Financial Dictionary -> Debt -> Debt

In its barest form, debt is when you owe somebody something. You are in debt to them. But in business and finance terms, debt refers to the owing of money or assets. The word debt can be used to simply define the owing of money, for example after obtaining a loan, but it is often used when somebody reaches the point where they can't pay back the loan or have broken its terms - giving it negative connotations.

You can be in debt to any business or lender that offers you credit, such as "buy now pay later," "higher purchase," "buying on finance," getting a loan, obtaining a mortgage or using a credit card. All of these have their individual terms but usually work on the premise that you borrow money and pay it back at a later date, with interest rates on top. This usually occurs with incremental payments (for example monthly installments).

Because the value of a currency can fluctuate, so can the value of a debt. This is due to inflation or deflation. Usually in the terms of a loan a certain amount of fluctuation is agreed on incase inflation or deflation issues occur.

If it becomes a big problem for a person to pay back their debt and they have multiple outstanding loans, it is common practice to seek a debt consolidation service that sorts through all the debt and bundles it in one easy to manage repayment program. If they simply do not have the money to pay back their debt, then it is not uncommon for new realistic terms to be negotiated.

If somebody has a history of debt problems, has been declared bankrupt or is often late in making payments this goes towards their
credit rating
or score and any future loans may be rejected because they are deemed a risk. Lenders utilize credit bureaus, which make credit checks and reports on potential borrowers to make sure the person is likely to make the repayment without any trouble. It is much harder to get a loan when the economy is in bad shape.