forms of credit can readily act as a medium of exchange. As such, various forms of credit are frequently referred to as money and are included in estimates of the money supply.
Credit is also traded in the market. The purest form is the credit default swap market, which is essentially a traded market in credit insurance. A credit default swap represents the price at which two parties exchange this risk – the protection "seller" takes the risk of default of the credit in return for a payment, commonly denoted in basis points (one basis point is 1/100 of a percent) of the notional amount to be referenced, while the protection "buyer" pays this premium and in the case of default of the underlying (a loan, bond or other receivable), delivers this receivable to the protection seller and receives from the seller the par amount (that is, is made whole).