What Is Accrued Interest? Everything You Should Know

By Jacqueline DeMarco · May 13, 2024 · 7 minute read

We’re here to help! First and foremost, SoFi Learn strives to be a beneficial resource to you as you navigate your financial journey. Read more We develop content that covers a variety of financial topics. Sometimes, that content may include information about products, features, or services that SoFi does not provide. We aim to break down complicated concepts, loop you in on the latest trends, and keep you up-to-date on the stuff you can use to help get your money right. Read less

What Is Accrued Interest? Everything You Should Know

Accrued interest represents the interest that accumulates in between payments on a financial product. Accrued interest can apply to both lending and investment products, ranging from home loans and credit cards to bonds or savings accounts.

Accrued interest is different from regular interest, and it’s an important concept to understand.

What Is Accrued Interest?

When you are investing and earning interest, you’ll probably encounter accrued interest. And in the opposite situation, if you borrow money and owe interest payments, you’ll also deal with accrued interest.

This type of interest accrues in between payments. For instance, if you have a credit card balance of $1,000, and you make a partial payment on the 30th of the month, the remaining balance and any new charges will begin to accrue interest. It will be due on the 30th of the following month.

Think of accrued interest as interest that is building up, bit by bit, until that payment is made. In the case of an investment like bonds, in which you’re essentially loaning money to an entity like the government or a company, the accrued interest is interest earned on the money you invested that is eventually paid to you.

💡 Quick Tip: Whether your check comes the first Wednesday of the month or every other Friday, if you sign up for direct deposit, you know when the money will hit your account. This is especially helpful for scheduling the payment of regular bills. No more guessing when you’ll have sufficient funds.

How Does Accrued Interest Work?

It’s possible to owe accrued interest on a variety of lending products, like credit cards and loans. It’s also possible to earn accrued interest on certain investing products and savings accounts.

Whenever an individual borrows money, they owe interest. They are paying to use that money. On the flip side, when they are investing and giving a financial institution, government agency, or company money to borrow for an investment, such as a bond, then the individual is owed interest.

Accrued Interest When Borrowing Money

When you borrow money, with an installment loan, for instance, interest typically accrues daily. At the end of the month, the accrued interest is added to the total monthly payment amount.

With credit cards, unless you pay your balance in full every month, the same daily accrual happens after the cardholder makes a charge with their card. The interest is building up as the month goes on. How much interest accrues depends on the balance and the interest rate.

Accrued Interest When Saving

Accounts that earn interest, such as certificates of deposits (CDs) and high-yield savings accounts, also often accrue interest daily. The amount of interest accrued is based on the account’s average daily balance. An exception to that is bonds, which generate a fixed interest payment on a quarterly, semiannual, or annual basis.

How to Calculate Accrued Interest

How interest accrues varies by the lender and product that’s generating the interest, which could be a loan, a line of credit, an investment product, or a bank account such as a savings account.

Example of Accrued Interest When Borrowing

To calculate how much interest will accrue daily with a credit card, for example, an individual needs to divide their APR (annual percentage rate) by 365 (for the number of days in a year). Then, they would multiply their current credit card balance by their daily rate. So if a credit card has an APR of 24.37% with a balance of $500, the calculation for how much interest accrues daily looks like this:

24.37 / 365 = 0.067%

$500 x 0.00067 = $0.34 interest that accrues daily

To calculate the monthly interest charge, multiply the daily rate by the number of days in the credit card billing cycle. So if there are 30 days in the billing cycle the calculation would look like this:

$0.34 x 30 = $10.20 in interest

Although credit card interest accrues daily, the total amount accrued is typically not added to your balance until the end of the billing cycle. So if you pay your balance in full by the due date, you can avoid paying accrued interest.

Example of Accrued Interest When Saving

To calculate accrued interest on a savings account, for example, take your yearly interest rate, which banks generally list as an APY, or the percentage of total interest you can earn on your account per year. To find the monthly interest rate, divide the APY by 12 (for the number of months in the year). So, if the APY is 5%, the calculation would look like this:

5 / 12 = 0.416% monthly interest rate

Next, to calculate how much interest you will actually earn on your money, you need to know if the interest is simple interest vs. compound interest. Most savings accounts use compound interest, and it is calculated depending on how often it compounds, such as monthly.

