Bank loan

A bank loan is a sum of money borrowed from a bank that must be repaid with interest over an agreed-upon period.
Updated: May 30, 2024

3 key takeaways

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  • Bank loans provide individuals and businesses with access to funds for various purposes, including personal expenses, business expansion, and large purchases.
  • The borrower repays the loan amount plus interest in regular installments over a set period.
  • Bank loans can be secured (backed by collateral) or unsecured (based on creditworthiness).

What is a bank loan?

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A bank loan is a financial product where a bank provides a borrower with a specified amount of money, which the borrower agrees to repay with interest over a predetermined period. Bank loans can be used for a variety of purposes, such as buying a house, funding education, starting or expanding a business, or consolidating debt. The terms of a bank loan, including the interest rate, repayment schedule, and fees, are agreed upon by the bank and the borrower at the time of the loan agreement.

Understanding bank loans in detail

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Types of bank loans:

  • Personal loans: These are unsecured loans typically used for personal expenses, such as medical bills, home improvements, or vacations. Personal loans do not require collateral, and the approval is based on the borrower’s credit history and income.
  • Mortgage loans: These are secured loans used to purchase real estate. The property itself serves as collateral for the loan. Mortgage loans usually have longer repayment terms and lower interest rates compared to personal loans.
  • Business loans: These loans are provided to businesses for purposes such as expansion, purchasing inventory, or managing cash flow. Business loans can be secured by business assets or unsecured, depending on the creditworthiness of the business and its owners.
  • Auto loans: These are secured loans specifically for purchasing a vehicle. The vehicle serves as collateral, which can be repossessed by the bank if the borrower defaults on the loan.

Interest rates and repayment: Bank loans come with either fixed or variable interest rates. Fixed-rate loans have an interest rate that remains constant throughout the loan term, providing predictable monthly payments. Variable-rate loans have an interest rate that can fluctuate based on market conditions, potentially causing monthly payments to vary. The repayment period for bank loans can range from a few months to several decades, depending on the loan type and terms.

Importance of bank loans

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Bank loans are essential financial tools that enable individuals and businesses to achieve their financial goals. They provide access to capital that might otherwise be unavailable, allowing for significant purchases, investments, and financial planning.


  • Access to capital: Bank loans provide the necessary funds for large purchases, investments, or financial emergencies.
  • Predictable payments: Fixed-rate loans offer predictable monthly payments, making it easier to budget and plan for the future.
  • Credit building: Successfully repaying a bank loan can help improve the borrower’s credit score, making it easier to obtain future credit.


  • Interest costs: Borrowers must repay the loan amount plus interest, which can significantly increase the total cost of the loan over time.
  • Credit requirements: Securing a bank loan often requires a good credit score and a stable income, which can be a barrier for some borrowers.
  • Risk of default: Failing to repay a loan can result in severe financial consequences, including damage to credit scores and loss of collateral for secured loans.

Real-world application of bank loans

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Home purchases: Many individuals use mortgage loans to finance the purchase of their homes. By spreading the cost over many years, homebuyers can afford to buy property without needing the entire purchase price upfront.

Business expansion: Businesses often rely on bank loans to finance expansion projects, such as opening new locations, purchasing equipment, or hiring additional staff. This access to capital helps businesses grow and compete in their markets.

Debt consolidation: Individuals with multiple high-interest debts may use a personal loan to consolidate their debts into a single loan with a lower interest rate. This can simplify repayment and reduce overall interest costs.

Emergency expenses: Personal loans can provide quick access to funds in case of unexpected expenses, such as medical emergencies or urgent home repairs.

For further exploration, consider learning about the process of applying for a bank loan, the factors that affect loan approval and interest rates, and strategies for managing loan repayments effectively.

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Arti is a specialized AI Financial Assistant at Invezz, created to support the editorial team. He leverages both AI and the knowledge base, understands over 100,000... read more.