Nominal interest rate

Page written by AI. Reviewed internally on February 12, 2024.


The nominal interest rate, often simply referred to as the “interest rate,” is the percentage of interest charged or earned on a loan or investment without adjusting for inflation or compounding.

What is a nominal interest rate?

In simple terms, a nominal interest rate represents the stated or announced rate of interest on a financial product or loan. For example, if you have a savings account with a nominal interest rate of 5%, it means that you’ll earn 5% interest on your balance over a specified period.

The nominal interest rate does not take into account the effect of inflation or the compounding of interest over time. Therefore, it provides a straightforward measure of the monetary return or cost associated with a financial transaction.

To get a more accurate understanding of the true purchasing power or cost of borrowing, it’s important to consider the real interest rate. The real interest rate takes into account the impact of inflation and provides a clearer picture of the actual increase or decrease in purchasing power over time.

In summary, while the nominal interest rate is the stated rate before considering inflation or compounding, the real interest rate accounts for these factors and gives a more realistic representation of the financial impact of a transaction.

Example of a nominal interest rate

Let’s say a business takes out a loan for $10,000 with an annual interest rate of 5%. This 5% is the nominal interest rate, expressed as a percentage of the loan amount. So, for each year, The business owes 5% of $10,000, which is $500, in interest payments.

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