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When it comes to getting a loan, understanding your APR is key. But what is APR? And how can you make sure you’re getting the best rate on your loan? This beginner’s guide will teach you everything you need to know about APR, so you can be an informed borrower.

What is APR?

Annual percentage rate (APR) is the annual rate charged for borrowing or earned through an investment, and is expressed as a percentage that represents the actual yearly cost of funds over the term of a loan. This includes any fees or additional costs associated with the transaction.

How to Calculate APR

To calculate APR, take the interest rate and add any fees paid to get the loan, then annualize that number. For example, if you have a loan with a 5% interest rate and you pay 1% in fees to get the loan, your APR would be 6%. This means that you would pay 6% interest on the loan each year.

Importance of Knowing Your APR

APR is important because it allows you to compare different loans from different lenders. It is also a good way to compare different types of loans, such as credit cards, mortgages, and personal loans. By knowing the APR of a loan, you can calculate how much interest you will pay over the life of the loan.

How to Get a Low APR

There are a few things you can do to get a lower APR. One is to shop around and compare rates from different lenders. Another is to have a good credit score, which will help you qualify for the best rates. Finally, you can try to negotiate with your lender for a lower rate.

Getting a Good APR for Car Loans

The definition of a good APR can vary depending on what your credit score is. The average interest rate when buying a new car with a credit score of 800 is 2.34%, but the average rate for a new car with a credit score of 550 is 11.03%.

Read more about what a good APR for a car is in this article. (link to what is a good APR for car article)

APR in Banking

An APR is also used in banking. The term can refer to the interest rate paid on deposits and the interest rate charged on loans. In both cases, APR is the annualized interest rate.

For example, if you have a savings account that pays 1% interest and you keep your money in the account for one year, your APR would be 1%. However, if you have a credit card with a 20% APR and you only make minimum monthly payments, your APR would be much higher because you would only be paying on the principal and not the interest.

APR can also refer to the interest rate paid on certificates of deposit (CDs). CDs are savings accounts that typically pay higher interest rates than regular savings accounts. The APR on a CD is the interest rate that you earn on your deposit over the life of the CD.

Learn more about APR in banking in this article. 

Fixed vs. Variable APR

APR can be either fixed or variable. Fixed APR means that the interest rate will not change over the life of the loan. Variable APR means that the interest rate can change, typically in response to changes in the prime rate. A prime rate is the interest rate that banks charge their most creditworthy customers.

For example, if you have a credit card with a variable APR and the prime rate goes up, your interest rate will also go up. However, if the prime rate goes down, your interest rate will usually go down as well.

Fixed-rate loans are typically better if the interest rates are low, because you will not have to worry about them going up. Variable-rate loans are typically better if the interest rates are high, because you may be able to get a lower rate if the rates go down.

Learn more about the variable APR here.

Is APR Monthly or Yearly?

APR is an annual percentage rate. On a credit card, this is an annualized rate that gets applied to your account monthly. 

Learn more about the details of APR in this article. 

How Can CreditAssociates Help?

If you are struggling with debt, CreditAssociates can help. We are a leading debt relief company that has helped thousands of people reduce their debt by up to half or more. We offer a free consultation to see if our program is right for you. Call us at 1-800-983-6693 today to learn more.

Common Questions About APR:

How do I explain APR?

The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is the annual rate charged for borrowing or earned through an investment. It’s expressed as a percentage that represents the actual yearly cost of funds over the term of a loan.

What is the difference between APR and APY?

The annual percentage rate (APR) is the annual rate charged for borrowing, while the annual percentage yield (APY) is the annual return on an investment.

Is APR compounded annually?

No, APR is not compounded annually. An annual percentage rate (APR) is the yearly cost of credit, represented as a percentage of the loan balance. The APR includes the interest rate and any other fees charged by the lender.

Is APR simple or compound interest?

APR is considered simple interest as it only considers the fees and additional costs of a loan but does not consider any compounding interest. Compounding interest on a loan is when the interest is applied to the principal balance, and then any subsequent interest is applied to that new balance—including the interest already accrued.