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What Is a Bank Rate? Definition And Comparison

The bank rate is the interest rate charged by a central bank on borrowings to private banks. It is often called discount rate in American English.  The bank rate is called by a variety of names based on the country, and it has evolved through time in various countries as the rate-setting procedures have evolved.

What Is a Bank Rate?

Bank rate is the interest rate that a central bank charges on the loans they extend to commercial banks. The exact terms have variations depending on the country where we use them. Private banks can borrow funds from central banks when there is a crunch of funds.

What Is a Bank Rate?

The interest rate at which a country's central bank provides loans to retail banks, usually in the form of relatively short-term lending, is known as the bank rate. A bank rate is a tool that central banks use to influence economic growth. When inflation is too high than desirable, low credit rates help to grow the market by cutting the cost of financing for debtors, while higher bank rates can help to bring in the economy. In the U. S., the bank rate is commonly referred to as the discount rate. The Federal Reserve System's Governing board determines the discount rate and bank reserve policies in the United States.

How to Determine the Bank Rate?

The supply of money in the market and the financial sector is controlled by the rate of interest set by a nation's federal or central bank on borrowings and loans. To manage inflation and stable the national currency's exchange rates, this is usually done every 4 months. Changes in bank rates can have a cascading effect because they affect every aspect of the economic growth of the country. Stock market values, for example, are prone to reacting to unanticipated interest rate fluctuations. Customers are affected by changes in bank rates since they affect prime interest rates on private loans.

What Are Types of Bank Rates?

To keep bank reserves in good health, banks take loans from the Reserve Bank. The banks taking the loans can choose from three forms of loans from the Central bank: primary, secondary, and seasonal. Depending on the type of credit given, banks have to provide the necessary paperwork. They must also demonstrate that they have enough collateral to cover the loan.

Primary credit

Banking institutions with good financial foundations are given primary credit. The credit can be used for anything, and the only criterion for borrowing money is to specify the necessary amount and the loan payback terms.

Secondary credit

Private banks that are not eligible for primary credit are given secondary credit. The rate offered is higher compared to the primary credit rate since these banks are less stable. Before extending credit, the Fed places restrictions on the funds' use and needs more paperwork. For example, the rationale for the loan and a statement of the bank's financial status are necessary, and loans are typically provided for a short period of time, often overnight.

Seasonal credit

Seasonal credit is given to banks that encounter seasonal changes in cash reserves, as the term implies. Such banks need to get a seasonal certification from their respective Central Bank and demonstrate that these fluctuations occur on a regular basis. Seasonal rates, unlike primary and secondary rates, are dependent on market prices.

What Is the Difference Between Bank Rate And Other Rates?

The discount rate, often known as the bank rate, is frequently conflated with what is known as overnight rate. Whereas the bank rate is the rate at which the reserve bank allows banks to borrow money, the overnight rate, also known as the federal funds rate, is the rate at which banks charge one another to borrow money. Banks take loans from one another to make up for reserve shortages. The bank rate is significant because it is used by private banks to determine how much they can charge their customers for borrowings.

Since the overnight rate is significantly influenced by the bank rate, it also has an impact on public lending rates. Banks offer their best, most eligible customers a rate that is nearly identical to the overnight rate while charging their other clients a slightly higher rate.

If the bank rate is 0.75 percent, for instance, banks are inclined to offer their clients lower interest rates. Banks, on the other hand, will charge customers relatively higher rates of interest if the discount rate is 12 percent or a comparable high rate.

The interest rate that a country's central bank costs other private banks to borrow cash is known as the bank rate. In reaction to economic shifts, countries adjust their bank rates to increase or contract their supply of money.

Since March 15, 2020, the discount rate in the United States has stayed steady at 0.25 percent.  The Fed cut the rate by 100 basis points in reaction to the international economic crisis. The major purpose was to keep prices stable, reduce job losses, and urge families and businesses to use financing.

How does the Bank Rate Work In Other Countries?

Different countries have different sets of rules when it comes to bank rates. The Reserve Bank of Australia establishes the bank rate, often known as the official cash rate. It is evaluated monthly by the Reserve Bank Board.

The discount rate in Brazil is known as SELIC (Special System of Liquidation and Custody). It is also referred to as the overnight rate's mean term, as determined by the Committee of Monetary Policy. Some government debt assets have interest rates that are tied to the SELIC. A spike in this rate means more profit for the company's owner.

The bank rate of Canada is described as the upper limit of the overnight rate range, which the Bank of Canada announces, reviews, and modifies if required 8 times per year, rendering it the targeted overnight rate + 0.25 percent.

Standing Facilities, that are used in the management of overnight liquidity in the eurozone, are administered by the European Central Bank. The "Marginal Lending Facility" allows eligible parties to use the Standing Facilities to boost the liquidity position for overnight payments. Surplus cash, on the other hand, can be parked and earned interest within the European Central Bank Network through the "Deposit facility."

The Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee sets bank rates in the U.K. The Bank Rate is the primary rate of interest. It's the minimum possible interest rate at which the Bank functions as a loan extender of last resort in the financial markets.

The Reserve Bank of India sets the bank rate in India. It is the flat rate at which the bank is willing to buy or re-discount negotiable instruments or other corporate bills that meet the RBI Act 1934's buying criteria. The Reserve Bank of India also offers its clientele short-term loans (with collateral) at a rate known as the repo rate. This pricing is updated on a regular basis.


We hope this guide will help you better understand what bank rate is and what its uses are. Understanding bank rates is crucial to understanding Forex markets and international economics. Team
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