 # What is an Interest Rate

An interest rate is the amount of money that a lender charges a borrower for using their money. It is usually expressed as a percentage of the amount borrowed, also known as the principal.

For example, if you borrow \$100 from a lender and they charge you 10% interest per year, you will have to pay back \$110 after one year. The extra \$10 is the interest that you pay for using the lender’s money.

Interest rates are important because they affect how much it costs to borrow money and how much you can earn by saving or investing money. Different types of loans and savings accounts have different interest rates.

Types of Interest Rates

There are different types of interest rates that apply to different situations and products. Some common types are:

Fixed Interest Rate

A fixed interest rate is an interest rate that stays the same for the entire duration of the loan or savings account. For example, if you take out a 30-year mortgage with a fixed interest rate of 6%, you will pay 6% interest every year until you pay off the loan.

Variable Interest Rate

A variable interest rate is an interest rate that changes over time based on market conditions or other factors. For example, if you have a credit card with a variable interest rate of 15% plus prime rate, your interest rate will go up or down depending on what the prime rate is at any given time.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

The annual percentage rate (APR) is an interest rate that includes not only the basic interest rate but also any fees or charges associated with borrowing money. For example, if you take out a car loan with an interest rate of 5% and a \$500 origination fee, your APR will be higher than 5% because it reflects the total cost of borrowing money.

Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

The annual percentage yield (APY) is an interest rate that includes not only the basic interest rate but also any compounding effects that occur when your money earns more money over time. For example, if you deposit \$1000 in a savings account with an interest rate of 2% compounded monthly, your APY will be higher than 2% because your money will grow faster due to compounding.

How Interest Rates Affect Borrowers and Savers

Interest rates affect how much it costs to borrow money and how much you can earn by saving or investing money. Generally speaking:

Higher Interest Rates

Higher interest rates make borrowing more expensive and saving more rewarding. Borrowers must pay more money in interest and may have trouble qualifying for loans. Savers earn more money in interest and may be encouraged to save more.

Lower Interest Rates

Lower interest rates make borrowing cheaper and saving less rewarding. Borrowers pay less money in interest and may have easier access to loans. Savers earn less money in interest and may be discouraged from saving.

Conclusion

An interest rate is the amount of money that a lender charges a borrower for using their money. It is usually expressed as a percentage of the amount borrowed, also known as the principal.

Interest rates are important because they affect how much it costs to borrow money and how much you can earn by saving or investing money. Different types of loans and savings accounts have different types of interest rates, such as fixed, variable, APR, and APY.