What is Compound Interest?
Compound Interest is the incremental interest earned on the original principal (or deposit amount) and the accrued interest from prior periods.
 What is Compound Interest?
 How to Calculate Compound Interest?
 Compound Interest Chart
 Compound Interest Formula
 Compound Interest vs. Simple Interest: What is the Difference?
 Compound Interest Rate Calculator — Excel Template
 1. Investment Interest Rate Assumptions
 2. Future Value Calculation Example (Excel FV Function)
 3. Compound Interest Rate Calculation Example
How to Calculate Compound Interest?
In finance, compound interest stems from growth in the principal amount from the accumulation of interest, resulting in more interest being received (i.e. “interest on interest”).
Conceptually, the notion of compound interest can be described as earning “interest on interest.”
Here, interest is earned on two components:
 Original Principal: Initial Amount Invested, Borrowed, or Lent
 Accumulated Interest: Interest from Earlier Periods (i.e. “Interest on Interest”)
The accumulated interest is added to the principal amount, which subsequently determines the interest amount in the next period in a continuous cycle until the end of the term.
Therefore, even with a lowinterest rate, the effects of compounding can cause the principal to grow substantially over a long time horizon.
Compound Interest Chart
Compounding is a central piece of the decisionmaking process by investors, borrowers, and lenders.
The rate at which the compounding effects on interest accumulate is a function of the frequency of compounding periods.
The greater the number of compounding periods, the greater the effects (i.e. the “snowball effect”).
Compounding Frequency  Compounding Periods (n)  Periodic Rate (r) 

Annual Compounding 


SemiAnnual Compounding 


Quarterly Compounding 


Monthly Compounding 


Daily Compounding 


Compound Interest Formula
The formula for calculating the future value of an interestearning financial instrument with the effects of compounding is shown below:
Where:
 PV = Present Value
 r = Interest Rate (%)
 t = Term in Years
 n = Number of Compounding Periods
The number of compounding periods is equal to the term in years multiplied by the corresponding factor.
 Daily Compounding: 365x Per Year
 Monthly Compounding: 12x Per Year
 Quarterly Compounding: 4x Per Year
 SemiAnnual Compounding: 2x Per Year
 Annual Compounding: 1x Per Year
If we subtract the present value (PV) from the future value (FV), the impact of compounding interest can be isolated.
Learn More → Online Compounding Interest Calculator (SEC)
Compound Interest vs. Simple Interest: What is the Difference?
Unlike simple interest, “compound” interest is based on the principal amount plus any accrued interest.
In each compounding period, the interest accrued in the previous period is rolledforward into the current period and increases the principal amount.
By contrast, the accumulated interest is not added to the principal in simple interest calculations. Instead, simple interest is calculated off of the original principal amount.
Where:
 PV = Present Value
 r = Interest Rate (%)
 t = Term in Years
PIK Interest Concept
PIK interest, or “paid in kind” interest, is another variation to be aware of.
Here, the interest expense accrues to the ending principal, rather than being paid out in cash in the current period (i.e. “interest on interest”).
But while the borrower can delay the owed payment, the effects of compounding cause the principal balance that must be paid at maturity to increase in value.
Compound Interest Rate Calculator — Excel Template
We’ll now move to a modeling exercise, which you can access by filling out the form below.
1. Investment Interest Rate Assumptions
Suppose you’ve decided to deposit $100,000 into a bank account.
If we assume the annual interest rate (r) is 5% and the deposit was left untouched for 10 years, the compounding frequency determines how much the original $100,000 is worth in the future.
 Interest Rate (r) = 5%
 Present Value (PV) = $100,000
 Term (t) = 10 Years
2. Future Value Calculation Example (Excel FV Function)
The “FV” Excel function can be used to calculate how much your $100,000 deposit is now worth after 10 years.
Where:
 rate = Interest Rate (%)
 nper = Term in Years x Number of Compounding Periods
 pmt = 0
 pv = – Present Value (Principal)
Since the $100,000 was an outflow from your perspective (i.e. an investment), it should be entered as a negative figure.
3. Compound Interest Rate Calculation Example
Under each scenario, the future value (FV) of the $100,000 deposit and the percentage change compared to the original value is shown below:
 Annual Compounding: $162,899 (62.9%)
 SemiAnnual Compounding: $163,862 (63.9%)
 Quarterly Compounding: $164,362 (64.4%)
 Monthly Compounding: $164,701 (64.7%)
 Daily Compounding: $164,866 (64.9%)
The deposit earns the difference between the future value (FV) and the present value (PV).
 Annual: $162,899 – $100,000 = $62,899
 SemiAnnual: $163,862 – $100,000 = $63,862
 Quarterly: $164,362 – $100,000 = $64,362
 Monthly: $164,701 – $100,000 = $64,701
 Daily: $164,866 – $100,000 = $64,866
For instance, if the compounding frequency is monthly, your $100,000 deposit has grown to $164,701, netting a total of $64,701 in interest after 10 years.
To reiterate from earlier, the more frequently that interest is compounded, the more interest is earned, as our compound interest model confirms.