What does principal mean on a loan?

A loan principal is the amount of money that is borrowed. For example, when a bank approves and loans a person or business $100,000, that $100,000 is the loan principal.

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Loan Principal Example

Kaya is the owner of a new nail salon in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, her business is having a problem getting started due to a lack of funds. Kaya decides to take out a business loan to afford inventory and salon furniture. With a lender, she agrees to take out $50,000, which the lender describes as her loan principal. Kaya is confused. What, she wonders, is a loan principal? The lender kindly describes this as the amount of money that Kaya is initially borrowing. He says that every month, she must repay an agreed-upon portion of the loan, in addition to interest. Kaya is thankful for his help. Now she understands how much she will owe every month, including interest, and how long it will take her to pay back the loan principal.

What does principal mean on a loan?

However, if a business owner decides to accept a business loan offer, he or she must first become familiar with the loan principal. In simple terms, a loan principal is the amount of money that a business owner borrows from a working capital lender. As an example, a business owner may decide to take out a $40,000 loan to buy new equipment, such as computers or machinery. In this case, the business owner’s initial loan principal is $40,000.

In general, a business owner’s loan balance will be composed of his or her principal and any interest charges. Interest may therefore increase one’s balance even if the loan principal is $40,000 at the outset. As a business owner reduces the amount of his or her loan balance, the principal will steadily go down. After the business owner has repaid the original amount taken out on loan, he or she will be left with a principal of $0.

What Is the Difference Between Loan Principal and Loan Interest?

The loan principal is defined as the amount a business owner borrows from a lender. The loan interest is the cost of borrowing that money. Remember that banks, credit unions, and other business loan lenders want to make a profit somehow. Therefore, they do not lend out money for free. Interest essentially creates their profit.

A loan principal will be represented by a dollar amount. Interest, by contrast, will be expressed as a percentage. A business owner’s amount of interest owed will be determined based on credit history and their lender’s specific policies.

Generally, a high credit score and strong credit history will result in a lower interest rate. A business owner should therefore focus on building good credit prior to taking out a business loan. It is wise to first show a lender that one can be trusted with the lender’s money. If the lender sees that a business owner has defaulted in the past, they are less likely to offer favorable loan conditions, if they offer a loan at all. However, a business owner who has a history of paying back loans on time will fare much better with a lender, who is more inclined to trust them with money.

How Does a Business Loan Principal Work?

Let’s say that a business owner wants to take out a $40,000 loan to buy new equipment for his software company. In this scenario, the business owner’s initial loan principle is $40,000. His business lender takes a look at his credit history and credit score, thereafter deciding to charge an annual interest rate of 6%.

When the business owner receives his loan proceeds and makes his first payment, his loan principal will still be $40,000.

That said, the business owner will need to pay interest of $200. If his monthly payment is $800 per month, then $200 will cover the interest part of the payment, and the remaining $600 will go toward paying off the principal.

After the business owner makes his first payment, the loan principal will be reduced to $39,400. It will keep going down until the business owner no longer owes money to the lender.

How Does a Business Owner Determine Their Loan Principal?

When a business owner takes out a business loan and begins to repay it, he or she will receive a monthly statement online or by mail. This report will display what amount the business owner owes toward the principal balance and how much he or she owed toward interest. If a business owner has a hard time figuring out where their monthly payments are going, then he or she should be sure to reach out to their business loan lender for assistance.

Can a Business Owner Pay Down the Loan Principal Faster?

Luckily, in most situations, business owners may make extra payments to repay their loans more quickly. A lender might accept principal-only payments that bring down the principal but not the interest. If a business owner has the extra funds to do this, then they should not hesitate to do so. Paying off a loan faster is a smart move. This is because it allows a business owner to do the following:

Save on Interest Payments

If a business owner is able to make additional payments to reduce a principal, he or she can reduce interest payments over the life of their loan. This is because the interest depends on the remaining loan balance.

Shorten Loan Term

A business owner may agree to a loan period of a specific amount of time, such as two years. However, they do not have to spend that much time repaying it. Extra payments allow a business owner to shorten the length of a loan. After a loan is paid off, a business owner will have more money to use toward his business instead of toward repayments.

Achieve Peace of Mind

The less debt a business has, the better. If a business owner becomes overwhelmed by monthly principal payments and interest payments, it would be best to pay down the principal at soon as possible. This will result in less overall stress.

How Does Loan Principle Affect Taxes?

Small business owners are often looking for ways they can save money on business taxes. It is understandable, therefore, that small business owners may wonder how a loan principal affects the issue of taxes. In fact, a business owner may deduct the interest that they pay or accrue on a business loan.

Unfortunately, a business owner may not deduct the loan principal. The reason for this is that the principal will be used toward the business and paid back. The loan principal is not considered income for one’s business, unlike interest. A loan principal is not money that a business owner has earned.


Before a business owner agrees to take out a business loan, he or she should be sure to understand the repayment process. It is a good idea to compare business loans from different lenders to see who is offering the best deal. A little forethought can save a business owner thousands of dollars over the life of their loan.

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