A promissory note is a financial instrument in which the issuer contractually agrees to pay a sum of money to a payee, either at a determinable time or at the demand of the payee. Similar to a note payable, promissory notes usually include the amount of principal that should be paid at maturity, any applicable interest rate, terms of repayment, and the date of maturity. Provisions regarding issuer default are usually included as well.
Although often issued by a financial institution, promissory notes offer businesses and individuals the opportunity to obtain financing from an entity that is not a bank. Any person or persons willing to provide financing under the agreed upon terms may become a lender under a promissory note.