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letter of credit:a document issued to a beneficiary at the request of the issuer's customer in which the issuer (as a bank) promises to honor a demand for payment by the beneficiary in order to satisfy or secure the customer's debt compare guaranty NOTE: A letter of credit is usu. requested by a buyer of merchandise (the issuer's customer) to be issued to the seller (the beneficiary) in order to secure the payment for the merchandise. In effect the letter of credit is considered to extend a line of credit or substitute the issuer's credit for the customer's.
Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.