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Amortized Loans: Examples, Definition, Types

Category — Loans
By Konstantin Vasilev Member of the Board of Directors of Cbonds, Ph.D. in Economics
Updated April 18, 2023

What is an amortizing loan?

An amortizing loan requires the borrower to make regular payments to repay both the principal amount borrowed and the interest payments charged on that principal amount. An amortizing loan is a popular choice for borrowers looking to repay a loan over an extended period, typically ranging from several months to several decades. The repayment schedule of an amortizing loan is usually calculated over the life of the loan, with principal and interest payments divided equally over the payment term.

The amortization process begins with the principal amount borrowed, which is then divided into equal installments. The interest charged on the outstanding loan balance is calculated based on the interest rate agreed upon, and the borrower is required to make regular payments consisting of both the principal and the interest. As the borrower makes payments over the term of the loan, the principal amount owed gradually decreases. With each loan payment made, more of the payment is applied to the principal and less to the interest.

Amortizing loans are found in different forms, such as auto loans, mortgages, and personal loans. One of the significant advantages of an amortizing loan is that the borrower has a clear understanding of their payment obligations over the term of the loan. Knowing how much to pay and when to pay it makes budgeting and financial planning more manageable.

Another benefit of amortizing loans is that they provide a level of predictability for both the lender and the borrower. Lenders can better manage their risk with the scheduled loan repayment plan, and borrowers can have peace of mind knowing that their monthly payments will remain consistent and will help them pay off their debt over time.

Amortized Loans

How does an amortizing loan work?

In the United States, loan amortization is a common practice for a wide variety of loans, including mortgages, car loans, and personal loans. It is a process of periodically reducing the balance of the outstanding loan, and interest is charged only on the remaining principal balance.

The payment amount of each installment is determined by the amount of the loan, the interest rate, and the length of the loan term. In the early stages of the loan, a larger payment portion goes toward interest, while in later stages, a larger portion goes toward reducing the balance. This is why most loan payments start with a smaller portion of the payment going toward the principal balance and a larger portion going toward interest.

In a simple loan amortization, the interest payment is calculated on the original amount borrowed and never changes. In contrast, in compound amortization, the amount borrowed and the interest payment change as the principal reduces over time.

Loan amortization schedules are created to display the amortization of a loan. These schedules contain detailed information on the amount of interest and principal being paid with each payment. This information helps borrowers see how much of their payment is going toward the principal and how much is going toward interest. It also helps borrowers to understand how much of the loan term is remaining and the total cost of borrowing.

Loan amortization in the United States is regulated by state and federal laws. Lenders have to provide borrowers with a disclosure statement showing the cost of borrowing, including the term of the loan, interest rate, fees, and charges that the borrower may have to pay. The lending company providing the loan must be licensed and should follow the regulatory guidelines while providing the loan to the borrower.

Types of amortizing loans

Amortizing loans are loans that require periodic payments of both principal and interest over the loan’s life. This means that with each payment, a portion goes towards reducing the principal balance of the loan, while the other portion goes towards paying off the interest accrued.

There are several types of amortizing loans that are commonly used depending on the borrower’s needs and financial situation.

  1. Fixed-rate mortgage. This is the most traditional type of loan where the interest rate and monthly payments remain the same throughout the loan term. This type of loan offers stability and predictability for borrowers.

  2. Adjustable-rate mortgage. Here, the interest rate and monthly payments vary based on market conditions. Initially, the interest rate is typically lower than a fixed-rate mortgage, but it can increase over time.

  3. Balloon mortgage. This type of loan has a shorter term than traditional mortgages and requires the borrower to make small monthly payments with a large final payment due at the end of the loan. This final payment is known as a balloon payment.

  4. Graduated payment mortgage. This type of loan is designed for borrowers who expect their income to increase over time. In this loan, the initial payments are lower than a traditional mortgage, but they increase over time.

  5. Home equity loans. These loans allow homeowners to borrow against the equity in their homes. The interest rates are generally higher than a traditional mortgage, but the loan can be used for a variety of purposes.

  6. Reverse mortgage. This type of loan is available to homeowners 62 years and older and allows them to borrow against the equity in their homes. The borrower is not required to make monthly payments, but the loan must be paid back when the borrower sells the home or passes away.

