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Debit and Credit: Definitions and Key Differences

Debit and credit are the two pieces of accounting language that cause the most confusion.

A transaction’s originating account is credited in an accounting entry, while the target account is debited.

In simple terms, a debit is a money that leaves the account, and credit is money that enters the account.

It’s also utilized to keep track of how much money is coming in and going out of your business account.

These principles may appear difficult to a newcomer, but they are crucial to an accounting student since they form the foundation of the entire system.

So, in this article, we will understand the difference between debit and credit, but first, let us dig a little more into debit vs credit accounting.

What are Debits and Credits?

The effect of debit vs credit varies across various different types of accounts, causing uncertainty about the true meaning of credit vs debit.

Definition of Debit

The word debt comes from the Latin word “debere,” which literally means “to owe.”

It’s an entry on the left side of a ledger account that’s commonly referred to as Dr. It’s an accounting entry that’s made when expenses, assets, and losses increase or when revenues, liabilities, gains, and owner’s equity decrease.

A debit balance is when the debit side of an account surpasses the credit side.

Non-accountants use the term “debit” to describe money taken out of or subtracted from a specific bank account.

Definition of Credit

Credit comes from the Latin word “credere,” which literally means “to entrust.”

It’s an entry on the right side of a ledger account that’s abbreviated to Cr.

It is an accounting entry that is made when revenues, liabilities, gains, and owner’s equity are increased, or when expenses, assets, and losses are decreased.

A credit balance is one in which the credit side of an account surpasses the debit side.

Non-accounting Individuals understand the term “credit” to mean money that has been deposited into a specific bank account.

Debit Vs Credit: What’s the Difference?

  • Debit and credit are diametrically different. In most circumstances, when debt raises the account, the credit decreases the account and vice versa. Only when cash is used as a kind of capital in a business does it become the most notable exception.
  • We debit the account when Increasing assets and decreasing liabilities are reflected. We credit the account when the asset/expenses account declines and the liability/income account increases.
  • Debit usually refers to the use of a single account. And credit usually denotes the origin of a different account.
  • The growth in debit is attributable to increases in cash, inventory, plant and machinery, land and buildings, and expenses such as salary, insurance, tax, and dividends, among other things. The gain in credit is attributable to an increase in the shareholder’s fund, membership fees, rental income, retained earnings, Account payable, and other factors.

Comparison of Debit Vs Credit – Table 

Basis for Comparison  Debit Credit
Definition It is the application of monetary value to a transaction. It is the transaction’s source of value.
Application It’s used to show how assets and expenses, or liabilities and revenues, have increased or decreased. The term “credit” is used to describe the increase or decrease of liabilities and incomes, as well as assets and expenses.


In a journal The debit account is the first to be reported. After the debit account, the credit account is recorded, followed by the term “To.”
Placement in T-format It is always positioned to the right. It is always positioned on the left.
Equation Debiting one account has an impact on “Assets = Liabilities + Equity.” By crediting one account, “Assets = Liabilities + Equity” is altered.
Balancing act In a double-entry system, debit alone isn’t enough to balance the transaction. Similarly, without the help of a debit account, credit cannot balance the entire transaction.

Examples of Debit and Credit

A customer buys three surfboards from Josh’s Surfboards for $1,000. The bill is settled in cash right away. Josh transfers the funds to his firm’s business account. Now is the moment for him to update his company’s online accounting information.

Josh logs onto the internet. He notes a $1000 debit to his cash account (under “Assets”) for this transaction. $1,000 is credited to his sales (under “Revenue”).

Josh then takes out a $3,000 loan for store improvements a few weeks later. He will then debit $3,000 from his loans payable account (under “Liabilities”) and credit the same amount to his cash account (under “Assets”).

Final Words

Debit and credit are twins in the accounting world. Comprehending one makes understanding the other much easier.

If you understand the differences between debit and credit, you can use them to measure your business transactions across the many account types you employ.

Accounting rules are self-evident. You should be able to recognize which account must be debited and which account must be credited if you can recall what increases and decreases.