What is interest?

Interest is a payment from a bank account, credit card or loan, that builds up over a set period of time. Interest can be accrued (earned) by an account like a term deposit, and paid to you in a sum at the end of a specific term. Interest is also added to loan repayments as a charge for using the funds of the lender. Find out more about our interest rates and how they can benefit you.

Interest earned vs. interest paid

Interest can be divided into two different types: interest earned and interest paid.

Interest earned

Interest that is gained over a period of time is known as interest earned. Usually earned on personal accounts, interest earned is an incentive for account owners to continue to place their money in a particular account. The amount of interest you earn depends on the type of account and interest rate.

Savings accounts

Offering you the ability to achieve your savings goals faster, savings accounts can come with introductory interest rates for the first few months of the account being opened or bonus interest if you meet certain conditions. Interest is calculated based on the amount of funds in the account. The greater the sum of the funds in the account, the more interest you gain. Discover our savings account options to choose the right savings account for your lifestyle.

Term deposits

Term deposits are a more attractive option if you’re looking to maximise your funds and your savings. Offering fixed, but higher, interest rates, a term deposit offers larger gains from interest rates. The interest rate differs based on factors such as term length and the sum deposited into the account. Find out why NAB Term Deposits are a great option if you’re looking to increase your savings but don’t need immediate or daily access to your money.

Interest paid

Unlike interest earned on personal accounts, interest paid works the opposite way: with you paying interest that is accrued. Interest paid is generally associated with products such as loans and credit cards. In this case the interest rate to be paid is a charge associated with borrowing the funds for the loan or the credit card. The interest rate will also change based on the product itself and the terms of the product.

Credit card interest

The interest rate that you have to pay on credit cards is a service fee for borrowing the funds on the card. The interest rate you pay depends on the type of card you choose. There is also a minimum monthly repayment and usually an annual card fee. With many types of credit cards available it can be difficult to find the right credit card for your needs. Our helpful credit card comparison tool can assist you in making an informed choice when looking for a credit card. Find out more about credit card interest and how to avoid it.

Credit cards with no interest

Not all credit cards charge their user interest. Our StraightUp credit card is interest free. This is done by limiting the amount you can borrow on the card, and having a fixed monthly fee for its use. This fee is also reversed if, during the statement period, you make no purchases and have no outstanding balance on the card.

Home loans

A home loan interest rate is used to calculate the amount interest of that you’re charged for borrowing money from a lender. The lower the interest rate, the less interest you’re likely to pay over the life of your loan. Home loans offer both fixed and variable interest rate options for you to consider:

  • Fixed rate – fixed interest rates are where the interest rate stays the same for a period of time.
  • Variable rate – the interest rate changes as we adjust our own interest rates. This gives you increased flexibility regarding the loan.

Find out more about the benefits of fixed and variable interest rates and how they can impact your home loan repayments.

Personal loans

Much like a home loan, personal loan interest rates are available in fixed and variable forms and are paid over the life of the personal loan. When making the choice to get a personal loan it’s important that you make an informed decision. To determine the right loan for your goals and lifestyle, read our guide on personal loan interest rates and terms explained.

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