Amortization Period – Definition

Cite this article as:"Amortization Period – Definition," in The Business Professor, updated June 2, 2019, last accessed June 5, 2020,


Amortization Period Definition

An amortization period refers to the total amount of time that a company uses before a loan, a mortgage or a debt is repaid in full. An amortization period vary from one company to another, it takes months or years depending on the nature of the loan.

Loans often attract interest and the longer the time it takes a company to pay off the loan, the higher the interest on the loan. So, a company that selects a short amortization period will have lesser interest to pay than one that chooses a long amortization period. There is however, higher payments on the original amount of loan for a company that chooses short amortization period.

A Little More on What is the Amortization Period

Mortgage lenders charge interest on the loans they issue to companies, the longer the time to pay off a loan, the higher the interest rate. The length of time it takes a borrower to repay a loan in full is the amortization period. Oftentimes, payments on loans are made on a regular basis as agreed in the loan contract or term, this can be monthly or quarterly.

Interest payment on long amortization period will accrue over time, while short amortization periods have lower interests. The mortgage or loan balance is often zero during the amortization period.

Example of Amortization Period

Here is an example of an amortization period;

If a borrower is to pay $1,067.38 at $ 200,000, 5%, it will take 30 years to repay the mortgage, then the amortization period for this mortgage is 30 years (360 months). Amortization period in Canada is much shorter, depending on the period selected by the mortgage lender but it is often between 3-5 years. For instance, if the amortization period to meet the above payment is 3-5 years, then the monthly payment will amount to $ 5,989.57 as against 1,067.38 for 30 years. Only few people can afford this payment which is why 25 to 30 years is selected as amortization period except in cases whether the borrower selects a shorter period. Amortization period of 25 to 30 years however have higher interest payments.

References for Amortization Term

Academic Research on Amortization Term

Determinants of goodwill amortization period, Hall, S. C. (1993). Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, 20(4), 613-621.

Is the selection of the amortization period for goodwill a strategic choice?, Henning, S. L., & Shaw, W. H. (2003). Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, 20(4), 315-333.

Accelerated Amortization, Growth, and Net Profits, Eisner, R. (1952). The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 66(4), 533-544.

Goodwill accounting: Time for an overhaul, Davis, M. (1992). Journal of Accountancy, 173(6), 75.

The relation between accounting goodwill numbers and equity values, Jennings, R., Robinson, J., Thompson, R. B., & Duvall, L. (1996). Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, 23(4), 513-533.

Accounting for goodwill: are we better off?, Massoud, M. F., & Raiborn, C. A. (2003). Review of business, 24(2), 26.

Assessing the acceptability of international accounting standards in the US: An empirical study of the materiality of US GAAP reconciliations by non-US companies …, Street, D. L., Nichols, N. B., & Gray, S. J. (2000). The International Journal of Accounting, 35(1), 27-63.

Transparent financial disclosure and SFAS No. 142, Sevin, S., Schroeder, R., & Bhamornsiri, S. (2007). Managerial auditing journal, 22(7), 674-687.

Amortization of Non-Conforming Uses, Fell, A. T. (1964). Md. L. Rev., 24, 323.

The Spanish accounting system and international accounting harmonization, Lainez, J. A., Jarne, J. I., & Callao, S. (1999). European Accounting Review, 8(1), 93-113.

Methods of Determining Amortization Periods for Non-Conforming Uses, Collins, M. (2000). Wash. UJL & Pol’y, 3, 215.


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