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installment credit

in business, credit that is granted on condition of its repayment at regular intervals, or installments, over a specified period of time until paid in full. Installment credit is the means by which most durable goods such as automobiles and large home appliances are bought by individuals. Installment credit involves the extension of credit from a seller (and lender) to a purchaser; the purchaser gets physical possession and use of the goods he has bought, but the seller retains legal title to them until every installment has been paid. The purchaser usually is advanced the goods after making an initial fractional payment called a down payment. If the purchaser defaults on his payments at some point, all previous payments are forfeited to the seller, who may also take possession of the goods

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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