Simple vs. Compound Interest: Difference between Simple Interest and Compound Interest

Simple interest is a way to calculate interest where the main sum of the loan is multiplied by a set interest rate and divided by the number of times that interest is compounded throughout the length of the loan. Simple interest does not factor in compound interest or any other details which modify the repayment period. It works better for shorter-term loans because it only requires regular payments of interest without having to make any payments toward the principal. For longer-term loans, simple interest tends to be less desirable since compound interest accumulates faster than simple interest.

Compound interest is measured not just based on the initial principal of a loan or debt but upon the addition of all prior periods’ interest, which means that, as time passes, the total interest is paid on the loan or debt. Compound interest is generally better for the borrower than simple interest since it entails paying less principal over time. On the other hand, for the lender, compound interest is usually less profitable because lenders collect smaller amounts of principal with each passing period.

The difference between simple interest and compound interest is how the interest is calculated. Simple interest is calculated only on the principal of a loan or other type of debt, while compound interest is calculated on the principal as well as the accumulated interest of previous periods.

How to Compute Simple Interest?

Listed below are the ways how to compute simple interest.

  1. Understand Simple Interest. It’s necessary to comprehend simple interest before learning how to calculate it. Simple interest is an additional sum that pays on a loan or savings account, which is determined by the original balance and an established rate over a certain amount of time.

  2. Calculate Principal Balance. Calculating simple interest starts with the principal balance, or the initial money borrowed or deposited, which gives borrowers the exact original amount to figure out how much is due at the end of the period.

  3. Determine Interest Rate. Finding the interest rate for the borrower’s loan or savings account is the next step in calculating simple interest.

  4. Figure Out Time Periods. To accurately calculate simple interest, pay attention to how long the money is being borrowed or saved for – which determines what total interest to pay. It’s crucial to be aware of the time periods used when computing.

  5. Consider Compound Interest & inflation rates. It’s critical to take into account compound interest and potential inflation that arise between when the money was loaned and when it was repaid, When determining the amount of simple interest owed. Knowing how these variables affect repayment terms helps guide future decisions.

To calculate simple interest, borrowers must know the principal amount and interest rate as well as the length of time for the loan to be outstanding. The following is the formula for determining simple interest:

Interest = Principal x Interest Rate x Time

To apply the equation, simply fill in the corresponding numbers for the main amount, rate of interest, and duration. For instance, if a borrower borrows 00 at a 5% yearly rate for three years, the simple interest on the loan is $1000 x 0.05 x 3 = $150, which implies that throughout the three-year period, an additional $150 is paid (in addition to the original principal of $1000).

To find out the simple interest, use the formula below:

Principal = $1000 Interest Rate = 5% per year Time = 3 years

Interest = Principal x Interest Rate x Time = $1000 x 0.05 x 3 = $150

Total cost of loan = Principal + Interest = $1000 + $150 = $1150

How to Compute Compound Interest?

Listed below are the ways how to compute compound interest.

  1. Determine the Time Duration. The initial step to calculate compound interest is to figure out the duration of the investment. It’s vital to understand the timeline prior to computing, as compounded interests are accumulated over time.

  2. Understand Interest Rate and Compounding Frequency. The two main components of compound interest are the interest rate and the compounding frequency. The interest rate is the percentage rate at which a borrower receives over a period, while the compounding frequency indicates how often that rate is compounded (e.g., yearly, quarterly, monthly).

  3. Calculate Contributions. Once the borrower figures out how long the investment plan last, as well as the interest rate and the number of compounds, it’s time to figure out contributions. Contributions are usually compounded yearly or twice a year, so be aware of the schedule when computing compounds.

  4. Determine the Principal Amount. The original sum invested, plus any deposits made over the duration of the investment or loan is referred to as the principal amount. The principal amount must be factored into calculations involving compound interest to gain the most from a savings plan.

  5. Review Investment Plan & Reevaluate Regularly. Finally, it is important to review and assess one’s investments regularly, especially if there are changes along the way. With effective management and an understanding of compound returns, investors continue to increase wealth over time.

To calculate compound interest, use the formula and have the principal amount of the loan or debt, the interest rate, and the duration time it is outstanding.

Compound Interest = Principal x (1 + Interest Rate) ^ Time

To apply the formula, just exchange the applicable values for principal, interest rate, and time. As an example, take a loan of $1000 at 5% yearly interest for three years. The compound interest on the loan would be calculated as: $1000 × (1 + 0.05)^3 = $1157.63. That means that in addition to the initial principal of $1000, borrowers pay an accumulated amount of $157.63 in interest during the time span of 3 years.

Here is an example of how to calculate compound interest using the formula:

Principal = $1000 Interest Rate = 5% per year Time = 3 years

Compound Interest = Principal x (1 + Interest Rate) ^ Time = $1000 x (1 + 0.05) ^ 3 = $1157.63

Total cost of loan = Principal + Compound Interest = $1000 + $1157.63 = $2157.63

What is a Compound Interest Account?

