What is a Floating Interest Rate?
Published on : February 26, 2024

Buying a personal loan is an important financial decision that impacts us for the duration of the loan. When getting a personal loan, there are a number of factors to consider, such as loan amount, existing debt, long tenure, your ability for repayment, and type of interest, i.e. fixed and floating interest rate.

Fixed and floating, offered by banks, non-banking finance firms, and housing finance organisations. It is important to understand personal loan interest rate. Here we will discuss all things related to floating interest rates in this article.

What Is a Floating Interest Rate?

An interest rate that is subject to fluctuations based on the market or an index is the “floating rate.” Variable, flexible, or adjustable rates—otherwise known as floating interest rates—can change during the course of a loan.

Additionally, floating rates are not controlled by the parties involved; instead, they are governed by an external reference, or “benchmark.” This reference—often a standard benchmark like the prime rate—determines changes in floating interest rates for loans. In these situations, commercial institutions are only able to charge creditworthy borrowers the benchmark rate.

Floating Interest Rate vs. Fixed Interest Rate

Below are some of the differences between fixed rate and floating rate.

What Does Fixed Interest Rate and Floating Interest Rate Mean

  • Floating Interest Rate – A floating interest rate is a dynamic rate that fluctuates every quarter. Also known as variable, flexible, or adjustable interest rates, these fluctuate over the tenure of a loan. Even though it depends on the yield curve, the variability is linked to an external standard, like the prime rate, and could wind up being a more cost-effective choice for borrowers.
  • Fixed Interest Rate – A fixed interest rate, on the other hand, doesn’t change over the course of a loan. This rate protects borrowers from fluctuations in the market by giving them stability and predictability. Although fixed rates provide the advantages of regular payments, they might not profit from future drops in interest rates.

Flexibility and Risk

  • Floating Interest Rate – Provides flexibility by being able to adapt to changes in the market. If interest rates drop, borrowers stand to gain, but if they rise, they run the danger of having to make larger payments.
  • Fixed Interest Rate – Provides stability and shields borrowers from market volatility. However, borrowers may miss out on potential savings if market interest rates decline.

Cost-effectiveness over Time:

  • Floating Interest Rate – Generally more cost-effective in the long run, especially if interest rates decrease, allowing borrowers to capitalize on lower rates.
  • Fixed Interest Rate – Offers the advantage of consistent payments, providing budgetary certainty, but borrowers may miss out on paying lower EMI amounts if market interest rates decline.

Benefits of Floating Rate

Below are some of the benefits of floating interest rates.

Lower Initial Rates

Floating-rate loans often entice borrowers with lower initial interest rates compared to fixed-rate loans. This option, which offers financial flexibility throughout the early loan stages, can be very appealing to people who want to minimize their initial monthly payments. Lower initial rates can make funds more accessible and affordable for those who are budget-conscious.

Potential Savings

The possibility of long-term savings is one of the major advantages of floating-rate loans. Borrowers may go through times when interest rates drop, resulting in cheaper monthly payments, as interest rates can change according to market conditions. This possibility for savings contrasts with fixed-rate loans, which have an interest rate that stays the same for the entire duration of the loan.

No Penalty for Prepayment

Floating-rate loans may give borrowers the freedom to repay their debt early without facing penalties. This option is helpful for people who want to pay off their loan faster or who might get an unexpected windfall.

Example of a Floating Interest Rate Loan

Mr. A needs immediate funds, opting for a personal loan of ₹600,000, 25-year 5/1 ARM (Adjustable Rate Mortgage). This signifies that their loan carries a fixed interest rate, say 3%, for the initial five years. Following this period, the loan transitions to a floating interest rate, adjusting annually.

Upon entering the sixth year, their interest rate adjusts to 4.5%, reflective of the prevailing interest rate. Moving into the seventh year, there is a marginal drop in the interest rate, causing their interest rate to decrease to 4.2%. As they reach the eighth year, another decline in the interest rate leads to a further reduction in their floating interest rate, settling at 4%.

This annual fluctuation in interest rates persists until the mortgage is fully repaid or subject to refinancing, providing Mr A with a flexible payment structure.


The concept of floating interest rates offers borrowers a number of benefits. The ability to adjust to shifting market conditions is the source of flexibility. When taking a personal loan, lower initial rates tend to attract borrowers, there is always a possibility of increased costs when rates climb.

However, this risk is mitigated by the potential for long-term savings during periods of declining interest rates. Ultimately, the floating interest rate serves as a reflection of the ever-changing financial landscape, underscoring the importance of strategic financial planning and informed decision-making in managing this dynamic market.


Can I switch from a floating rate to a fixed rate during the loan term?

Ans: Borrowers might be able to switch from a floating to a fixed rate in some cases, depending on the loan terms.

How often does a floating interest rate adjust?

Ans: Although it varies, adjustments are often made regularly or yearly. In order to comprehend the adjustment schedule, borrowers should review the terms of their loans.

What factors should I consider when choosing between floating and fixed interest rates?

Ans: Consider factors like market conditions, your financial goals, and risk tolerance. While fixed rates offer stability, floating rates offer flexibility.

Is there a risk of rising interest rates with floating rates?

Ans: Yes, variable rates may rise according to changes in the market, which would increase borrowers’ monthly payments. It’s important to be aware of this risk.

Can a floating interest rate decrease over time?

Ans: Yes, if market conditions or the benchmark lead to lower interest rates, your loan’s interest rate may also decrease, which could result in reduced monthly payments for borrowers.

Why is it important to use a calculator with a Floating Interest Rate for personal loans?

Ans: Using a personal loan calculator with a Floating Interest Rate allows borrowers to gain a clearer understanding of the potential financial impact of interest rate fluctuations on their monthly payments.