A loan is a contract under the law of obligations. The borrower (debtor) receives a sum of money from the lender (creditor) for a certain period of time, which must be paid back after the contract period has expired. Most loans are money loans, but loans in kind can also be granted.

The borrower usually pays the lender an interest as remuneration. The amount of interest is regulated and recorded in the loan agreement.

In everyday life, loans and credit are often equated. The two terms are therefore considered synonymous. However, a loan is often referred to when larger amounts and longer terms are involved. In contrast, smaller amounts and shorter terms are referred to as loans.