Anyone who has purchased a home, bought a car or taken out a time repayment loan has come across these three letters, A. P. R. (Annual Percentage Rate), and probably have come away scratching their head trying to make sense of what it actually means.
Wikipedia defines it as so:
The nominal APR is calculated as: the rate, for a payment period, multiplied by the number of payment periods in a year. However, the exact legal definition of “effective APR”, or EAR in short, can vary greatly in each jurisdiction, depending on the type of fees included, such as participation fees, loan origination fees, monthly service charges, or late fees. The effective APR has been called the “mathematically-true” interest rate for each year. The computation for the effective APR, as the fee+compound interest rate, can also vary depending on whether the up-front fees, such as origination or participation fees, are added to the entire amount, or treated as a short-term loan due in the first payment. When start-up fees are paid as first payment(s), the balance due might accrue more interest, as being delayed by the extra payment period(s).
If you make sense of this, you are doing better than I. The best article I found is one from the New York Times. Though still a bit of a challenge, if you read it slowly it will make sense.
The New York Times
The lending industry has tried to make it easier for borrowers to understand the true cost of a mortgage by disclosing both its interest rate and its annual percentage rate, or A.P.R. But consumers may often wonder which figure they should focus on when buying or refinancing a property.
Reprinted from C.A.R. Market Matters.
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