Promissory Note

Promissory Note


Lend or borrow money with this simple form.

Use this promissory note (IOU) form to lend or borrow money. You can choose from one of the four types of loans accessible within this form:

  • Installment loan without interest. The borrower pays off the loan in equal monthly or annual payments over a set time, usually a number of years.
  • Installment loan with interest (amortized). The borrower pays off the loan in equal payments over a set time, usually a number of years, and each payment is applied partly to interest and partly to principal.
  • Lump-sum payment. The borrower pays off the money borrowed, plus interest, in one single payment.
  • Interest-only payments (balloon payment). The borrower makes monthly payments of interest only, and then pays off the entire principal in one lump sum. 

You can use this form for up to four borrowers.

You can save and edit the form before you buy--just create a account. It's easy, free, and there's no obligation to buy anything. If you purchase the form, you'll be able to print, send, download, and create new documents during the length of your one-year subscription.

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Product Details

A promissory note is a written promise to pay money to someone. Its primary function is to serve as written evidence of the amount of a debt and the terms under which it will be repaid, including the rate of interest (if any).  

If you are securing the loan with personal property, make sure to print and use the "Security Agreement for Borrowing Money" which is included with this form. (Note that you should not use this form if you are securing your loan with real estate).

Important to Know:


What is a promissory note?

A promissory note is a written promise to pay someone money. Use this promissory note when you make a personal loan to someone. The note is the borrower's promise, in writing, to pay you back by making payments over a period of time that you agree on, with or without interest.

Putting your agreement in writing helps make sure that both the lender and the borrower understand just how the loan is to be repaid, including the interest rate (if any), timing of payments, and what happens if a payment is late.

What types of loan arrangements does Nolo's Promissory Note offer?

This agreement offers several loan arrangements, including:

1. Installment Payments. Installment payments are a series of loan payments made on a regular basis. There are two ways that you can structure installment payments:

  • Installment Payments Without Interest. The borrower can pay off the loan in equal monthly or annual payments over a set time, usually a number of years, and each of the payments is applied completely to the amount borrowed (the "principal.").
  • Installment Payments With Interest (Amortized). The borrower can pay off the loan in equal monthly or annual payments over a set time, usually a number of years, and each of your payments is applied partly to interest and partly to principal. Because it is amortized, the amount applied to interest and principal varies with each payment with more interest being paid during the early period of the loan and more principal being paid during the latter portion of the loan.

2. Lump-Sum Payment. If you and the lender prefer to keep things really simple, this loan may fit your needs. Here you agree to pay off the money you borrowed, plus interest, in one single payment. This works best for a short-term loan or possibly a loan from an affluent parent or grandparent to a child where the promise to repay is seen as an expression of the younger person's intent -- not something that the lender would ever really enforce in court if the payment were delayed.

3. Interest-Only Payments (Balloon Payment). You and the lender may agree that you'll make monthly payments of interest only, and then pay off the entire principal in one lump sum at a date some months or years down the line. The advantage of this method is that the periodic payments you make will be lower than if you were to make payments that included both interest and principal. The disadvantage is that since you're borrowing the principal for a longer time, you'll be paying more interest.

If I do choose to charge interest, how can I collect the interest?

Unless otherwise specified in the note, interest is paid at the end of the borrowing interval, not in advance (this is called paying "in arrears"). For example, if you borrow money on January 1 and agree to pay interest each month, your February payment will cover the interest that accrued in January.

State laws generally allow a lender to charge a higher interest rate for business loans than for individual loans -- in fact, some states put no limit on the rate of interest a business may be charged. But many states have usury laws that cap the rate of interest a lender can charge for loans -- often in the range of 10% to 20%. Friends and relatives aren't likely to charge excessive interest rates, so usury laws are rarely a problem. Check the usury law of your state only if the rate the lender wants to charge exceeds 10%.

Choose a fair interest rate. When you're borrowing from a friend or relative, the sensible way to approach interest is to choose a rate that's fair and benefits everyone involved -- slightly lower than the borrower would pay a commercial lender and slightly more than the lender would earn in a safe investment (such as a money market fund).

Can I secure my loan with the borrower(s) assets or collateral of some sort?

If you want the loan to be secured by specific assets of the borrower, the borrower and lender need to sign a separate security agreement.

A security agreement is included with the purchase of this promissory note. The Nolo security agreement is for use only when tangible personal property is pledged as security. Personal property includes all property that's not real estate. The borrower can pledge personal items, such as a car, boat, clothes, or jewelry, as well as business items that the borrower owns, such as a vehicle, machinery, computer, or furniture.

The lender will also want to file a Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) Financing Statement (also known as a UCC-1) with the appropriate state or county office (typically the state secretary of state). When the borrower pays off the loan, the lender must give the borrower an official discharge of the financing statement, which can be filed at the same place where the financing statement was filed.

Do NOT use real estate as security. If you want this loan to be secured by real estate, see a local real estate lawyer. The borrower will have to sign a mortgage or deed of trust. Again, this form is only for pledging tangible personal property.

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Customer Reviews

6 Reviews





Efficient and cost-effective way to prepare a Promissory Note. by Nancy A.
Simple, easy-to-read and understand. Efficient and cost-effective way to prepare a Promissory Note. I liked that Nolo offered it in several forms, for instance, we chose the Lump-Sum Payment form (Secured). Since we lend to flippers, I added Nolo’s Security Agreement. And I got Nolo’s Release of Promissionary Note for when we get paid off after the flippers sell the property. (Posted on 11/12/2020)

Great Trustworthy Solution by Laura A.
Love it! Worked perfectly for my need. Only down side was that the language only allows for a monthly payment when I was arranging quarterly payments. I just did a manual change to the document and initialed it. (Posted on 9/6/2017)

Didn't need pain medication! by Susan S.
I thought I was in for a headache, trying to create a document acceptable and legal for my sister and my business transaction. NOLO's online form was so easy and quick, accessible and professional. Thank you for the painless and headache-less process. (Posted on 8/26/2017)

Needs Installment loan calculator by Anonymous
The number of monthly payments is not mentioned - no mention of the duration of the loan in months or years. A payment calculator that would generate a schedule of payments and indicate the portions of each payment that is for interest and principle with a column showing principle balance before each payment. Borrower and lender each need interest paid each year for tax reporting. (Posted on 1/8/2017)

Review by Anonymous
Worked very well for me and I found the provided descriptions and background details were especially helpful.
Customer Service excellent as well (had to call in, as I recently moved and my credit card zip code did not match billing address). I was able to complete my document in time and would not hesitate to use Nolo again (love your books, a big fan since the 70's & 80's!). Thanks so much. (Posted on 1/2/2017)

Easy web site for the novice do it yourselfer. by Anonymous
I needed a form to outline a personal loan to a relative . The NOLO promissory note was perfect as it covered all the bases that we needed. I was very pleased. (Posted on 12/28/2016)