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Revolving Loan: what is a Revolving Loan and how Does it Work?

By Oluchukwu Ikemefuna

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Revolving loans are a versatile financial tool that offers individuals and businesses the flexibility to access funds as needed and repay them according to their financial circumstances.

Unlike traditional term loans, revolving loans provide borrowers with a revolving line of credit, allowing them to borrow, repay, and borrow again up to a predetermined credit limit. 

In this piece, we’ll review the concept of revolving loans, how they work, and the advantages and disadvantages they offer to borrowers. 

What is Revolving Loan?

Imagine you have a pot of money that you can dip into whenever you need it, like when you’re short on cash for groceries or bills. That’s essentially what a revolving loan facility is for businesses.

It’s like having a pool of funds available for whenever there’s a need, whether it’s to cover unexpected costs or to invest in growth opportunities.

Now, unlike a regular loan, where you get a lump sum of cash upfront and pay it back in fixed installments, a revolving loan works differently.

You can borrow some money, pay it back, and then borrow again, all within a certain period of time. It’s a bit like a never-ending cycle, hence the term “revolving.”

One important thing to note is that the interest rate for these loans isn’t fixed like a traditional loan. Instead, it can go up or down depending on what’s happening in the economy.

This can be good when rates are low, but it also means your costs could rise if interest rates go up. Businesses often use revolving loans to manage their day-to-day finances.

For example, they might use the funds to cover payroll when cash flow is tight or to pay suppliers while waiting for customer payments to come in. It’s a flexible tool that helps businesses keep things running smoothly, even when money is tight.

Hence, a revolving loan is a type of loan that allows you to borrow up to a certain amount over and over again. As you repay the loan, the available credit replenishes, allowing you to borrow again if needed.

What is Revolving Loan Limit?

The revolving loan limit refers to the maximum amount of credit that a borrower can access under a revolving loan agreement. This limit is determined by the lender based on factors such as the borrower’s creditworthiness, income, and financial history.

It represents the maximum amount of money that the borrower can borrow and repay repeatedly within the terms of the loan agreement.

Read also: Wema Bank Suspends 4 Fintech Partners, Permanently Removes 3 Others

What is Revolving Loan Examples?

Revolving loan examples include credit cards, home equity lines of credit (HELOCs), and business lines of credit. 

1. Credit Cards: 

Credit cards are perhaps the most common form of revolving loan. Cardholders are assigned a credit limit based on factors such as credit history, income, and existing debt obligations.

They can use the credit card to make purchases or withdraw cash up to the assigned credit limit. Repayment terms vary, with cardholders having the flexibility to pay off the entire balance by the due date to avoid interest charges or make minimum payments and carry over the remaining balance to the next billing cycle.

The revolving nature of credit cards means that as payments are made, the available credit replenishes, allowing cardholders to borrow again up to their credit limit. 

They can then repay the borrowed amount over time, with the option to borrow again up to the credit limit.

2. Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOCs):

HELOCs are secured revolving loans that allow homeowners to borrow against the equity in their homes. Similar to credit cards, borrowers can access funds up to a predetermined credit limit and repay them over time, with their home serving as collateral.

Lenders typically provide a credit line based on a percentage of the home’s appraised value, minus any outstanding mortgage balance.

Borrowers can access funds through various methods, such as writing checks or using a debit card linked to the HELOC account. Interest rates on HELOCs are often variable, meaning they can fluctuate over time based on changes in the market.

Borrowers can use the funds for various purposes, such as home renovations, debt consolidation, or unexpected expenses.

As with other revolving loans, borrowers have the flexibility to borrow, repay, and borrow again up to the credit limit as needed.

3. Business Lines of Credit:

Businesses often utilize revolving lines of credit to manage cash flow, cover short-term expenses, or capitalize on growth opportunities.

They provide companies with access to funds to cover operating expenses, manage cash flow fluctuations, finance inventory purchases, or seize growth opportunities.

Similar to personal lines of credit, businesses are assigned a credit limit based on factors like creditworthiness, business history, and revenue.

Funds can be accessed through various means, including checks, electronic transfers, or debit cards linked to the business line of credit account.

Interest rates on business lines of credit may be variable or fixed, depending on the terms of the agreement. Repayment terms vary, with businesses having the flexibility to repay the borrowed amount and access funds again up to the credit limit as needed to support their operations and growth initiatives.

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How does a Revolving Loan Facility Work?

A revolving loan facility is like a flexible credit line that businesses use, both big and small. The interest rate on this line can change, so if rates go up, the bank might charge more for the loan.

Usually, this rate is higher than other loans, and it changes along with the prime rate or some other market sign. Plus, there’s a fee for getting this loan in the first place.

To get approved for this loan, the bank looks at things like how big the business is, what stage it’s in, and what industry it’s part of.

They check out the company’s financial papers, like the income statement, cash flow statement, and balance sheet, to see if the business can pay back what it borrows.

If a company can show that it makes steady money, has a good stash of cash, and has a solid credit history, it’s more likely to get approved. With this kind of loan, the amount borrowed can go up and down between zero and the maximum approved limit.

