Pay off high-rate debt with a personal loan and save thousands. Learn more.

Guide to Accrued Interest: What You Should Know

By Jacqueline DeMarco · June 17, 2022 · 8 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

Guide to Accrued Interest: What You Should Know

Accrued interest is a type of interest that accumulates over a time period but hasn’t yet been paid. That interest could be paid to a lender (such as on a credit card balance or a loan) or an investor (say, on a bond you bought). It’s different from regular interest, and it’s a basic but important financial topic to understand.

So we’ll break it down for you here and share:

•   What is accrued interest

•   How accrued interest works

•   Why it’s important

•   How to calculate accrued interest

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 bump into accrued interest.

This type of interest accrues in between payments; it’s just a matter of time before it is paid out. Let’s say you have a balance of $1,000 on your credit card, and you make a partial payment on the 30th of the month. Once you make that payment, 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 (or, in the case of investments, until a payout is made).

How Does Accrued Interest Work?

It’s possible to owe accrued interest on a variety of lending products, like the credit card we mentioned above. It’s also possible to earn accrued interest on investing products and savings accounts.

Whenever someone is borrowing money, they owe interest. They are paying for the privilege of using someone else’s money. On the flip side, when they give a financial institution, government agency, or company money to borrow for an investment such as a bond, then the investor is owed interest.

Now that you understand that concept, let’s look a bit deeper. With installment loans, such as a line of credit, interest typically accrues daily. At the end of the month, the interest accrued is added to the total monthly payment amount. With credit cards, the same daily accrual happens after the card holder makes a charge with their plastic. The interest is building up as the month goes on. How much interest accrues depends on the balance of the lending product and the interest rate. Of course, if the balance gets paid off in full, interest won’t be accruing (not until the next charge is made, at least).

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

Recommended: How Do Credit Card Payments Work?

Example of How Interest Can Accrue

Let’s look at an example of how interest can accrue.

•   Acme Corp took out a loan of $200,000 with a bank at an annual interest rate of 10%.

•   This loan will mature within one year, and any remaining principal and interest payments will be due in full at that maturation date.

•   Acme Corp must make monthly interest payments based on the annual interest rate they received from the bank.

•   During the life of this loan, Acme Corp will owe $54.79 in interest on a daily basis for that 365-day loan term.

•   The accrued interest will be due once a month and will accumulate to $1,666.67.

•   This accumulated interest is what is known as accrued interest. Once Acme Corp pays it off at the end of the month, the amount of accrued interest owed will reset to zero and begin to accumulate again.

Accrued Interest vs Regular Interest

So, what is the difference between accrued interest and regular interest (the latter is sometimes known as simple interest, as opposed to compound 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 matters because it illustrates how interest that a consumer owes or is owed adds up. For example, with bonds, it can help you understand the interest that’s collecting 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 will impact your future financial health.

If someone sees how long it will take to pay off a credit card balance over three years, they may want to crunch the numbers on how much interest they will accrue in the next couple of years. They may find that paying the debt ASAP saves them a lot of money. They could figure out how to part with a large chunk of cash at once to avoid the accrual of interest.

Do I Have to Pay Accrued Interest?

The answer to the question “Do I have to pay accrued interest” is yes. Once someone enters a borrowing agreement, they need to pay any interest they accrue. That being said, there are ways they can avoid paying accrued interest altogether or can avoid paying more accrued interest than they need to.

Here’s a few tips for how to minimize accrued interest payments.

•   Pay credit cards in full. Interest accrues whenever you make a purchase with their credit card. But if you pay it off in full by the due date, you won’t need to pay any accrued interest.

•   Make more frequent payments. To minimize how much accrued interest someone owes, you can make additional payments on top of their regularly scheduled minimum payments. Paying down the principal faster on, say, a loan, will lower how much interest accrues on a monthly basis. You may then be able to pay off the loan early, which also helps avoid more interest accruing.

•   Build your credit history. Working on improving your credit score can help you obtain lower interest rates in the future. If you qualify for a better (lower) interest rate when taking out a loan, the amount that accrues on the principal will be lower.

•   Have a plan for your debt payoff. If you are juggling multiple sources of debt, you can pay down the debt faster by having a plan in place. You may want to consider the debt avalanche method or debt snowball method.

•   Refinance your loan. It’s possible to refinance certain loans like home, auto, and student loans. If you’ve improved your credit score, you may qualify for better interest rates and terms since they first took out the loan. This can help lower the amount of accrued interest you owe and help you pay off the debt faster.

Recommended: When Do Student Loans Accrue Interest?

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 high yield bank account.

For example, to calculate how much interest will accrue with a credit card, all the consumer has to do is divide their APR (annual percentage rate) by 365. If they want to see how much accrued interest they will owe at the end of the month, they will simply multiply that daily amount by how many days are in the statement period. Whenever we talk about credit cards and interest, it’s worth remembering that it’s likely you will make more purchases with your plastic over time. That will boost the amount owed and the interest accrued.

The Takeaway

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

Looking for a new bank account that earns a superior amount of interest? SoFi is here for you! Open linked Checking and Savings accounts with direct deposit, and you’ll earn a terrific APY. And account holders never have to worry about fees. It’s all part of our plan to help your money grow faster.

Better banking is here with up to 4.60% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.

FAQ

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 be pretty happy about it.

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.


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.


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.


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.

Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website .

Photo credit: iStock/MicroStockHub
SOBK0222021

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