# What Is an Amortization Table?

An amortization table is a schedule that lists each monthly payment in a loan as well as how much of each payment goes to interest and how much to the principal. Amortization tables help you understand how a loan works, and they can help you predict your outstanding balance or interest cost at any point in the future.

## What Is in an Amortization Table?

Every amortization table contains the same kind of information:

• Scheduled payments: Your required monthly payments are listed individually by month for the length of the loan.
• Interest expenses: Out of each scheduled payment, a portion goes toward interest, which is typically charged each month. It's calculated by multiplying your remaining loan balance by your monthly interest rate. Especially with long-term loans, you'll find that the interest eats up most of the payment in the early years.
• Principal repayment: After you apply the interest charges, the remainder of your payment goes toward paying off your debt.

You can see how amortization works by viewing how your balance decreases over time.

## Sample Amortization Schedule

Assume you borrow \$100,000 at 6 percent for 30 years, to be repaid monthly. What would your amortization schedule look like? The first 12 lines in the table below detail your first year of payments, including monthly beginning and ending balances, and then the table skips to the end of the loan.

• Cumulative (or total) interest: If your table includes this column, you'll be able to see a running total showing the total interest paid after a certain amount of time.
• Extra payments: Basic amortization tables do not account for additional payments. But that doesn’t mean you can’t pay extra—and you can even calculate the benefit of those payments when you build your own amortization table.
• Fees: Amortization schedules typically do not show additional charges that you might pay on your loan. For example, if you pay origination fees or other closing costs to get a mortgage, you need to evaluate those fees separately. One way to do that is with the loan’s APR (though it can sometimes be misleading). For finance charges that result from your loan balance, it is possible to build your own table and include those charges—see how to Calculate Credit Card Payments and Costs.

## Types of Amortized Loans

An amortization table works best for loans with the following characteristics:

• They are lump-sum (or all-at-once) loans.
• They have fixed interest rates.
• They are paid down over time.
• The monthly payment is fixed (you make the same payment every month).

Fixed-rate mortgages and most auto loans, personal loans, and home equity loans meet those criteria.

Other types of loans—specifically variable rate loans and lines of credit—are harder to calculate with an amortization table. Credit cards, for example, are tricky to tabulate, because the balance changes every time you make a purchase, and your payments are irregular, as you have the option to pay the minimum, the entire balance, or anything in between.

Adjustable-rate mortgages are also challenging to amortize, as the interest rate can change at an unknown point in the future.

## Using Amortization Tables

With the information clearly laid out in an amortization table, it’s easy to evaluate different loan options. You can compare lenders, choose between a 15- or 30-year loan, or decide whether or not to refinance an existing loan.

Using an amortization schedule shows you exactly how much you'll pay in interest over the life of the loan, giving you the big picture of the cost of borrowing and not just the monthly payment.