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How Businesses Use a Revolving Loan Facility

A revolving loan is like a safety net for businesses. When things are going well and money is flowing in, the business might not need to use it much. But during tougher times, like when sales are slow or unexpected expenses pop up, having access to this loan can be a lifesaver.

The bank or financial institution that provides the revolving loan keeps an eye on how the business is doing. They want to make sure that the business can still pay back the money it borrows.

So, if the business starts making less money, the bank might decide it’s risky to let the business borrow as much. This is why it’s crucial for the business owner to stay in touch with the bank and explain any changes or challenges the business is facing.

This way, they can work together to make sure the business stays afloat and continues to have access to the funds it needs.

Read also:Senti Loan App: How to Get a Senti Loan

How Long Do You Have to Payback a Revolving Loan?

In a revolving loan facility, there isn’t a specific deadline for paying back the entire loan amount, as you would with a typical term loan, where you make fixed payments over a set period. Instead, this type of loan works more flexibly. 

Here’s how it operates: Say a company borrows some money from a revolving loan facility. When they do this, the total amount they can borrow gets reduced by that amount.

So, if they have a credit line of $100,000 and they borrow $20,000, then they can only borrow up to $80,000 more until they repay some or all of what they’ve borrowed.

Now, when the company starts repaying the borrowed money, it’s like putting it back into a pool. As they repay, that pool of available funds gets replenished.

So, if they’ve paid back $10,000 of what they owe, they can then borrow up to $10,000 again, giving them access to funds as they need them without needing to reapply for a new loan each time. This flexibility makes revolving loans useful for businesses that have fluctuating funding needs

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Does a revolving loan facility accrue interest?

When you have a revolving loan, it operates similarly to a regular loan, but with a twist. Instead of receiving a lump sum of money upfront, like you would with a traditional term loan, a revolving loan gives you access to a pre-approved credit limit.

This means you can borrow money as you need it, up to the approved limit, without having to go through the application process each time you require funds.

One of the key features of a revolving loan is its flexibility. You can use the funds for various purposes, such as covering unexpected expenses, managing cash flow fluctuations in your business, or making investments.

Since you only borrow what you need when you need it, you have greater control over your finances and can avoid taking on unnecessary debt.

Now, regarding interest payments: Yes, you do pay interest on a revolving loan, just like you would with any other type of loan. The interest is calculated based on the outstanding balance that you carry from one billing cycle to the next.

Typically, the interest rate on a revolving loan may be variable, meaning it can fluctuate over time based on market conditions or other factors.

Repayments on a revolving loan are also different from those on traditional term loans. Instead of making fixed monthly payments for a set period, you have more flexibility in how much you repay each month.

You’re generally required to make minimum payments, which cover the interest charges and a portion of the principal balance. However, you can choose to pay more than the minimum to reduce your overall interest costs and pay off the loan faster.

Read also:Thepeer, Nigeria-based Fintech, Shuts Down

What are the Pros and Cons of Revolving Loans?

Like any financial product, revolving loans come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages:

Pros:

  • Flexibility: 

Revolving loans offer borrowers flexibility in accessing funds and repaying them according to their needs and cash flow.

  • Convenience: 

With revolving credit, borrowers have access to funds whenever they need them, eliminating the need to reapply for a new loan each time.

  • Interest Savings: 

Borrowers can save on interest costs by repaying the outstanding balance early, as they only accrue interest on the amount borrowed.

Cons:

  • Higher Interest Rates: 

Revolving loans often carry higher interest rates compared to traditional term loans, which can increase the cost of borrowing over time.

  • Risk of Overspending: 

The convenience of revolving credit may tempt borrowers to overspend, leading to a cycle of debt if not managed responsibly.

  • Variable Interest Rates: 

For loans with variable interest rates, fluctuations in market rates can affect the borrower’s interest expenses, making it challenging to budget for repayment

FAQs

What is a revolving loan?

A revolving loan is a flexible type of loan that provides borrowers with access to a predetermined amount of credit, which they can borrow, repay, and borrow again as needed.

How does a revolving loan work?

Revolving loans work by providing borrowers with a line of credit up to a specified limit. Borrowers can access funds, repay any portion of the outstanding balance, and borrow again up to the credit limit, with interest typically charged only on the outstanding balance.

What are some examples of revolving loans?

Examples of revolving loans include credit cards, home equity lines of credit (HELOCs), and business lines of credit.

What are the benefits of revolving loans?

Benefits of revolving loans include flexibility in accessing funds, convenience in borrowing and repaying, and potential interest savings by repaying the outstanding balance early.

What are the drawbacks of revolving loans?

Drawbacks may include higher interest rates, the risk of overspending and accumulating debt, and potential fees associated with the loan.

Conclusion

Revolving loans provide individuals and businesses with a flexible source of credit to manage their financial needs.

By understanding how revolving loans work and weighing their pros and cons, borrowers can make informed decisions about whether this type of financing is suitable for their circumstances.

As with any financial product, responsible borrowing and careful management are essential to maximizing the benefits of revolving loans while minimizing the risks.

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Blessing Ukibe
Blessing Ukibe

Medical Student at Nnamdi Azikiwe University|Tech content expert at Silicon Africa Technology|Lover of fun books and fun fun ☺️

Articles: 125

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