Close this search box.

Table of Contents

Interest Rate Floor


An interest rate floor is a financial contract between two parties that sets a minimum base rate of interest for a specified period of time. It is typically used in variable-rate loan agreements to protect the lender or investor from a decline in interest rates. Essentially, it guarantees that the interest earned will not fall below a certain specified minimum level.


The phonetic pronunciation of the keyword “Interest Rate Floor” is:In-trist Rayt Floor

Key Takeaways

  1. Interest Rate Floor Definition: An interest rate floor is a contractual agreement in the financial market where one party will pay the other if interest rates fall below a decided level or the floor rate. It’s utilized primarily in hedging risk associated with floating interest rates.
  2. Functionality: The function of an interest rate floor is for protection against declining interest rates. It sets a lower limit to interest rates for the holder on income-generating securities. When the actual interest rates fall, the holder gets paid for the difference between the ‘floor’ and the actual rate.
  3. Risk Factors: While an interest rate floor offers protection against the dip in interest rates, it’s important to consider that there’s financial risk if the counterparty defaults on their obligation. Investors should also consider the costs associated with the setup of such a derivative, and whether the protection it offers is worth the cost.


An interest rate floor is an essential business/finance term, as it sets a minimum interest amount that can be charged on a floating-rate loan, acting as a safety net for lenders and investors. By establishing a fixed lower limit, it ensures a guaranteed return on investments despite any potential falls in market interest rates. Therefore, it provides lenders and investors with a degree of protection against market fluctuations or adverse changes in economic conditions. It’s particularly crucial in risk management strategy for mitigating the uncertainties associated with variable interest rate products. Additionally, it plays a significant role in complex financial instruments like interest rate swaps or floating rate notes (FRNs), impacting their valuation and cost structure.


The purpose of an interest rate floor in the realm of finance and business is much like a safeguard that provides protection to investors from potential drops in interest rates. An interest rate floor refers to the predetermined minimum limit set to secure against the fluctuations in the variable interest rates. Mostly used in derivative contracts and loan agreements, this predetermined lower boundary ensures that regardless of how much the market interest rate may decrease, the rate for the contract or loan will not fall below the set floor. This allows the holder of the contract or the lender to have a minimum level of interest returns, thereby reducing the risk involved in potential interest rate reductions.Moreover, an interest rate floor provides businesses with predictability regarding their cost of borrowing. In the context of a loan agreement, if a business has agreed on an interest rate floor with a lender, then the business is safeguarded from increases in interest expenses that would be associated with falling market interest rates. Therefore, the interest rate floor is used as a tool for managing interest rate risk by creating a boundary for the variability of interest payments. Similarly, in derivative markets, floors are used in conjunction with interest rate swaps to ensure minimum returns and provide a hedge against low-interest rate environments. Thus, an interest rate floor serves as a risk management tool, offering financial protection and predictability.


1. Adjustable-Rate Mortgages (ARMs): In this scenario, the borrower and the lender can agree upon an interest rate floor which sets a minimum limit to how low the interest rate on the mortgage can drop. For example, if you have an adjustable-rate mortgage with a floor of 3%, your interest rate won’t go below that even if market rates fall drastically.2. Savings and Checking Accounts: Banks may also set an interest rate floor on savings and checking accounts. For example, a bank might guarantee a minimum interest rate of 0.5% on their savings account. No matter how much the Federal Reserve lowers its rates, the rate on this savings account will not fall below this floor.3. Business Loans: Lenders often put a floor on small business loans. If a business took out a loan with a variable rate of 5.5% and a 4% floor, even if the index rate falls below 4%, the rate for the business loan will never go below 4%. This is beneficial for the lender because it guarantees a minimum return on the loan.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is an Interest Rate Floor?

An interest rate floor is a contractual provision or agreement which guarantees a minimum rate of interest for a specific investment or loan. It’s often utilised in floating rate debt facilities as a safety measure to protect lenders from declining interest rates.

How does an Interest Rate Floor work?

The floor operates as a protective barrier for lenders in an agreement. If market interest rates fall below the floor rate, the borrower still pays the interest based on the floor rate, thus securing the lender’s income.

Can you give an example of an Interest Rate Floor?

For instance, if a loan agreement includes a 5% interest rate floor and the market rate is 4%, the borrower will still be liable for interest at 5%. If the market rate increases to 6%, the borrower would pay 6% interest.

Is an Interest Rate Floor the same as a collar?

No, they’re different. A floor sets a lower limit for rates, while a collar sets both an upper cap and a lower floor, ensuring rates stay within a certain range.

What is the difference between Interest Rate Floor and Interest Rate Ceiling?

An interest rate floor protects the lenders by providing a minimum interest rate. On the contrary, an interest rate ceiling, or cap, protects the borrower by setting a maximum interest rate chargeable by the lender.

Who commonly uses Interest Rate Floors?

Banks and other financial institutions commonly use interest rate floors in their loan agreements to safeguard their profits. Additionally, bond investors may also use them to secure a minimum return on their investments.

How is the floor rate determined?

The interest rate floor is set through negotiation between the borrower and the lender at the inception period of the loan. It is typically established relative to a benchmark such as the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR).

Are there any potential drawbacks or risks of Interest Rate Floors?

While the interest rate floor protects the lender from falling rates, it might deter potential borrowers when market rates are substantially below the floor. Also, it could hinder the lender in times of rising market interest rates if they have set the floor rate too low.

Why would someone want to use an Interest Rate Floor?

Lenders use interest rate floors to guarantee a certain level of returns on their loans, providing protection against periods of declining interest rates. This ensures consistent profitability for lenders in different market scenarios.

Related Finance Terms

Sources for More Information

About Our Editorial Process

At Due, we are dedicated to providing simple money and retirement advice that can make a big impact in your life. Our team closely follows market shifts and deeply understands how to build REAL wealth. All of our articles undergo thorough editing and review by financial experts, ensuring you get reliable and credible money advice.

We partner with leading publications, such as Nasdaq, The Globe and Mail, Entrepreneur, and more, to provide insights on retirement, current markets, and more.

We also host a financial glossary of over 7000 money/investing terms to help you learn more about how to take control of your finances.

View our editorial process

About Our Journalists

Our journalists are not just trusted, certified financial advisers. They are experienced and leading influencers in the financial realm, trusted by millions to provide advice about money. We handpick the best of the best, so you get advice from real experts. Our goal is to educate and inform, NOT to be a ‘stock-picker’ or ‘market-caller.’ 

Why listen to what we have to say?

While Due does not know how to predict the market in the short-term, our team of experts DOES know how you can make smart financial decisions to plan for retirement in the long-term.

View our expert review board

About Due

Due makes it easier to retire on your terms. We give you a realistic view on exactly where you’re at financially so when you retire you know how much money you’ll get each month. Get started today.

Due Fact-Checking Standards and Processes

To ensure we’re putting out the highest content standards, we sought out the help of certified financial experts and accredited individuals to verify our advice. We also rely on them for the most up to date information and data to make sure our in-depth research has the facts right, for today… Not yesterday. Our financial expert review board allows our readers to not only trust the information they are reading but to act on it as well. Most of our authors are CFP (Certified Financial Planners) or CRPC (Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor) certified and all have college degrees. Learn more about annuities, retirement advice and take the correct steps towards financial freedom and knowing exactly where you stand today. Learn everything about our top-notch financial expert reviews below… Learn More