Finance 101

Installment Loan Calculators

May 31, 2023

Many of us are familiar with installment loans. While loan terms can vary a lot, installment loans come down to this: you borrow a lump sum of money and pay it back over time.

An installment loan payoff calculator can help you calculate installment loan payoff dates and understand the costs involved with different loans. A calculator may help you compare loans if you are shopping for the best overall deal.

How are installment loans calculated? Most installment loan calculators factor in the loan amount, the loan term (time period), and the APR (annual percentage rate) you have (or expect to get). You can find a range of these calculators online. Some may also request additional information, like the date you expect your loan to start.

In this post, we’ll talk about these installment loan payment calculators and how to use them, how rates and terms can affect your payments, and more.

How to use an installment loan calculator?

Most installment loan calculators are very simple to use. They work like other calculators you may have seen online, like calculators for auto loans.

It’s easy to find a monthly installment calculator. You can search online for “installment loan calculator online,” “Fixed installment loan calculator,” “installment loan payoff calculator,” “how to calculate installment of a loan” and similar terms to find a calculator. It’s a good idea to try more than one.  

You begin by filling in the “form” with the information requested: usually the total borrowed amount, the term of the loan, and the interest rate or APR. Pay attention to the interest rate – it is not the same as the APR, and the two can’t be used interchangeably.

Once your information is entered and you’ve run the calculator, it should show you the estimated monthly payment, the total principal paid and the total interest paid. Some calculators will also show you an estimated total amount paid, which is the principal + interest. You may also see an estimated payoff date with some calculators.

If you are looking for particular information, like a payoff date, search until you find a calculator that includes that information for you. Just be sure it is from a reputable source. It’s also a good idea to verify the results by trying more than one calculator and comparing the numbers.

While your interest rate is the percentage of interest you pay on a loan, your APR includes your interest rate along with any other fees or expenses you'll pay your lender. Some of the most common additional fees are brokerage fees, private mortgage insurance and discount points. 

How loan terms and rates affect monthly payments

Both the term of the loan and the interest rate will impact the monthly payments.

An increase in the term of the loan will affect the monthly payment amount, the total you pay over the period of the loan, and the total number of payments. If you increase the term of the loan you can lower the monthly payments. But beware – this may raise the amount you pay in interest. This is because you’re borrowing the money for a longer period of time.

An increase in the interest rate means you’ll pay more in total and each month. This is why it’s so important to pre-qualify for several loans so you can compare interest rates and choose the best loan for your needs.

FAQs: Installment Loan Calculator

How to get a personal installment loan?

Prequalify for several offers with trusted lenders. Make sure the lender has a good rating with the Better Business Bureau and good reviews on sites like TrustPilot. Consider your bank, online lenders, credit unions and more. Check out our post, Applying for Online Loans or In-Person Loans: What’s Better?  Personal installment loans are available for those with credit challenges, but these offers will typically include higher interest charges because the bank takes on additional risk.  Learn more about getting an installment loan with bad credit here.

What are the types of installment loans?

Installment loans can include personal loans, car loans, and home equity loans.

How are monthly payments calculated with APR?

While your interest rate is the percentage of interest you pay on a loan, your APR includes your interest rate along with any other fees or expenses you'll pay your lender. For more on APR, see our blog post on How To Calculate The Cost Of An Installment Loan: Understanding Apr And Fees.

Apply For an Installment Loan

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