Loan Term and Amortization Schedule

A loan term is the duration of a debt repayment plan. It’s important to choose the right one based on your financial situation.


Personal loans are more popular than ever, but it’s vital to review loan terms before borrowing money. These can impact monthly payments, interest rates and overall cost.

Interest Rate

Interest rates are involved in almost all formal lending and borrowing transactions. For example, the interest charged on credit cards, the mortgage rate for a home or car purchase, and even a discount offered by a supplier to a buyer are all examples of interest rates. Interest rates are typically quoted as an annual percentage rate (APR) to include front-end fees, such as loan origination charges. They can be fixed or variable.

Lenders charge interest to borrowers in order to compensate them for the loss of use of their money during the loan period. It is important for borrowers to shop around to find the lowest possible interest rates. Borrowers should also consider negotiating with lenders to reduce their interest rates.

Another important aspect of a loan term is its repayment schedule. Some lenders offer a longer repayment term than others, and this can significantly increase the total cost of the loan. Borrowers should make sure they understand all the terms of their loan, including how much it will cost over time and any penalties associated with late payments.


Typically used in reference to mortgage loans, the term of a loan refers to the length of time it takes for a borrower to completely pay off debt from their loan when making regular payments. A shorter loan term may result in lower monthly payments, while a longer term can increase the total cost to borrow.

Aside from the loan’s repayment period, loan terms also include details like the interest rate, associated fees, penalty charges a borrower might incur and special repayment provisions. A thorough review of these conditions is important for borrowers to understand what their obligations are when taking out a loan. Lenders often subtract an origination fee before sending funds to a borrower, which can affect calculator results. It’s best to have this information at hand when discussing the terms of a loan with lenders. This includes knowing if the lender offers a fixed or variable rate and whether an origination fee is included in the annual percentage rate (APR). Both will have an impact on your monthly payment amount and overall cost of borrowing.

Amortization Schedule

A loan amortization schedule is a table that details how your debt repayment plan works. It typically shows each monthly payment for the duration of your loan term, along with key details like your beginning balance, total payment amount, principal and interest. It may also include a column that keeps track of your cumulative interest charge.

Your lender will provide you with an amortization schedule when you take out a loan, but it is easy to make your own in Excel or another program. Alternatively, there are online loan amortization calculators that will create this table for you.

Having this information at your fingertips can help you compare loan options and choose the one that is right for your business. It can also help you stay on track with your payments, and encourage you to consider valuable moves like making extra principal payments that reduce your outstanding balance faster. This is an important way to manage your debt effectively. Sarita Harbour is a freelance writer specializing in personal and small business finance. Her work has been featured on Forbes, Investopedia and Yahoo! Business IQ.


Loan terms typically include the repayment period, interest rate and fees borrowers will be charged. Depending on the loan type, the terms may also list penalties lenders can charge if borrowers pay off their debts early. These can be a flat dollar amount or a percentage of the outstanding principal balance. It’s important for borrowers to review all the terms of their loans to understand their obligations.

Mortgages and auto loans often come with prepayment penalties that help lenders recoup the loss of interest income on prepaid debt. However, not all loans feature these fees. Penalties can vary and be as low as 2% of the outstanding principal balance, or as high as the entire loan principal.

Commercial real estate investors should carefully evaluate any potential for prepayment penalties in their financing options as they can impact investment calculations. Knowing the terms of a loan can help investors identify if refinancing or selling a property before the loan term ends would cost them thousands of dollars in penalties. The best way to avoid these charges is to ask potential lenders if they have any prepayment penalties and then work out a plan to stay within those parameters.


Refinancing a loan term can involve replacing the original contract with a new one that offers a different interest rate or repayment schedule. Consumers may seek to refinance their mortgage loans, auto loans and personal loans to take advantage of lower market rates or improved credit scores.

The loan term of a particular debt describes the amount of time it takes for you to pay off your principal balance by making regular payments. The term can be set at any length of time, such as 60 months for an auto loan or 30 years for a mortgage, and may include a variety of conditions like penalties and repayment provisions.

Borrowers often look for a longer loan term to keep their monthly payments low, but this can also result in paying more in interest over the life of the loan. When comparing loan terms, consider the total cost of each and whether it makes sense given your financial priorities. In addition to looking at the interest rate and fees, you can also consider how the lender provides customer service and unique features such as refinancing options.