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Accrued Interest: What It Is and How It Is Calculated


Accrued interest is the amount of unpaid interest on a loan, bond, or other financial product. You can make money off of accrued interest when it comes to bonds, investments, and savings accounts. Similar to regular interest, you can think of it as the price a financial institution pays you for borrowing your money — or the price you pay a financial institution to borrow its money. As a borrower, accrued interest can cost you money as it’s the accumulated interest on a loan or credit card that has not been paid yet.

Here’s a closer look at how accrued interest works with different financial products:

Loans

In the context of loans, accrued interest may start at the moment your loan is disbursed and continue to accrue until you fully pay it off. This is also common practice for student loans as well. Additionally, if you take out a mortgage, you typically accrue interest each month in exchange for borrowing the funds to purchase your home.

Investment accounts

For investment accounts, the amount of interest that accrues is always based on the interest rate you’re given and your principal balance. Accounts that earn interest, such as savings accounts or certificates of deposit (CDs), accrue interest daily, and the yield is based on your average daily balance. 

Bonds

A common example of investments that accrue interest is bonds. When it comes to bonds, the bondholder lends money to the government for a determined amount of time, and the government pays the bondholder back the money plus the interest that accrues between payouts. Also, be aware that if you’ve invested in a bond, you’ll typically receive a fixed interest payment quarterly, semiannually, or annually, not daily.



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