For an asset account, I've learned that debit increases the balance. This makes perfect sense.

So that it's straightforward to calculate net worth, it would make sense that when I buy something on a credit card, that would be a decrease (which is still a debit since it's a liability account). So am I right in saying that despite it being the normal state of affairs for a credit card account to be in the red, that it should still be displayed with a negative balance?

This is to do with a hobby software project I'm working on that includes a (hopefully powerful but simple) accounting module.

Many thanks in advance.


When one is looking at their own finances, I'd not be surprised they are not thinking about the words 'debit' and 'credit,' but rather what they have, and what they owe.

My own balance sheet, on a spreadsheet, has a column of my assets, house, retirement accounts, etc, and another column of debts, mortgages, equity line balance, etc.

When writing software for these things, yes, the credit card balance is a negative, as is the mortgage or any other debt owed.

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