Investor's wiki

Variable Interest Rate

Variable Interest Rate

What is a variable rate?

A variable rate, or variable interest rate, is the sum charged to a borrower for a variable-rate loan, like a mortgage. A variable rate is typically communicated as an annual percentage and changes in tandem with a rate index.

More profound definition

Borrowers settle on the terms and conditions of a loan, including the rate at which interest accrues. Interest could accrue at a fixed rate, implying that it's dependably a similar percentage over the lifetime of the loan. Or on the other hand interest might accrue at a variable rate, and could go up or down all through the loan term.
As the interest rate changes, the borrower's regularly scheduled payment changes. Different terms of the loan incorporate how frequently the rate can change and the maximum suitable increase per rate change.
A variable interest rate depends on a benchmark rate or index, for example, the prime rate, distributed by the Wall Street Journal. At the point when that index rises or falls, it influences the interest rate paid by the borrower. The benefit of a variable rate is that as it drops, so does the borrower's interest payment. Some variable-rate loans, in any case, have terms that limit rate drops.
Initially, a variable-rate mortgage loan regularly offers a lower annual percentage rate, or APR, to urge borrowers to pursue the loan. The equivalent is true for variable-rate credit cards and individual loans.

Illustration of variable rate

Kevin gets a mortgage loan when interest rates are falling. He has the decision between a conventional fixed-rate mortgage at 4.1 percent and a 5/1 ARM at 3.55 percent. With the 5/1 ARM, Kevin's interest rate will remain something similar for the initial five years, then change annually. Kevin's variable rate is tied to the Treasury index. Kevin doesn't plan to remain in that frame of mind for over five years, so the 5/1 ARM actually helps him out.


  • A variable interest rate vacillates after some time since it depends on an underlying benchmark interest rate or index that changes occasionally with the market.
  • Variable interest rates can be found in mortgages, credit cards, corporate bonds, derivatives, and different securities or loans.
  • The underlying benchmark interest rate or index for a variable interest rate relies upon the type of loan or security, however it is habitually linked to the LIBOR or the federal funds rate.