What is Calling In A Chit?


Calling In A Chit

How many times have you asked people for a favor? Have you had people who have asked you for a favor and have said “I owe you big” or have even written you an “IOU.” An IOU is a non-negotiable note that is dated, signed and acknowledged as a debt.

 It is not legal and is non-negotiable and is not recognized in a court a law. In most of the world many people understand what and IOU is, however if some said: “I’m calling in a chit.” Most people, except British, would say: HUH?!

Meaning of Calling in a chit:

A chit or chitty is used in British English to mean a signed paper note of a debt. When we say calling in a chit, someone is asking for a debt or favor to be repaid.

  • I am calling in my chit, I lost my job and I need you to help me find another one.
  • I helped you when you were young, now I need help so I am calling in a chit.


Francis: Hey Bill, I need a favor.

Paul: Ok, what can I do to help, IOU a lot.

Francis: Well I need to call in a chit and get you to pay back the money I lent you sooner.

Paul: Hmmm ok, I can call in a chit from my brother and get you paid up.

Francis: Great. I know you am asking you to give back the money earlier and I really hate to call in my chit on you, but it is an extreme situation.

Paul: No problem. I can call in a chit from many people. I have a lot of people I have helped, just like when you helped me when I asked for a chit.

Related Phrases & Phrasal Verbs:

Promissory note: this is written document, usually on paper, that outlines an obligation of a borrower to pay back the money he borrowed to the lender.

  • I have a promissory note you signed and I am calling in my chit.

Promise to pay: most often this is a written agreement, but also can be a verbal agreement to pay back an amount of money or of equal value.

  • We had a meeting and he gave me his word and a promise to pay. So when I need to, I will be calling in my chit.

Calling in a favor: when you call in a favor, you ask someone to return an good deed or something you did for them in the past.

  • Hey Bill, I am going call in a favor and ask you to do something for. I don’t really like to call in my chits until I need them, and right now I need a chit.

Return the favor: is replicate or to give back something to someone you borrowed or an act of benevolence someone did for you.

  • I need to call in a chit, and if I can do anything else for you, I will be happy to return the favor any time.

Reach out to: make an attempt to help someone or ask for help.

  • I am reaching out to you and calling in a chit, I really need to buy a car.

Pay back: this phrasal verb that has several meanings.  In the context of calling in a chit, it means to give back money or something of value borrowed.

  • I am going to pay Fred back, he is calling in his chit. 

Pay off: this is one of those phrasal verbs that has several meanings.  In the context of calling in a chit, this phrase would mean to pay in full an outstanding loan or debt.

  • I paid off my debt to Fred and now I am calling in my chit with Miller because I have no money!

Give back: means to return something borrowed.

  • I need to give back the money I borrowed to Fran, she is calling in her chit.

Related idioms:

In hock – in a lot of debt, too much debt.

You scratch my back I’ll scratch yours – we use this term to express reciprocity.

Call in a marker – originally this phase was used in poker or gamboling, it means to use an outstanding favor that someone owes you.

Tit-for-tat – generally this is a term referring to retaliation. However it can also mean to do the same for/to someone else, as they do to/for you.

Synonyms (other ways to say):


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