Effective Interest Rate Definition

Interest rate definition

The effective interest rate is the genuine rate of return that you will earn. It may also indicate anything from market rates to discount fees, internal returns, annual percentage yields (APR), and obligated or targeted levels of interest.


The actual amount of interest that is paid on a particular financial product. It is calculated by taking into account all the factors affecting the cost of borrowing money, such as fees, closing costs, and taxes. In contrast to nominal interest rates which are used for marketing purposes and only include simple interest rate calculations, effective interest rates are more accurate reflections of what a borrower pays.

What is An Effective Interest Rate?

Compounding can increase the effective rate of interest earned on an investment or loan, which is more accurate than its stated (nominal) rate. For example, if a nominal interest rate is advertised at 5%, you could realistically expect your actual yearly return to be higher once compounding effects are taken into account.


The effective interest rate provides a way of measuring the returns on various financial instruments that have different terms. For instance, this concept can be used for evaluating the return of a loan with monthly compounding versus quarterly compounding or comparing bonds acquired at discount prices to ones purchased at face value.


To calculate the effective interest rate, use this formula:


(1 + (nominal rate / number of compounding periods)) ^ (number of compounding periods) – 1

= Effective interest rate


When evaluating the returns on financial instruments, it’s significant to remember that a more regular compounding will produce an enhanced effective interest rate. Additionally, if you purchase an investment at a greater discount from its face value, then your return likewise increases.

Example of the Effective Interest Rate

Let’s suppose a company releases 1,000 leva bonds with an acknowledged contractual face rate of 5%. This means that the firm is obligated to pay 50 leva annually until maturity as well as the principal amount. Now, let us take into account what would happen if market interest rates rose by one percentage point after the bonds have been issued.


With the 5% bond, its worth depreciates as the contractual payment of 50 leva per year loses value when market rates are currently at 60 leva yearly for a 1,000 leva bond. Investors will only purchase this type of bond if it is priced so that it yields 6% over what’s left in its lifetime. This means they’ll pay less than 1000 Levas to make sure their effective interest rate stays within target limits for the remainder of the maturity period.

What is the nominal interest rate?

Banks and other financial organizations typically quote a nominal interest rate; one that fails to consider any additional charges or compounding of earnings.

What is compound interest?

Capitalizing on compound interest can be a highly profitable move. By taking into account the initial principal and all accumulated past interest, you will see an exponential increase in your returns over time – especially with more frequent compounding periods.


Financial institutions often employ the nominal interest rate to promote their money market rates, failing to take into account fees and compounding. The effective annual interest rate, on the other hand, considers both of these factors thus resulting in a higher number than its counterpart. Indeed, as more periods of compounding come into play; so too does an increase in the ultimate effective interest rate!


The higher the effective annual interest rate, the more advantageous it is for savers/investors and less desirable for borrowers. As you evaluate a deposit or loan’s interest rates, focus on the meaningful effective annual interest rate rather than being taken in by nominal ones that are just flashy headlines.

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