What is Prepayment?
When a person or business owes money to a lender or any other party, that debt is generally paid off in monthly installments. Alternatively, the debt could be repaid in quarterly installment or with a balloon payment on a predetermined date. In many cases, the debtor may have the option to make a payment or pay off a balance before its due date.
What Are the Benefits of Prepayment?
Prepaying a balance or making a payment early may be beneficial because it can reduce the amount of interest paid on a debt. In many cases, interest compounds on a daily basis based on the current balance on a loan or debt. By making payments as quickly as possible, interest is calculated based on a smaller balance owed.
Prepaying an expense may be helpful for those who have inconsistent income or are looking for lower monthly payments. For instance, a tenant may secure a lower monthly rent payment by making several payments upfront. Companies may allow their customers to pay less per month or per year by making a single payment instead of opting for monthly installment payments.
Is Prepaying Debts Legal?
Whether or not a debtor can make payments before they are scheduled depends on the terms of the loan or other debt instrument. Most lenders do allow payments to be made early or for balances to be paid off ahead of schedule. If a borrower makes more than the minimum monthly payment, the excess may be applied to future payments.
It may also be applied to the principal balance with no change to future minimum payments. However, if a lender does assess a prepayment penalty, it may not be possible to pay off the loan before the final scheduled payment. It may also not be possible to refinance the loan as it means first paying off the original loan.
Are Prepayments and Down Payments the Same Thing?
A prepayment and a down payment are the same thing from the consumer’s point of view. Down payments may be required if an individual lacks sufficient credit to qualify for a loan that would cover the entire purchase price of an item such as a car or appliance.
Mortgage companies generally require borrowers to put money down to show that they can handle the debt. On the corporate side, a prepayment is an accounting term that helps keep track of how much it owes another entity or how much it may be owed now and in future months.
Understanding what a prepayment is and its benefits may be useful for both private and corporate customers. The ability to pay ahead of time may allow borrowers to get better terms while also allowing buyers to get better prices per unit. This may make it easier to afford a purchase or allow a company to get a better return on its investment.