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Accrued Interest: Definition and Example

Accrued Interest: Definition and Example. This article delves deep into the intricate world of accrued interest, a financial concept that plays a pivotal role in investments and finance. We aim to comprehensively understand accrued interest, highlighting its nuances, calculations, and significance. By the end of this guide, you’ll have a firm grasp of accrued interest, enabling you to make informed financial decisions.

What is Accrued Interest?

Accrued interest is crucial in finance, particularly in bonds and fixed-income securities. It refers to the interest accumulated on a bond but not yet paid to the bondholder. This interest accrues over time, typically daily or monthly, and represents the interest owed to the bondholder for the period since the last interest payment.

How Accrued Interest Works

To fully grasp how accrued interest works, let’s break it down into its core components:

1. Principal Amount

The principal amount is the initial sum of money invested in a bond. It serves as the foundation for calculating accrued interest.

2. Coupon Rate

The coupon rate is the annual interest rate specified on the bond. It determines the amount of interest the bondholder will receive.

3. Accrual Period

The accrual period is the timeframe during which interest accumulates. It’s crucial to note that this period can vary, depending on the bond terms.

4. Calculation Formula

Accrued interest is calculated using a straightforward formula:

The formula involves multiplying the principal amount by the coupon rate, dividing it by the number of days in a year (365 or 360, depending on the bond’s convention), and multiplying by the accrual period in days. The result is the accrued interest.

Significance of Accrued Interest

Accrued interest holds significant implications for both investors and issuers of bonds:

For Investors

  • Income Generation: Accrued interest represents income that investors are entitled to receive. It’s a crucial component of their return on investment.
  • Tax Considerations: Investors may be required to pay taxes on accrued interest, even if they haven’t received the payment.
  • Valuation: Understanding accrued interest is essential when evaluating the current market value of a bond.

For Issuers

  • Obligation: Issuers are obligated to pay accrued interest to bondholders. Failing to do so can lead to legal and financial consequences.
  • Financial Reporting: Accrued interest must be accurately recorded in financial statements.

Accrued Interest in Different Investments

Accrued interest is not limited to bonds. It also applies to other fixed-income securities and financial instruments. Some examples include:

  • Certificates of Deposit (CDs): CDs also accrue interest, paid out at regular intervals.
  • Mortgage-Backed Securities (MBS): MBS investors receive accrued interest from the underlying mortgage payments.


In conclusion, accrued interest is a fundamental concept in finance and investments. It represents the interest that accumulates on bonds and other fixed-income securities, and it plays a crucial role in determining the income for investors and the financial obligations of issuers. By understanding the mechanics of accrued interest and its calculation, you can make informed decisions in finance. We hope this comprehensive guide has provided valuable insights into this important financial concept.

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