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What does APY mean?

APY stands for Annual Percentage Yield. It is a measure of the total amount of interest earned on an account based on the interest rate and the frequency of compounding over a year. APY is a useful metric for comparing the annual earnings on different savings products, such as savings accounts, CDs, and money market accounts, because it standardizes the effect of compounding.

Key Points About APY

  • Includes Compounding: APY accounts for how often interest is compounded (e.g., daily, monthly, quarterly), which can significantly affect the total interest earned over time.
  • Comparison Tool: APY provides a standard way to compare the annual interest earnings of different savings products, regardless of how frequently interest is compounded.
  • Formula: The formula for calculating APY is:
    APY = (1 + r/n)^n - 1

    where r is the nominal interest rate (expressed as a decimal), and n is the number of compounding periods per year.

  • Higher APY: A higher APY indicates that you will earn more interest on your money over a year, assuming the same principal amount.


For example, if a savings account offers an interest rate of 5% compounded monthly, the APY would be higher than 5% due to the effect of monthly compounding. This makes APY a useful metric for comparing the real return on different financial products.