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Annual Equivalent Rate (AER): Definition, Formula, and Examples

Photo: Annual Equivalent Rate Photo: Annual Equivalent Rate

How much does the Annual Equivalent Rate (AER) cost?

A savings account’s or investment product’s interest rate with several compounding periods is the annual equivalent rate (AER). The next interest payment will be based on the slightly higher account balance, as any interest paid is assumed to be included in the principal payment’s amount for calculating AER.

According to the AER technique, interest may compound many times each year depending on how frequently interest payments are made. The annual percentage yield (APY) or effective annual interest rate (AER) are other names for the same term. The AER, or effective rate, is the compounded interest rate that an investor would get for a loan, investment, or other product. The ROI—the real return of the investment based on compounding, which is higher than the advertised, or nominal, interest rate—is revealed to investors by the AER.

Assuming that interest is calculated—or compounded—more frequently than once annually, the AER will be more than the declared interest rate. The difference between the two will increase with the number of compounding periods. Investors can evaluate the AER for various banking products to see whether savings accounts or other investment vehicles offer the greatest returns.

Methods for Calculating AER
AER is determined by:

Divide the specified interest rate by the number of times interest is compounded (paid) annually, then add one.
Increase the outcome to the number of times interest is paid (compounded) annually.
From the final result, deduct one.
In percentage form (%), the AER is shown.

AER illustration

Take a look at AER for bonds and savings accounts.

Concerning a Savings Account

Consider a scenario where a shareholder wants to sell every security in their portfolio and deposit the wholesale price into a savings account. Depending on the greatest rate available, the investor must choose between depositing the money in Bank A, B, or C. The reported interest rate for Bank A is 3.7%, and it is paid yearly. While Bank C’s reported interest rate is 3.7% and pays interest semi-annually, Bank B’s quoted interest rate of 3.65% pays interest quarterly.

As a result, Bank A’s yearly equivalent rate would be 3.7%, or (1 + (0.037 / 1))1 – 1. Even though Bank B is compounded quarterly, its AER of 3.7% = (1 + (0.0365 / 4))4 – 1 is the same as Bank A’s. Therefore, it wouldn’t matter to the investor whether they put their money in Bank A or B.

On the other hand, Bank C charges the same interest rate as Bank A but only pays interest every two years. THEREFORE, the AER of Bank C is higher than the AER of the other two banks at 3.73%. It works out to (1 + (0.037 / 2))2 – 1 = 3.73%.

Using a Bond

Consider a General Electric bond for a moment. General Electric now provides a semiannual noncallable coupon with a 4% coupon rate that expires on December 15, 2023. The 4% coupon rate multiplied by two yearly coupons gives the bond’s nominal, or stated rate, of 8%. However, the fact that interest is paid twice a year results in a higher annual equivalent rate. (1+ (0.04 / 2))2 – 1 = 8.16% is the formula used to get the bond’s AER.

Compared to stated interest, the annual equivalent rate

Compounding is considered by the AER but not by the advertised interest rate. If there are many compounding periods, the quoted rate will often be lower than the AER. Using AER, one may assess which banks have better rates and which investments would be more alluring.

The AER’s benefits and drawbacks
Because it considers compounding effects, AER has the major benefit of being the true interest rate. It is also a valuable tool for investors since it enables them to assess bonds, loans, or accounts and determine their actual return on investment (ROI).

Sadly, the AER is frequently omitted when investors compare various investment possibilities. Investors are responsible for doing the math to determine the amount. Additionally, it’s crucial to remember that AER excludes any expenses associated with buying or selling the investment. Additionally, there are restrictions on compounding itself; the highest rate is continuous compounding.

Unique Considerations

One method for calculating interest on interest, known as compounding, is the annual effective rate (AER). Compounding is adding interest to a deposit’s or loan’s principle by earning or paying it on top of earlier interest. Investors may increase their profits by using compounding, which enables them to generate new revenue based on the interest they have previously accrued. Warren Buffett once remarked, “My wealth has come from a combination of living in America, some lucky genes, and compound interest.” Compound interest is considered humankind’s greatest innovation by Albert Einstein.

You want to reduce the consequences of compounding while taking out loans or borrowing money. On the other hand, all investors want to increase the compounding rate on their holdings. Financial organizations frequently quote interest rates that make use of compounding principles. Understanding AER can help you determine the interest rate you are obtaining as a consumer.

Where Can I Find an Online AER Calculator?

The websites Calculator Soup, Get Calc, and Omni Calculator are just a few of the many online resources that provide AER calculators.

How Do You Define a Nominal Interest Rate?

The nominal interest rate is the loan’s advertised or stated interest rate, excluding fees or interest compounding. The nominal interest rate is stated in the loan contract without accounting for compounding. This is the actual interest rate once the compounding adjustment has been performed.

How Do Real Interest Rates Work?

Real interest rates are interest rates that have been lowered to account for inflation. In the case of a loan (and a borrower), real interest rates indicate the real cost of money, while for an investment, they reflect the real return (or ROI). Calculating the real interest rate on an investment involves dividing the nominal interest rate by the inflation rate.


  • The real interest rate that a loan, investment, or savings account will provide after compounding is the annual equivalent rate (AER).
  • AER is sometimes called the annual percentage yield (APY) or the effective annual interest rate (EAIR).
  • If there is more than one compounding period yearly, the AER will be larger than the stated or nominal rate.

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