Definition of Debit and Credit

Debits and credits are a system of notation used in bookkeeping, double entry vouchers to determine how and where to record any financial transaction.
In bookkeeping, instead of using addition ‘+’ and subtraction ‘-‘ symbols, a transaction uses the symbol DR (Debit) or CR (Credit).


Example image of Double entry voucher and CD and Dr columns

In double-entry bookkeeping debit is used for asset and expense transactions and credit is used for liability and gains transactions. For bank transactions, money in is treated as a debit transaction and money out is treated as a credit

Traditionally, transactions are recorded in two columns of numbers: debits in the left hand column, credits in the right hand column. Keeping the debits and credits in separate columns allows each to be recorded and totaled
independently. Where the total of the debit value amounts is lower than the total of the credit value amounts a balancing debit value is posted to that nominal ledger account. That nominal ledger account is now “balanced”. An account can have either a credit value balance or a debit value balance but not both.

Origin of the terms debit and credit

The term debit comes from the Latin debitum which means “that which is owing” (the past participle of debere “to owe”). Debit is abbreviated to Dr (for debitor). The term credit comes from the Latin credere/credit meaning “to trust or believe” / “he trusts or believes” via the French credit and the Italian credito.
Credit is abbreviated to Cr (for creditor)

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