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Basis Point (BPS)


A basis point (BPS) is a unit of measure used in finance to describe the percentage change in a financial instrument’s value or rate. Specifically, a basis point represents 0.01% or one-hundredth of a percentage point. It is commonly used in discussions about interest rates, credit spreads, or other percentage-based calculations.


The phonetics for the keyword “Basis Point (BPS)” is: Basis – /ˈbeɪsɪs/Point – /pɔɪnt/BPS – /biː piː ɛs/

Key Takeaways

  1. Definition: Basis Point (BPS) is a common unit of measure in finance for interest rates and other percentages. It is equal to 1/100th of 1%, or 0.01%, and is used to represent the percentage change in a financial product.
  2. Usage: Basis Points are mainly used in the context of interest rates, credit scores, and the profitability of investment funds. Investors, lenders, and borrowers frequently use basis points to express quantities that are too small to be practical when expressed in percentages.
  3. Advantages: The use of Basis Points reduces the possibility of confusion in communications about percentages, especially in the case of small numbers. They provide a clearer picture about changes in percentages and also enable more precise calculation and interpretation of changes in interest rates or yields.


Basis Points (BPS) are a crucial concept in business and finance as they provide a standard measure of interest rates and other percentages that are vital for financial operations and decisions. A basis point is one-hundredth of a percentage point (0.01%). This term is important due to its use in expressing variations in yields or rates without the need to use decimal places. Since it’s a finer measure, it helps to avoid confusion when discussing changes in interest rates, yields, or spreads across investments, bonds, credit markets, mortgage-backed securities, etc. Understanding and utilizing basis points allows investors, brokers, and financial institutions to accurately calculate, communicate and interpret changes in financial proportions or values, thus contributing to better decision making in financial management.


Basis Points, abbreviated as BPS, are frequently used in contexts of finance and business for measuring and conveying small changes in rates or percentages, including interest and exchange rates, as well as financial derivatives. The precise measurement they provide makes them invaluable instruments for financial professionals and investors, when assessing the impact of small alterations. A single basis point equals 0.01%, so when discussing changes in these rates, a change of 50 BPS, for instance, would signify a 0.5% change. The purpose of basis points can be illustrated through their use in the field of bonds and fixed-income investments. Here, BPS are utilized for pricing and yield details. When a bond’s yield changes, it’s conveyed via BPS. For example, if a bond yield progresses from 5.00% to 5.50%, it’s said to have increased by 50 BPS. The term is also employed in the realm of loans and mortgages where even marginal interest rate changes can have a significant financial impact over time. Therefore, being able to accurately track and communicate these changes becomes crucial, further emphasizing the usage of BPS. Thus, basis points serve to provide clarity, precision, and simplicity in financial analysis and decision-making.


1. Mortgage Rates: Lenders often use basis points when setting the interest rate for a mortgage. For instance, if a lender offers a mortgage rate of 3.5% and increases it by 25 basis point, the new interest rate would be 3.75%. 2. Bond Yields: Basis points are frequently utilized in the bond market. If a government bond yield moves from 2.0% to 2.5%, this would represent an increase of 50 basis points. 3. Central Bank Monetary Policy: When central banks set interest rates, they often do so with basis points. For example, if the Federal Reserve decides to raise its key interest rate by 25 basis points from 1.50% to 1.75%, this indicates a tightening in monetary policy.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is a Basis Point (BPS)?
A Basis Point (BPS) is a common unit of measurement used in finance to describe the percentage change in a financial instrument. 1 basis point is the equivalent of 0.01%, or one-hundredth of a percent.
Where is the term Basis Point (BPS) used?
The term is commonly used in finance and business where small changes in interest rates, equity indexes, and fixed-income security yields can have significant implications. It’s used in fields like banking, investing, and trading.
Why do we use Basis Points (BPS) instead of percentage rates?
Basis Points are used because they avoid confusion when discussing percentage changes. They offer more granularity and precision, which is especially helpful when dealing with small percentages.
How do I convert Basis Points to percentages?
Converting basis points into a percentage is pretty straightforward. One basis point is equal to 0.01%. So, for instance, 50 BPS would be equal to 0.50%.
How can BPS affect my investments?
Any change in the interest rates or yield of an investment, even small ones, can significantly affect your investments. For instance, a change of just 50 BPS in the interest rate can greatly impact the returns on your bonds or loans.
Why is it called a Basis Point?
The term ‘basis’ derives from base, meaning the base of calculation. The use of the word ‘points’ arises from the decimal point used when defining the percentage.

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