Since you may have happened upon this loan calculator to calculate a monthly payment, I'll cut to the chase. You'll only need to enter three numbers, and you can leave the other dozen or so options untouched.
Here's all you need to do.
There you have it. Now you have what you need.
This calculator though offers users so much more. Spend a few minutes with it, and you'll see. More below...»
VERY IMPORTANT - You must enter a 0 if you want a value calculated. Some users have been frustrated by this. They want to know why the calculator does not just recalculate a payment if they have changed the loan amount, interest rate or term.
This is because we want the calculator to be able to create an amortization schedule using whatever parameters you want to use. This behavior is a feature! After all, there is no such thing as a "correct" loan payment. The payment amount is correct as long as both the lender and debtor agree to it!
ABOUT DATES - This calculator now allows irregular length first periods. That is, the calculator calculates the exact amount of interest due even when the initial period is shorter or longer than the other scheduled periods. This will result in payment amounts as well as interest charges that do not match other calculators. If you want to match other calculators then set the "Loan Date" and "1st Payment Date" so that the time between them equals one full period as set in "Payment Frequency". Example: If the "Loan Date" is May 15th and the "Payment Frequency" is "Monthly," then the "1st Payment Date" should be set to June 15th, that is IF you want a conventional interest calculation. See the end of the "Help" text for some more details.
Of course, you can always leave the dates set as they are when the calculator loads.
Since the calculator will solve for multiple unknowns, it can easily be used to answer the following questions:
This calculator will solve for any one of four possible unknowns: "Amount of Loan", "Total Scheduled Periods" (term), "Annual Interest Rate" or the "Periodic Payment".
Enter a '0' (zero) for one unknown value.
The term (duration) of the loan is a function of the "Total Scheduled Periods" and the "Payment Frequency". If the loan is calling for monthly payments and the term is four years, then enter 48 for the "Total Scheduled Periods". If the payments are made quarterly and the term is ten years, then enter 40 for the "Total Scheduled Periods".
The "Amortization Method" should be set to "Normal" (level payments) unless you have a specific reason to set it to another method. &Fixed Principal" causes the amount allocated to principal to be the same each period which result in decreasing payments.
If the terms of the loan call for a 0% interest rate, then the "Amortization Method" must be set to "No Interest," otherwise entering a zero for "Annual Interest Rate?" will cause the calculator to calculate an interest rate. Selecting "No Interest," also lets the user set the payment amount to "0" to tell the calculator to calculate it.
When the first period, the period of time between the "loan date" and the "first payment date" is longer than one full period, there will be interest due for the "extra days". This is known as "odd day interest." Example: if the "loan date" is March 24 and the "first payment date" is May 1, then there are 8 odd days of interest - March 24th to April 1st. How the odd day interest is calculated and collected is controlled with the "Long Period Options." By default, the odd days interest is shown being paid on the loan date.
Conversely, if the time between the "loan date" and "first payment date" is less than the payment period set, then the first period is said to be a "short initial period" and the first payment will be reduced due to less interest being owed. How the payment amount and interest is calculated for a short period is determined by the "Short Period Options."
On a more general note, we have been discussing details about loans, some structured with unusual features, over several decades. At this point, we believe our software calculators can create a schedule for any structured settlement loan that exists. If you have a loan with special requirements, please ask.
Hopefully, you'll find this loan calculator as well as all the financial calculators on this site to be useful tools. Why not take another sip of your favorite beverage and explore for a few minutes? Start by checking out The Reading Room. Here you'll find a half dozen articles, written by professionals, about money.