In common usage this word is about as meaningful as the word 'nice'. Although generally used as an adjective (credit card. credit note, etc.), it has a more precise meaning in the business world, where it is the opposite of cash. Transactions are made on a 'credit' basis where no cash changes hands. The introduction and acceptance of credit in business transactions was the principal cause of the immense expansion of trade and industry over the past three hundred years; it was to economics, national and international, what the introduction of the 'zero' symbol was to mathematics. The world, particularly the Western world, has now become so credit-orientated that the point is fast approaching where cash will become completely unnecessary.
Another, rather specialized meaning of the word credit occurs in double-entry book-keeping, where, as the opposite of debit, it is one side of a book entry, indicating either a liability for balance sheet purposes or income in the profit and loss account.
|Reference: The Penguin Business Dictionary, 3rd edt.|