Revolving Debt

Revolving debt is a line of credit that individuals and corporations can borrow from and pay back as needed.

Overview of Revolving Debt

Revolving debt is also referred to as a line of credit (LOC). A revolving debt does not have a fixed amount of payment every month. The changes are based on the actual balance of the loan. The same is true for the computation of the interest rate; it is dependent on the total outstanding balance of the bill.

Before granting a revolving line of credit to an applicant, a financial institution considers several factors that determine a borrower’s ability to repay. For an individual applicant, credit score, income and job stability are the main factors considered. For a business, a financial institution may look at the company income statement, statement of cash flows and balance sheet to determine the business’ ability to pay.

There are various types of revolving debt, including signature loans, credit cards, and home equity lines of credit. The most common form of revolving debt is a credit card. Credit cards fall into the revolving category due to the responsibility of the card holder to only pay a minimum payment each month, thus revolving the left over balance towards the next month. The other important part of revolving debt is there is no set amount owed, just typically a credit limit. It is different from other loans and debts since a fixed amount cannot be stated. Revolving debt is entirely dependent on the balance for a particular month unlike personal loans and other loans that have a fixed principal. Revolving debt generally comes with higher interest rates than traditional installment loans, and the rate is variable rather than fixed.

Home equity lines of credit and overdraft protection for checking accounts are also considered revolving debt. This type of debt may have variable interest payment and fees, instead of a fixed interest rate that stays the same for the life of the loan.


Benefits of Revolving Debt

Revolving debt is useful for individuals and businesses that need to borrow funds quickly and as needed. A person or business that experiences sharp fluctuations in cash income may find a revolving line of credit a convenient way to pay for daily or unexpected expenses. They also allow the flexibility of buying items now and paying for them later.


Dangers of Revolving Debt

If used carelessly, revolving debt can spiral out of control.

Individuals, companies, and countries are at risk for financial difficulty if they have taken on too much debt. Also, borrowing too much and/or not paying on time will hit one’s credit report with potentially negative information. Bad credit ratings may send a negative signal to some banks, and can pose problems in the approval of new loan applications.

Falling into debt over and over again can lead to some major effects such as loss of freedom, loss of cash flow, loss of time, and also loss of opportunities.


Additional resources

Learn more about how revolving debt works and how to manage one: