# What is an Annual Percentage Rate (APR)?

The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is a **standard metric used to compare the cost of borrowing money** from different lenders. It represents the total cost of a loan, including both the interest rate and any additional fees, expressed as a yearly rate. The APR is designed to help consumers compare the total cost of loans from different lenders and make informed decisions about which loan to choose.

APR is calculated by taking into account the **interest rate, origination fees, and any other charges associated with a loan**, and then converting the sum into an annual rate. This makes it easier to compare the cost of loans with different terms and interest rates, as the APR provides a comprehensive picture of the total cost of borrowing. For example, a loan with a low interest rate but high origination fees would have a higher APR than a loan with a higher interest rate but lower fees.

APR is typically used to compare loans such as mortgages, personal loans, and credit card loans. It is also used to compare different types of loans, such as adjustable-rate mortgages and fixed-rate mortgages. When shopping for a loan, consumers should always compare the APR of each loan option in order to determine which one is the most cost-effective.

Lenders are **required by law to disclose the APR** to potential borrowers, making it easier for consumers to compare the costs of different loans. The APR must be disclosed in a standard format, using a set of rules established by the Federal Reserve Board. This ensures that consumers have access to accurate and consistent information when comparing loans.

It is important to note that the APR is not the same as the interest rate. The interest rate represents only the cost of borrowing the money, while **the APR includes the interest rate and any additional fees associated with the loan**. For example, a loan with an interest rate of 5% and an origination fee of 2% would have an APR of 7%.

In conclusion, the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is a comprehensive metric used to compare the cost of borrowing money from different lenders. By taking into account the interest rate, origination fees, and any other charges associated with a loan, the APR provides a comprehensive picture of the total cost of borrowing. When shopping for a loan, consumers should always compare the APR of each loan option in order to determine which one is the most cost-effective.

## Simplified Example

The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is like a score that shows how expensive it is to borrow money. Imagine you want to buy a toy, but you don't have enough money right now. Your parents agree to lend you the money, but they want to charge you a little bit extra, to make up for the time they won't have the money to use themselves. The APR is like a number that tells you how much extra they will charge you each year, to borrow the money. Just like a high score in a game can mean it's harder to win, a high APR means it will be more expensive to borrow the money. So, when you're choosing between different toys, or different ways to borrow money, it's important to compare the APRs to see which one is the best choice.

## History of the Term "Annual Percentage Rate (APR)"

The term "Annual Percentage Rate (APR)" was** first introduced in the United States in the 1970s**. It was developed as a standardized way to compare the interest rates offered by different financial products, such as loans, mortgages, and credit cards. Prior to APR, interest rates were often quoted in a variety of ways, making it difficult for consumers to compare the true cost of borrowing.

The Truth in Lending Act (TILA), passed in 1968, mandated that lenders disclose the APR to consumers in a clear and conspicuous manner. This was a significant step towards protecting consumers from deceptive lending practices.

## Examples

Loan Interest: The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is the cost of borrowing money, expressed as a yearly interest rate. It is typically used to compare the cost of loans from different lenders and to help consumers understand the true cost of borrowing. For example, a loan with an APR of 10% means that the borrower will pay 10% interest on the loan each year. The APR takes into account not only the interest rate, but also other fees associated with the loan, such as origination fees or prepayment penalties.

Credit Cards: APR is also used to express the cost of borrowing on credit cards. Credit card issuers are required to disclose the APR for purchases and for balance transfers, and consumers can use the APR to compare the cost of borrowing on different credit cards. For example, a credit card with an APR of 20% will charge the borrower 20% interest on any unpaid balances each year.

Mortgages: APR is also used to express the cost of borrowing on mortgages. When shopping for a mortgage, consumers can use the APR to compare the cost of different mortgage products and to determine which mortgage is the best fit for their needs. For example, a mortgage with an APR of 4% will cost the borrower 4% interest on the loan each year, plus any other fees associated with the mortgage, such as origination fees or points. By comparing the APR of different mortgages, consumers can get a better understanding of the total cost of borrowing and make informed decisions about which mortgage is right for them.