APR Explained

APR Explained: Why A Lower Rate Is Your Highest Priority

How much does your credit card or loan cost you? The answer to this lies in the Annual Percentage Rate (APR). This is a universal measure used to compare the prices of different financial products such as credit cards, loans, and mortgages. To compare different credit products and loans, take a look at the APR and it will give you an idea of how much each costs. This way, you can make a better and informed decision.

What is APR and how does it work?

When applying for a loan, getting the lowest interest rate should be the highest priority. The annual percentage rate is the interest paid for a loan yearly. In the simplest terms, this is the cost of borrowing money.

The APR is shown as a percentage. It contains all the costs and fees related to the loan. The fees and costs are different depending on the type of loan you apply for. For most of the loans apart from mortgages, the fees relate to maintaining the loan and processing.

The most significant advantage offered by APR is the ability to compare loan rates. Take a credit card for example. It comes with different types of costs and fees associated with the account. With the APR, you can compare different cards easily.

The APR is required to be shown to all customers by loan issuers and credit card companies. It facilitates a good understanding of the actual loan rates applicable as per their agreement. Or credit card companies, they are allowed by law to advertise their monthly interest rates. However, they are required by law to state the APR to all customers before signing any agreement.

A loan can be offered with either a fixed or variable APR. The fixed APR loan has a fixed interest rate with a guarantee not to change during the entire life of the loan. The variable APR loan’s interest rate can change any time.

Is the lower APR better?

To put it out there, the lower the APR, the better the loan. However, when it comes to a product like mortgage, the lower APR loan might not be the best. Some mortgage loans give you a lower APR but you pay higher closing costs, higher points and other fees associated with closing the home loan.

Always go for a loan with a lower APR. This is the cost of your loan and the lower you go, the better. However, make sure to read all the details when getting a loan and ask the originator for as much information and details as possible.