Interest Rates Explained

Interest Rates Explained


It’s not logical to lend money for free. Bob will need some sort of financial inducement to lend Alice the $10,000 she needs. The interest Alice pays on the money she borrows is the encouragement she receives.

Changing interest rates has far-reaching effects on the economy as a whole because of the tremendous effect it has on people’s actions. In brief:

  • Banks will offer you extra interest for keeping your money in the bank if interest rates are high. Borrowing becomes less appealing when you factor in rising interest rates for whatever credit you use.
  • Because money earns little by sitting idle, lower interest rates encourage borrowing and spending. In addition, you won’t have to shell out a fortune in addition to the amount you borrow.


How Does the Economy Work? explains how important credit is to modern economies. It’s like grease for the financial system, allowing people to deal without having to front all the cash right away. Credit allows businesses to acquire needed resources, earn a profit, and then repay the lender. A consumer can get a loan to pay for their purchases and pay back the money in manageable, small payments.

Investors will only extend credit if they see a financial return on their investment.  Interest fees are commonplace. In this post, we’ll explore the inner workings of interest rates.

Define An Interest Rate

The borrower sends the financial institution an interest payment. Bob might lend Alice $10,000 with the stipulation that she pay him $5,000 in interest every year. This means that Alice must repay the initial principle of $10,000 plus 5% of that amount before the end of the term. Therefore, the total amount she pays Bob is $10,500.  Simply put, an interest charge is the annualized charge of compound interest. If the interest rate is 5% annually, 

  • Alice would have a $10,000 debt after the first year. Potential outcomes for you after leaving that point include:


  • Annual interest equal to 5% of the specific loan balance grows each year, first at 5% of $10,500, then at 5% of $10,500 + $525 = $11,025, and so on.

Why Are Interest Rates Important?

Interest rates affect you and everyone else unless you just deal in cryptocurrencies, cash, and gold coins. Dogecoins are significant enough to the economy that even if you found a method to pay for everything in them, you would still feel their influence

For example, commercial banks rely on borrowing and lending money as part of their core operations (known as “fractional reserve banking”). When you make a deposit, you take on the role of the lender. The bank pays you interest because it uses your money to make loans to other people. When you borrow money, though, you have to pay interest to the borrower.

When it comes to determining interest rates, commercial banks don’t have a lot of flexibility because that’s the responsibility of government-run institutions known as central banks. To intelligence, the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States, the People’s Bank of China, and the Bank of England. Their responsibility is to maintain a robust economy with careful adjustments. They do this in part by increasing or decreasing interest rates.

Consider that if you lend money out and interest rates are high, you will get more money back. However, borrowing money will become more costly as your debt increases. When interest rates are low, however, borrowing money becomes more appealing than lending it.

The ultimate goal of these measures is to influence consumer behaviour. When economic growth slows, policymakers often reduce interest rates to encourage borrowing by consumers and businesses. The additional credit should encourage them to make a purchase.

While lowering interest rates may help revive the economy in the face of inflation, doing so will lead to price increases in the long run. While there is now more credit accessible, there is no increase in total available resources. In other words, there is a rise in demand for commodities but no corresponding increase in supply. As expected, prices start to rise and then level off.

When this happens, imposing steep interest rates can act as a deterrent. By forcing people to pay off their obligations, a high-interest rate structure reduces the total quantity of credit in circulation. People prefer to save their money now because of the high-interest rates offered by banks. Inflation falls, but economic growth slows as consumer spending drops.

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Negative Interest Rate

Negative interest costs are no longer an unusual problem relying on verbal exchange among economists and economic commentators. Sub-zero interest rates mean that it costs money to lend it out or simply keep it in a bank. As a result, this raises lending costs for financial institutions. In fact, it raises the price of saving money.

You might think this is a completely ridiculous idea. After all, the lender is the one putting up their own money in the event that the borrower can’t pay back the loan. We don’t see why we should expect them to pay. 

Perhaps this is why responding to negative interest rates is a last-ditch effort to revive faltering economies. The concept originates from the worry that people will choose to sit on their cash until the economy improves, accordingly stopping all economic activity until then. 

This makes little sense because borrowing and spending appear to be the best options when rates are negative. That’s why, in extreme economic situations, some people think negative interest rates make sense.

In conclusion

At first glance, interest rates appear to be a simple topic to understand. However, they are essential to contemporary economies, and as we have shown, modifying them can have a major impact on the ways in which people and corporations operate. This is why governments and central banks use them so actively to maintain stable economies.

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