Whether you’re applying for a credit card or calculating expected ROI, three simple letters have a big impact on your decision: APR. What is the APR? It represents the annual percentage rate. It represents the amount of annual interest paid to investors or owed by borrowers. This is a figure that includes costs and fees, but does not take into account membership. Therefore, it is an excellent baseline for comparing the value of investments or the cost of different credit products.

When evaluating the APR, borrowers and investors should be aware of how this affects their wealth based on the principal balance. Here’s what you need to know about the APR, as an investor and a borrower.

## APR for investors

From an investment perspective, the APR represents the non-compounded rate of return for the year, expressed as an interest rate. For example, the APR of a bond maybe 6%. This means that you can expect to earn 6% on this investment each year.

The APR is straightforward when comparing fixed rate investment products of the same nature, such as bonds or certificates of deposit. These products are available at a specific nominal value and come with an interest rate (coupon) that defines their APR. By looking at the interest rate, investors can make smart decisions about where to put their money. For example:

Rashmit wants to invest in bonds. He chooses between a $ 5,000 bond with a 5% rate and a $ 3,000 bond with an 8% rate. Option A will earn him $ 250 annually, while option B will earn him $ 240 annually.

This example illustrates the importance of the principal on the APR. Although option B has a higher APR, the main one is smaller. Option A has a lower APR, but the return is higher due to the higher principal amount.

## APR for borrowers

The APR for borrowers is the same concept, applied only backwards. You pay the APR to borrow money. This can vary greatly depending on the type of loan. For example, mortgages can be as low as 2.8% APR, while credit cards can average 24%. It is extremely important to find the best rate to avoid paying high interest rates when borrowing.

How the APR works for borrowers is a bit complex. Take the credit card APR, for example. Credit cards are dialed daily, using the average daily balance. The formula for credit card interest is the daily rate, multiplied by the average daily balance, multiplied by the days of the bill cycle. The results of this equation can add up quickly. For example, a balance of $ 5,000 at 24% APR would take 36 months to pay off if you paid $ 200 each month, and that would equal $ 2,000 in interest payments!

The APR for borrowers also comes in several different forms: Purchase APR, Introductory APR, Penalty APR, and Advance APR, to name a few. These are all APRs that are criteria specific, which can change your assessment of different financial products.

## Fixed or variable APR

Speaking of different types of PRA, often the biggest differentiator between them is Fixed vs variable APR. As the name suggests, the fixed APR stays the same consistently for a predetermined period of time. Variable interest rates are, in a nutshell, variable. They can increase or decrease depending on different factors, and usually between a specific range. Variable APRs adjust according to the prime rate, which can fluctuate often.

Loan products and fixed income investments can offer a fixed or variable APR. It is up to individuals to assess the products available to them and decide which pricing structure is ideal. For example, buying a house with a variable APR when rates are historically low can be a smart way to reduce the total interest paid over the life of the loan. Conversely, an investor may prefer a fixed coupon bond with an attractive APR which he can hold or resell for a premium.

## APR vs APY: what’s the difference?

There is often some confusion between the annual percentage rate and the annual percentage return. The difference is that APR measures the annual rate without compounding, while APY represents the rate of return. *with* composition. The main difference to remember between APR and APY is that APY increases as the principal balance increases after each compounding. For example:

Marcy invests $ 1,000 in a fund that has an APR of 12%. This means that its monthly rate of return is 1%. If these earnings are compounded monthly, the APY actually comes out at 12.68%. This is because the principal balance increases monthly. The APR remains the same, the APY changes.

Investors (and borrowers) should know the difference between APR and APY as it affects the prospectus of an investment. In fact, the 1991 Truth in Savings Act requires lenders and borrowers to disclose double digits, so that investors can make an informed decision.

## Calculation of annual percentage rates

The APR formula is to multiply the periodic interest rate by the number of periods in a year. The APR calculation formula is:

- Add interest paid over the life of the loan to any additional costs
- Divide by the loan amount
- Divide by the total number of days of the loan term
- Multiply by 365 to find the annual rate
- Multiply by 100 to convert the annual rate to a percentage

Remember that this formula does not take into account the composition. To calculate the composition in the equation, it’s important to calculate APY instead.

## Pay attention to annual percentage rates

Whether you are borrowing or investing, it is important to pay close attention to the APR. What is the APR? It is the annual interest generated by a principal balance. Beyond the rate itself, check whether it is fixed or variable, and what conditions stipulate that rate.

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The APR can be a useful tool for evaluating financial products. You just need to make sure you understand it and compare the APR to the APR and not to the APY.