Compound interest accounts are a type of financial account that accrues interest on the principal and any currently accumulated interest, which means that the earned interest is added to the original deposit, resulting in a higher balance for which the account begins to earn further interest. Therefore, compound interest generates more wealth gradually than simple interest, which is calculated solely on the principal balance. Such accounts are made available through savings accounts, certificates of deposit, and numerous other types of loans. Compound interest accounts are essential for helping to build long-term wealth. A compound interest account is an investment product that pays interest on the principal and pays interest on the prior accumulated interest, earning an even higher rate of return each time, which helps significantly increase the total amount of money earned over time, as well as a hedge against inflation. Compound interest accounts offer a passive way for investors to potentially earn more money than traditional savings plans, making it a great choice for longer-term investments.

What is the Main Difference of Simple and Compound Interest?

The main difference between simple and compound interest is the way in which they are calculated. With simple interest, only the initial principal is taken into account, whereas compound interest is computed on both the principal and any accrued interest. For instance, if the borrower puts $1000 into a savings account with a 5% annual simple interest rate, at the end of the year, the borrower earns $50 in interest (5% of $1000), which means the borrower’s total account balance is raised to $1050.

Keeping the same scenario of a $1000 deposit into a savings account that earns 5% compound interest each year, at the end of the proceeding year, borrowers gain $50 in interest (5% of $1000). Rather than having interest direct-deposited to the borrower’s account balance, it is deposited with the principal. Therefore after one year, the balance in the borrower’s account is $1050. It would be based on the upgraded total, which means the borrower earned $52.50 in interest (5% of $1050), which leaves a final account balance of 1102.50 after two years when calculating the interest during the second year. As is evident, a compound interest account grows more wealth over time due to it gaining interest from the initial principal as well as from all the accrued interest.

When Do Simple Interest and Compound Interest Used?

Simple interest is usually used for short-term and fixed repayment loans like a car or personal loans, as well as certain bonds. Compound interest is often applied to long-term savings and investments, such as savings accounts, certificates of deposit, and IRAs. Compound interest is found in loans like mortgages or home equity loans. Compound interest accumulates quickly, either regularly such as yearly or monthly, or continuously where the additional revenue is added to the initial sum. The more frequent the compound interest payments, the faster one’s account balance grows.

How Does Simple and Compound Interest Work?

Simple interest is calculated by multiplying the principal amount by the annual interest rate and the time period for which it was applied. Compound interest, on the other hand, is when the interest accumulates over a period of time. With compound interest, borrowers earn interest on the original principal as well as any interest paid in earlier periods. Initial investment grows over time because borrowers are constantly earning more and more interest. Compound Interest is one of the most powerful tools available to savvy investors since it allows them to rapidly accumulate large sums of money with relatively small amounts of capital initially invested. Simple and compound interest are two types of financial tools that allow to the growth of money over time. Simple interest is a fixed rate of return that is applied only to the original amount invested, while compound interest applies to all subsequent earnings as well. Compound interest helps borrower gain more from savings by letting assets earn interest on previously earned interest. As such, it offers a much better rate of return than simple interest and provides an efficient way to build wealth over time.

Which has high-Interest Value for Investment?

Compound interest generally has a higher interest rate than simple interest because borrowers gain money from the interest earned on the initial investment, as well as the earned interest over time. Compound interest is considered much more rewarding than simple interest, as it provides a larger return on investment over time in comparison to its simpler counterpart. In addition, compound interest grows over time, while simple interest remains stagnant without additional contributions or adjustments. Therefore, compound interest is usually much more valuable for investments in the long term when compared to simple interest investments.

What are the limitations of Simple Interest over Compound Interest and Vice Versa?

Simple interest is a quicker and easier system to calculate the amount of money an investor earns over a period of time. However, simple interest does not take into account the effect of compounding, which significantly increases the total return on investment. Compound interest, on the other hand, takes into account compounding, which increases the total return on investment. But because of its complex nature, compound interest is more difficult to calculate than simple interest and requires more sophisticated financial calculation techniques.

Do Banks Use Simple Interest or Compound Interest?

Banks use compound interest for loan products. Compound interest is the additional interest earned on the existing principal and accumulated interests from previous periods. However, some banks offer loans with simple interest where the accrued interest does not add to the principal balance. Simple interest applications allow borrowers to have a more predictable monthly payment but typically come at a higher overall cost since compound interest capitalizes on compounding over time.

Is Compound Interest more Used than the Simple Interest?


Yes, compound interest is far more widely used than simple interest because of its greater potential to generate returns. Compound interest takes into account the fact that an investment’s value fluctuates and generates a return based on the principal amount as well as any accumulated interest, which is reinvested each time a periodic payment is made. Compound interest not just provide a return on an original investment amount but increase in proportionality over time, whereas simple interest only provides one set rate, which only increases once the investor applies a higher rate.

Personal Finance Writer at Payday Champion

Kathy Jane Buchanan has more than 10 years of experience as an editor and writer. She currently worked as a full-time personal finance writer for PaydayChampion and has contributed work to a range of publications expert on loans. Kathy graduated in 2000 from Iowa State University with degree BSc in Finance.

Author: Kathy Jane Buchanan

Kathy Jane Buchanan has more than 10 years of experience as an editor and writer. She currently worked as a full-time personal finance writer for PaydayChampion and has contributed work to a range of publications expert on loans. Kathy graduated in 2000 from Iowa State University with degree BSc in Finance.

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