Interest Rate

Bradford Toney
Updated At


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What is Interest Rate?

Interest rates are a crucial part of business finance and crucial for small business owners to grasp. They play a key role in determining the cost of borrowing money for business growth or the return on money set aside for future projects. Interest rates are what you pay for borrowing money, or what you earn when you lend it out. They are usually shown as a percentage of the original amount of money borrowed or invested, known as the principal. So, for borrowers, interest rates are the extra money charged on top of the principal. For savers or investors, they are the profit made on top of their original money. Interest can build up daily, monthly, yearly, and so forth. The formula to calculate simple interest is:

Interest = Principal x Rate x Time


  • Principal is the initial amount of money borrowed or invested.
  • Rate is the interest rate.
  • Time is the duration for which the money is borrowed or invested.
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Interest Rate vs. Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

Interest rate and percentage rate (APR), while closely related, have distinct meanings:

  • Interest Rate: This is what you pay to borrow the main loan amount. The cost can change over time (variable) or stay the same (fixed).
  • Percentage Rate (APR): This shows the full cost of the loan, which includes interest and all other charges. It provides a complete view of what the loan is going to cost you.

For small businesses, while the interest rate gives an idea of the loan's basic cost, the APR provides a comprehensive view, including fees like origination fees, service charges, etc.

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Why is Interest Rate Important?

For small business owners, understanding interest rates is crucial for several reasons:

  • Decision Making: Knowing interest rates helps decide whether to borrow, how much, and from where. A lower rate means lower borrowing costs.
  • Budgeting: Accurate interest rate figures allow for precise budgeting and financial planning.
  • Cost Management: Being aware of interest rates can help businesses manage and reduce financial costs.
  • Negotiation Power: Understanding prevailing interest rates gives businesses an edge when negotiating loan terms with lenders.
  • Economic Indicator: Interest rates can also serve as an economic indicator. Central banks adjust rates to control inflation and stabilize the economy, which can impact businesses.

Interest rates are more than just numbers; they're pivotal metrics that influence a range of business decisions, from borrowing and investing to budgeting and forecasting. For small business owners, a clear understanding of interest rates, and how they differ from metrics like APR, can lead to better financial decisions, optimized costs, and enhanced negotiation capabilities. As with all financial matters, staying informed and seeking expert advice when needed can make all the difference.

Banton, C. (2024, February 24). Interest rates: different types and what they mean to borrowers. Investopedia.

Segal, T. (2023, July 17). Interest Rate vs. APR: What’s the Difference? Investopedia.

Fernando, J. (2024h, February 26). Annual Percentage Rate (APR): What it means and how it works. Investopedia.

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