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Accrued Interest


Accrued interest refers to the earned but unpaid interest on an investment, such as a bond or loan, which accumulates over time. It is calculated based on the outstanding principal amount, the interest rate, and the time period since the last interest payment or issuance. Accrued interest is typically paid to the bond or loan holder periodically and is added to the total interest owed, increasing the overall value of the investment.


The phonetic pronunciation of the keyword “Accrued Interest” is:əˈkro͞od ˈintrəst

Key Takeaways

  1. Accrued Interest is the interest that has accumulated on a loan or financial obligation since the last interest payment was made or over a period of regular, non-payment of interest.
  2. It is typically calculated using the principal amount, interest rate, and the time that has elapsed since the last payment. Accrued interest is added to the outstanding principal balance and subsequently will affect future interest calculations.
  3. For bond investments, accrued interest is the interest that has been earned but not yet paid to the bondholder at the time of purchase or sale of the bond. The buyer of the bond will be responsible for paying the accrued interest to the seller, in addition to the principal value of the bond.


Accrued interest is an important concept in business and finance as it represents the accumulating interest on a financial asset or liability over a specific period of time. It plays a vital role in understanding the actual cost or return on investment on financial instruments like bonds, loans, and securities. Accrued interest provides a more accurate assessment of the financial instrument’s performance and assists in making informed financial decisions. Additionally, it ensures that interest payments are properly accounted for, which is crucial for both borrowers and lenders when evaluating their financial positions and adhering to the legal contract of the financial instrument. In summary, accrued interest serves as an essential valuation tool in business and finance, promoting transparency and accuracy in financial management and planning.


Accrued interest serves a crucial purpose in the realm of finance and business by enabling a clear understanding of the monetary value attributed to the passage of time in relation to lending or investing activities. Essentially, it represents the interest earned or incurred on an investment or loan but has not yet been received or paid. By calculating accrued interest, lenders, investors, and borrowers can maintain precise records of financial transactions and align their expectations for financial performance. Its utilization showcases not only the significance of the time-value of money but also promotes fairness, transparency, and accountability in both personal and institutional finance. Accrued interest is commonly used in various financial instruments, such as bonds, loans, and savings accounts, as well as in accounting practices for determining accurate financial statements. For bondholders, the calculation of accrued interest ensures that the interest payment received is proportional to the length of time they held the bond. On the other hand, for borrowers, the process of accruing interest over the loan period allows them to recognize the true cost of borrowing and encourages timely repayments to minimize excessive interest expenses. In the realm of accounting, accruing interest is crucial for preparing accurate financial statements that reflect a company’s true financial position. By incorporating accrued interest in the income or expense accounts, financial reports become more reliable and valuable for decision-making by various stakeholders, such as shareholders, creditors, and regulators.


1. Bonds and Securities: When an investor purchases a bond, the bond issuer (e.g., a corporation or government) promises to pay the investor periodic interest payments, usually semi-annually. Before the interest payments are made, the interest accrues on the bond over time. At the end of each payment period, the investor receives the accrued interest, which represents their return on investment. For instance, if an investor holds a $1,000 bond with a 5% annual interest rate for six months, they would receive $25 in accrued interest at the end of this period. 2. Mortgages and Loans: For mortgage and loan agreements, borrowers agree to make monthly payments that include both principal repayment and interest. However, on each day that passes, interest accrues on the remaining outstanding balance of the loan. This is why the interest portion of a payment is usually higher at the beginning of a loan than towards the end, as the outstanding balance decreases. For example, on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage of $200,000 with a 4% interest rate, the borrower would pay around $954 per month. At the beginning of the mortgage, about $288 of the monthly payment would go toward accrued interest, while by the end of the mortgage, this amount would decrease significantly. 3. Credit Cards: With credit cards, any unpaid balance incurs interest, typically calculated daily, and added to the outstanding balance on a monthly basis. For example, if a credit card user has an annual interest rate of 18% and a balance of $1,000, their daily interest rate would be approximately 0.0493% (18% / 365 days). By the end of the month, if no payments were made, the accrued interest for the month would be around $14.65, bringing the total balance to $1,014.65.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is accrued interest?
Accrued interest is the interest that has accumulated on a loan, bond, or other financial instrument over a specific period of time but has not yet been paid out by the borrower.
How is accrued interest calculated?
Accrued interest is usually calculated by multiplying the interest rate by the outstanding principal amount and the time period for which the interest is being calculated (usually in days or months). It can be computed on a daily, monthly, or yearly basis, depending on the terms of the financial instrument.
What financial instruments accrue interest?
Various financial instruments such as bonds, loans, and fixed deposits accrue interest. In the context of bonds, the accrued interest is the interest earned by the bondholder between the last interest payment date and the present date.
When is accrued interest paid out?
The payment schedule for accrued interest varies depending on the terms of the financial instrument. In most cases, it is paid out periodically, such as monthly, quarterly, or annually, as specified in the agreement.
How does accrued interest affect bond prices?
When buying or selling bonds on the secondary market, the price of a bond includes the accrued interest. The buyer compensates the seller for the interest that has been earned but not yet paid by the issuer. The accrued interest is then considered as income for the bond buyer.
Can accrued interest be tax-deductible?
In certain situations, accrued interest may be tax-deductible. For example, if the accrued interest is from a business loan, it may be deductible as a business expense. However, the deductibility of accrued interest depends on the specific tax laws and regulations in your jurisdiction. It’s always a good idea to consult a tax professional for advice on your individual situation.
What is the difference between accrued interest and interest expense?
Accrued interest is the accumulated interest that has not yet been paid, while interest expense refers to the cost of borrowing money, which is recognized as an expense on the income statement. Accrued interest is often recorded as a liability on the balance sheet, while interest expense is a component of the income statement.
What happens to accrued interest if a bond is sold before maturity?
If a bond is sold before maturity, the seller will receive the bond’s principal amount, plus any unpaid accrued interest earned up to the selling date. The buyer of the bond becomes responsible for the accrued interest and will receive the next interest payment made by the bond issuer.

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