Compound interest is a financial phenomenon that wields the incredible power of exponential growth, transforming small sums of money into substantial fortunes over time. Unlike simple interest, which only calculates interest on the initial principal amount, compound interest continuously accrues interest on both the principal and the accumulated interest. This compounding effect creates a snowball effect, causing the investment to grow at an accelerating rate.

## What is compound interest?

Compound interest refers to the process where interest is calculated not only on the initial principal amount but also on the accumulated interest of previous periods. Essentially, it means earning interest on interest. As time progresses, the amount of interest earned increases, accelerating the growth of the investment or debt. Compound interest is often used in savings accounts, investments, and loans. The frequency of compounding, such as annually, quarterly, or daily, affects the total interest accrued. Over time, compound interest can lead to substantial growth in savings or significant increases in debt if not managed carefully.

## How is compound interest calculated?

To understand how compound interest works, let us break it down into its key components:

**Principal amount (P):**The amount of money borrowed or invested.**Interest rate (r):**The rate at which interest is charged.**Time (t):**Tenure for which the interest is calculated, often measured in years.**Compounding periods (n):**The frequency at which the interest is calculated.

**Compound interest formula**

Compound interest is calculated using the following formula:

### A = P(1 + r/n)^(nt)

Where:

A = the future value of the investment/loan

P = the principal amount

r = the annual interest rate

n = the number of times that interest is compounded per year

t = the number of years

**Example of compound interest**

Compound interest plays a crucial role in financial growth. Here is the compound interest example, if you invest 1,00,000 INR at a 6% annual interest rate, your returns would be 1,06,000 INR after the first year. In the second year, you earn 6% on the new total, compounding your returns for accelerated financial growth.

**Pros and Cons of compound interest**

**Pros:**

**Accelerated growth:** Compound interest allows investments to grow faster over time due to the compounding effect.

**Passive income:** It generates passive income as interest earned is reinvested, leading to potential wealth accumulation.

**Long-term benefits:** Compound interest rewards long-term investors by multiplying their initial investment significantly.

**Financial goals:** It helps individuals achieve financial goals, such as retirement savings or funding education, by maximizing returns.

**Cons:**

**Debt accumulation:** Compound interest can lead to significant debt burdens if not managed properly.

**Losses:** In investment, compounding can amplify losses during market downturns.

**Time dependency:** Compound interest requires time to work effectively, so late starts may limit its benefits.

**Inflation risk:** Inflation can erode the real value of compounded returns over time, especially if interest rates are low.

**Compound interest in loans**

**Principal:**Initial loan amount borrowed.**Interest Rate:**Annual percentage charged by the lender.**Time:**Duration of the loan.**Compound Frequency:**Frequency at which interest is compounded (e.g., annually, monthly).**Compound Interest Formula:**A = P(1 + r/n)^(nt), where A is the total amount, P is the principal, r is the interest rate, n is the number of times interest compounds per time period, and t is the time in years.**Total Payment:**Sum of principal and interest.**Accrued Interest:**Interest accumulated over time.**Amortization Schedule:**Payment breakdown over the loan term.**Annual Percentage Rate (APR):**Includes interest plus fees.**Effective Interest Rate:**Actual rate including compounding.

**Compound interest in investments**

**Principal**: Initial investment amoun.**Interest Rate**: Annual percentage return earned on the investment.**Time**: Duration of the investment period.**Compounding Frequency**: How often interest is added to the principal (e.g., annually, quarterly).**Compound Interest Formula**: A = P(1 + r/n)^(nt), where A is the total amount, P is the principal, r is the interest rate, n is the number of times interest is compounded per time period, and t is the time in years.**Total Value**: Sum of principal and interest.**Accrued Interest**: Interest earned over the investment period.**Growth Rate**: Rate at which the investment grows over time.**Dividend Reinvestment**: Reinvesting dividends to increase the principal.**Long-Term Wealth Accumulation**: Harnessing compound interest for financial growth over extended periods.

**Online compound interest calculators**

Online compound interest calculators simplify financial planning. Bajaj Finance Limited is offering a user-friendly online compound interest calculator on its website. Input your principal, interest rate, and time, and the calculators swiftly compute compound interest, aiding in informed decisions about investments or loans. They provide quick, accurate results for effective financial management.

## What is the difference between simple interest and compound interest?

**Definition:**

- Simple interest is calculated only on the principal amount of money borrowed or invested. It does not consider any interest that has already been earned or charged.
- Compound interest considers not only the initial principal amount but also the accumulated interest from previous periods. It involves interest on interest, resulting in a compounding effect over time.

### Frequency:

- Simple interest is typically used for short-term loans and investments, and the interest remains constant throughout the entire duration.
- Compound interest is commonly used for long-term investments and loans. The interest is recalculated and added to the principal at regular intervals, such as annually, semi-annually, quarterly, or monthly.

### Impact:

- The interest amount remains the same over the loan or investment term, resulting in a linear growth pattern. The total interest earned or paid does not change unless the principal, interest rate, or period is altered.
- The interest amount increases over time due to the compounding effect. As interest is added to the principal in each compounding period, the total interest earned or paid grows exponentially. Compound interest allows for significant growth in investments and may lead to a higher total repayment amount for loans.

### Formula:

- The formula for calculating simple interest is straightforward:

Interest amount(I) = P (principal) x r (interest rate) x t (time in years)

- The formula for calculating compound interest is more complex:

A = P(1 + r/n)^(nt)

**Read more: **Difference Between Simple and Compound Interest

Compound interest is widely used in various financial instruments, such as savings accounts, certificates of deposit (CDs), bonds, loans, and investments. Borrowers may end up paying more interest on a loan than they initially borrowed due to the compounding effect.

If you are looking to calculate your loan EMI amount, we suggest using a personal loan EMI calculator instead of doing it manually. You simply have to enter the loan amount, period, and interest rate.