To determine how much annual interest you’ll earn on a balance of $1,000 in your savings account, the formula is:

P(1 + R / N)˄NT

P is the principal amount (the $1,000), R is your APY (calculated in decimal form), N is the frequency of compounding, which is monthly, and T is the amount of time, which in this case is 1 for one year. It would look like this:

1,000(1+ 0.05 / 12)˄12 x 1 = $1,250

💡 Quick Tip: If your checking account doesn’t offer decent rates, why not apply for an online checking account with SoFi to earn 0.50% APY. That’s 7x the national checking account average.

Accrued Interest vs Regular Interest

Accrued interest is different from regular interest. Accrued interest typically indicates interest charges that have accumulated but not yet been paid. Perhaps you have heard the term in this context with student loans: The interest may start accruing (adding up) when the loan is disbursed, but it could only become due at your studies’ completion. You may not be paying the interest just yet, but you can know the interest will be assessed.

Regular interest refers to the interest earned on, say, a home loan. Your payment plus interest is due on a certain date and is not accruing day after day or varying. The “regular interest” involves a known principal and interest rate, as well as a constant monthly payment that is due every month.

Why Is Accrued Interest Important?

Accrued interest shows how interest that an individual owes or is owed adds up. For example, with bonds, it may help you understand the interest that’s accruing so you can make sure you are earning the right amount. Or, if you have borrowed money, you can look at how the accruing interest could add to the amount you owe, which might, in turn, help you manage your money.

In the case of a credit card, if an individual sees how long it will take to pay off a credit card balance over a year or two, they could crunch the numbers on how much interest they will accrue during that time. They may find that paying the debt sooner could save them a lot of money, and then work to create a budget to help them pay down what they owe.

Understanding how that interest builds up is a valuable tool. By better comprehending how much you owe or are owed, you can manage your money and work to enhance your financial health.

Interested in opening an online bank account? When you sign up for a SoFi Checking and Savings account with direct deposit, you’ll get a competitive annual percentage yield (APY), pay zero account fees, and enjoy an array of rewards, such as access to the Allpoint Network of 55,000+ fee-free ATMs globally. Qualifying accounts can even access their paycheck up to two days early.

Better banking is here with SoFi, NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Checking Account Overall. Enjoy up to 4.60% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.


Is accrued interest good or bad?

Accrued interest isn’t necessarily a bad or good thing. If someone borrows money, they may not enjoy paying accrued interest, but it is a part of their lending agreement. On the other hand, if someone earns accrued interest on investments or savings, they’ll probably consider it a good thing.

Why do I have to pay accrued interest?

Paying accrued interest is more often than not necessary when someone borrows money. Those payments are required by lenders in exchange for lending money to consumers.

What is the difference between interest and accrued interest?

Regular interest represents the payment made in exchange for borrowing money or as a form of income earned from an investment. Accrued interest represents the amount of interest that builds up in between payments.

How do you avoid accrued interest?

When an individual enters a borrowing agreement, they need to pay any interest they accrue. That said, there are ways to avoid paying accrued interest altogether or to minimize accrued interest payments. For instance, pay your credit cards in full. When you pay the balance in full, you won’t have to pay any accrued interest.

Also, to minimize how much accrued interest you owe on a loan, you can make additional payments. Paying down the principal faster will lower how much interest accrues on a monthly basis. You may even be able to pay off the loan early, which also helps avoid more interest accruing.

Photo credit: iStock/MicroStockHub

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.

Tax Information: This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2023 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
The SoFi Bank Debit Mastercard® is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A., pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.

4.60% APY
SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a deposit to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.

SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY. Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.

SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.

Members without either Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits, as determined by SoFi Bank, during a 30-Day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances.

Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at https://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.

Our account fee policy is subject to change at any time.


All your finances.
All in one app.

SoFi QR code, Download now, scan this with your phone’s camera

All your finances.
All in one app.

App Store rating

SoFi iOS App, Download on the App Store
SoFi Android App, Get it on Google Play

TLS 1.2 Encrypted
Equal Housing Lender