What is a Daily Factor?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

In finance, the daily factor is an expression of the amount of annual interest earned in a single day on an account. It is given in the form of a decimal, determined by dividing the annual percentage yield (APY) by 365. While this number is very small, it is still meaningful, especially in the case of very large accounts, where significant amounts of interest can be earned in a single day due to the sheer size of the account. People can also calculate monthly interest earnings with the use of this number.

People can calculate monthly interest earnings with the use of a daily factor.
People can calculate monthly interest earnings with the use of a daily factor.

For some types of financial products, the daily factor may be discussed in the account disclosures provided when people purchase the financial product. Typically the disclosures will list the APY first, so people know how much should be earned in a year, and then break down the APY to provide information about the daily factor and other variables that may be of interest to investors. Government securities like bonds that earn interest usually come with a disclosure of the daily factor for the convenience of investors.

Banks and other institutions typically do not calculate interest earnings every day, as this would be time consuming. Instead, interest payments are based on a particular time period, such as the first through the last day of the month. With certain types of accounts, however, the daily factor may be used to generate daily interest earnings. This can be common with large accounts and specialty financial products.

Even when the daily factor is not disclosed, it can be very easily calculated, and people may consider it when weighing decisions about the purchase of financial products. Understanding when interest is applied to an investment can also play a role in the decision-making process. It is also important to be aware that the daily factor can change on accounts with fluctuating interest rates, and may be trickier to accurately account for in these circumstances.

People with loans and credit accounts can look at the daily factor in reverse, examining how much of the annual percentage rate (APR) on the account they pay each day. This is determined by dividing the APR by 365. This number is used in interest rate calculations at the end of the month when interest is added to issue the bill. People can see how carrying less debt on the account through a billing cycle will result in lower interest payments.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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