Glossary Terms

Annual Percentage Rate

Annual Percentage Rate
Reviewed by Minh Tong
Updated January 5, 2023

An annual percentage rate (APR) is a measure of the cost of borrowing money, expressed as a yearly interest rate. It is typically used to compare different loan or credit products, as it takes into account not only the interest rate charged on a loan, but also any fees or additional charges that may be associated with the loan.

To calculate the APR, lenders consider the interest rate, any origination fees, and any other charges that may be associated with the loan. These charges are then expressed as a percentage of the total loan amount and are compounded on a yearly basis. This means that the APR takes into account the effect of all these charges over the life of the loan, allowing borrowers to compare the total cost of borrowing from different lenders.

For example, if a lender charges a 5% interest rate on a loan with a $100 origination fee, the APR would be higher than if the same lender offered a 6% interest rate with no origination fee. This is because the origination fee would be included in the APR calculation, effectively increasing the cost of borrowing.

It is important to note that the APR is not the same as the interest rate. While the interest rate is the amount charged by the lender for borrowing money, the APR includes additional charges and fees, making it a more comprehensive measure of the cost of borrowing.

Borrowers should be aware that the APR can vary significantly between different lenders, even for loans with similar interest rates. It is therefore important to compare the APR of different loan products when shopping for a loan, in order to ensure that you are getting the best deal possible.

Overall, the APR is an important tool for borrowers to use when comparing different loan or credit products, as it provides a more accurate representation of the total cost of borrowing. By understanding the APR, borrowers can make more informed decisions about which loan or credit product is the best fit for their needs.