Examples of amortizing loans

This type of loan is commonly used for mortgages and car loans. Here are a few examples of amortizing loans:

  1. Mortgages. Mortgages are one of the most common types of amortizing loans. A mortgage is a loan that is used to buy a house. The borrower makes monthly payments to the lender, which include both principal and interest. The payments are structured in such a way that the loan is paid off in full by the end of the loan term, which is typically 15 or 30 years.

  2. Car loans. Car loans are another example of an amortizing loan. When a borrower takes out a car loan, they agree to make monthly payments to the lender until the loan is paid off. The payments include both principal and interest, and the loan is structured in such a way that it is paid off by the end of the loan term, which is typically 3-7 years.

  3. Student loans. Student loans are also an example of an amortizing loan. When a student takes out a loan to pay for college, they agree to make monthly payments to the lender until the loan is paid off. The payments include both principal and interest, and the loan is structured in such a way that it is paid off by the end of the loan term, which can range from 10-30 years.

  4. Business loans. Business loans are another type of amortizing loan. When a business takes out a loan to finance its operations, they agree to make monthly payments to the lender until the loan is paid off. The payments include both principal and interest, and the loan is structured in such a way that it is paid off by the end of the loan term, which can range from 1-10 years.

How to calculate the amortization of loans

Amortization is the process of repaying a loan by making regular payments towards the principal and interest over a set period of time. In the US, calculating the amortization of loans involves a few key steps.

  1. Determine the loan amount and interest rate. Before you can calculate the amortization of a loan, you need to know the loan amount and the interest rate. The loan amount is the total borrowed, and the interest rate is the percentage of the loan amount charged for borrowing the money.

  2. Choose a repayment plan. There are several repayment plans available, including fixed payment, interest-only payment, and graduated payment. A fixed payment plan is the most common repayment plan, where the borrower pays the same amount each month. An interest-only payment plan allows the borrower to pay only the interest on the loan for a set period, while a graduated payment plan starts with smaller payments that increase over time.

  3. Calculate the monthly payment. Once you have the loan amount, interest rate, and repayment plan, you can calculate the monthly payment. For a fixed payment plan, the monthly payment can be calculated using the formula: P = (A*r)/(1-(1+r)^(-n))


    P = monthly payment

    A = loan amount

    r = interest rate (expressed as a decimal)

    n = number of payments.

  4. Calculate the loan amortization schedule. The amortization schedule is a table showing the breakdown of each monthly loan payment over the life of the loan. It includes the payment amount, the amount of interest paid, and the amount of principal paid. The amortization schedule can be calculated using a formula or an online calculator.

  5. Track payments and adjust the schedule. Lastly, track loan payments and adjust the amortization schedule as needed. If a payment is missed or late, the remaining balance and total interest paid will change, and the schedule will need to be adjusted accordingly.

Amortization of intangible assets

Intangible assets are non-physical assets that lack intrinsic value, such as patents, copyrights, trademarks, goodwill, and customer lists.

The Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) provide guidelines on the amortization of intangible assets. GAAP requires that the cost of an intangible asset be amortized over its useful life, which is defined as the period over which the asset is expected to contribute to the company’s future revenue-generating activities. The useful life of an intangible asset is determined based on factors such as legal and regulatory provisions, technological obsolescence, competition, and the expected future benefits from the asset.

The amortization of an intangible asset is calculated using the straight-line method, which involves dividing the cost of the asset by its useful life. This results in a consistent annual expense that reduces the carrying value of the asset over time. For example, if a company acquires a patent for $100,000 with a useful life of 10 years, the annual amortization expense would be $10,000 ($100,000 divided by 10 years).

Not all intangible assets are subject to amortization. Some intangible assets, such as goodwill, have an indefinite useful life and are not amortized, but are instead subject to an annual impairment test to determine if their value has decreased below the carrying value. Additionally, certain intangible assets, such as trademarks and trade names, may have an indefinite useful life, but their value may be diminished due to changes in market conditions or consumer preferences, which may require periodic impairment testing.


  • What does it mean if a loan is amortized?

  • What are the types of loan amortization?

  • Which types of loans are most likely to be amortized?

  • Is an amortized loan better?

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