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What Is an Amortization

Loan amortization is the process of paying off a debt, such as a mortgage or a loan, through regular payments over a set period of time. The payments are structured so that a portion of the payment goes towards paying off the interest on the loan, while the remainder is applied towards paying down the principal balance.

How does loan amortization work?

The basic concept of loan amortization is that the borrower makes a series of payments over time, each of which is composed of interest and principal. The interest is calculated based on the outstanding balance of the loan, while the principal is the amount of the payment that is applied directly towards paying down the outstanding balance. As the borrower makes payments, the outstanding balance of the loan decreases, and the amount of interest that must be paid each month also decreases.

What is an amortization schedule?

An amortization schedule is a table or chart that shows the breakdown of each payment on a loan, including the amount of interest and principal paid in each payment. The schedule also shows the remaining balance of the loan after each payment, as well as the total interest paid over the life of the loan. Amortization schedules are commonly used to help borrowers understand and plan for their loan payments, and can also be used to compare different loan options.

Example of amortization schedule

For example, if a borrower takes out a $100,000 loan with a 5% interest rate and a 30-year term, the amortization schedule might look something like this:

PaymentBeginning BalanceInterestPrincipalEnding Balance

How to calculate amortization of loans

To calculate the amortization of a loan, you will need the following information: the loan amount, the interest rate, and the loan term.

You can use an amortization calculator to easily calculate the amortization schedule or use the following formula to calculate the Payment Amount per Period:

A = P * (r * (1 + r)^n) / ((1 + r)^n – 1)


  • A = payment Amount per period
  • P = initial Principal (loan amount)
  • r = interest rate per period
  • n = total number of payments or periods

Example: What would the monthly payment be on a 10-year, $10,000 loan with a nominal 6% annual interest rate?

The formula to calculate the monthly payment is:

A = P * (r * (1 + r)^n) / ((1 + r)^n – 1)


  • A = Payment Amount (monthly payment)
  • P = Principal (loan amount) = $10,000
  • r = Interest Rate per period = 6% per year / 12 months = 0.5% per period
  • n = Number of periods (in months) = 10 years * 12 months = 120 total periods

Plugging in the numbers:

  • A = $10,000 * (0.005 * (1 + 0.005)^120) / ((1 + 0.005)^120 – 1)
  • A = $112.30

So, the monthly payment on a 10-year, $10,000 loan with a nominal 6% annual interest rate would be $112.30.

It’s important to note that the amortization schedule can help you understand how much you will pay in interest over the loan term and how the payments are allocated between interest and principal.

Types of amortizing loans

There are several types of amortizing loans, including:

  • Fixed-rate mortgages: These loans have an interest rate that remains the same for the life of the loan.
  • Adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs): These loans have an interest rate that can change over time, based on market conditions.
  • Graduated payment mortgages: These loans have payments that increase over time.

Credit and loans that aren’t amortized

Not all loans are amortized. Some loans, such as revolving credit lines or credit card debt, do not have a set repayment schedule and can continue indefinitely. These types of loans do not have a fixed term or set end date, and the borrower may make payments of varying amounts at any time. This means that the borrower may end up paying more in interest over time as the interest is charged on the outstanding balance.

Additionally, some loans such as interest-only loans, may have an interest-only period for a certain time, then the borrower start paying off the principal as well as the interest. These types of loans may also not be fully amortized.

Why does amortization matter?

Amortization is important because it allows borrowers to repay a loan over time, rather than all at once. It also helps borrowers plan for and budget their loan payments, as they know exactly how much of each payment is going towards interest and how much is going towards paying down the principal balance.


Can you pay off an amortized loan early?

Yes, borrowers are able to pay off an amortized loan early if they choose to do so. This is known as prepayment. The benefit of prepaying an amortized loan is that it reduces the total amount of interest paid over the life of the loan and can help to pay off the loan faster.

When a borrower makes a prepayment, the lender applies the additional payment towards the outstanding principal balance. This reduces the outstanding balance and also reduces the amount of interest that must be paid in future payments. As a result, the remaining payments will be applied more towards paying off the principal, allowing the borrower to pay off the loan sooner.

However, some lenders may charge a prepayment penalty for paying off a loan early. This is a fee that is charged to the borrower for the privilege of paying off the loan ahead of schedule. Therefore, it is important for borrowers to check with their lender to see if there is a prepayment penalty before making an early payment.

Additionally, it’s important to note that the amount of interest saved by paying off a loan early may be small, especially if the loan is close to being paid off. In such a case, it may be more beneficial to put the money towards savings or investing instead.

Do all loans have amortization?

No, not all loans have amortization. Some loans, such as credit card debt, do not have a set repayment schedule and can continue indefinitely.

What does 10 year term 30 year amortization mean?

A 10 year term 30 year amortization is a type of loan that is popular with buyers who plan to be in their homes for less than 10 years. This is because it offers a lower interest rate compared to traditional 30-year mortgages.

With this loan, the borrower has the security of an interest rate and a monthly payment that is fixed for the first 10 years. After that, the borrower has the option of paying off the outstanding balance in full or electing to amortize the remaining balance over the final 20 years. This provides the borrower with more flexibility and the ability to make a larger payment if they choose to, or keep the same payment if they prefer. This loan structure is useful for people who have a good idea of how long they will live in the house, and for people who know that their financial situation will change in the future and want to have options to pay off the loan.

Can I make my own amortization schedule?

Yes, you can make your own amortization schedule using a spreadsheet or financial calculator. You can also use an amortization calculator or schedule generator which can be found online.

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