Interest is a fee paid on borrowed assets. It is the price paid for the use of borrowed money, or, money earned by deposited funds. Assets that are sometimes lent with interest include money, shares, consumer goods through hire purchase, major assets such as aircraft, and even entire factories in finance lease arrangements. The interest is calculated upon the value of the assets in the same manner as upon money.
Interest can be thought of as “rent of money”. defined as the compensation paid by the borrower of money to the lender of money. When money is deposited in a bank, interest is typically paid to the depositor as a percentage of the amount deposited; when money is borrowed, interest is typically paid to the lender as a percentage of the amount owed. The percentage of the principal that is paid as a fee over a certain period of time (typically one month or year), is called the interest rate.
Interest is compensation to the lender, for a) risk of principal loss, called credit risk; and b) forgoing other useful investments that could have been made with the loaned asset. These forgone investments are known as the opportunity cost. Instead of the lender using the assets directly, they are advanced to the borrower. The borrower then enjoys the benefit of using the assets ahead of the effort required to obtain them, while the lender enjoys the benefit of the fee paid by the borrower for the privilege. In economics, interest is considered the price of credit.
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