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Transaction between two parties in which one (the creditor or lender) supplies money, goods, services, or securities in return for a promised future payment by the other (the debtor or borrower). Such transactions normally include the payment of interest to the lender. Credit may be extended by public or private institutions to finance business activities, agricultural operations, consumer expenditures, or government projects. Large sums of credit are usually extended through specialized financial institutions such as commercial banks or through government lending programs.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on credit, visit Britannica.com.