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This question related to another one, in which Flater gave me a very good explanation. But I just come up with another question and I am afraid editing that question will mess it up, so I create this one instead.

I am a programmer developing software systems for attractions, I observed there are two ways for the attractions to do business with travel agents.

  1. Need prepayment from travel agents
  2. Invoice the travel agents after purchase made

Now I have to develop a system to record the travel agent's account balance.

One of my colleagues suggest to call it "credit management system", so when a travel agent make a prepayment (1), the system "add credits" to the travel agent's account balance, it seems like what apple called it. And, suggest to call the maximum prepayment balance "credit limit". Then the system decrease the travel agent's balance for his purchase.

But what about (2)? The attraction need to set a upper bound for how much an travel agent can purchase and owe to the attraction, call this "credit limit" again?

I have the following questions:

  1. How to call the "maximum prepayment balance"?
  2. How to call the "upper bound for how much an travel agent can owe to the attraction"?
  3. When a travel agent make a "deposit" or a "prepayment", should the system recorded it as a "credit"?
  4. When a travel agent make a purchase and amount is deducted from the balance, should the system recorded it as a "debit"?

migrated from english.stackexchange.com Jul 31 '17 at 13:48

This question came from our site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts.

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Credit, according to Merriam-Webster (noun, sense 2), means:

a : the balance in a person's favor in an account
b : an amount or sum placed at a person's disposal by a bank
c : the provision of money, goods, or services with the expectation of future payment also : money, goods, or services so provided
d (1) : an entry on the right-hand side of an account constituting an addition to a revenue, net worth, or liability account
d (2) : a deduction from an expense or asset account
e : any one of or the sum of the items entered on the right-hand side of an account
f : a deduction from an amount otherwise due

(I bolded the specific senses that are relevant to your questions.)

I would say:

  1. You should not need a term for this, as there should not be any chance that such a limit would be hit; you should be willing to accept as much money as any agent gives you. (And they have a vested interest in not letting a large balance sit in your accounts instead of their own.) If you really need a term, "Maximum balance" would be appropriate. (You don't need to call it a prepayment balance, just the word balance encompasses the meaning appropriately: "accounting : an amount in excess especially on the credit side of an account" (also from M-W.com, sense 8c).)

  2. Credit Limit is the industry standard term for that; referencing sense (c) above, it is the limit of how much monetary value I am willing to give you before you have paid for it.

  3. A credit to an account is an addition of funds (sense (d(1)) above), so yes, if they send you money, it is a credit.

  4. A debit is the opposite of a credit, and is the correct term to use when you deduct money from an account.

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