The Excel Rate function calculates the interest rate required to pay off a specified amount of a loan, or to reach a target amount on an investment, over a given period.
The syntax of the function is:
Where the arguments are as follows:
|nper||-||The number of periods over which the loan or investment is to be paid.|
|pmt||-||The (fixed) payment amount per period.|
|pv||-||The present value of the loan / investment.|
|[fv]||-||[fv] takes on the default value of 0.If omitted,|
|[type]||-||[type] argument is omitted, it takes on the default value of 0 (denoting payments made at the end of the period).If the|
Cash Flow Sign Convention:Note that, in line with the general cash flow sign convention, cash outflows are represented by negative numbers and cash inflows are represented by positive numbers. This is seen in the examples below.
In the following spreadsheet, the Excel Rate function is used to calculate the interest rate, with fixed payments of $1,000 per month, to pay off in full, a loan of $50,000 over a period of 5 years. The payments are to be made at the end of each month.
In the above example:
In the following spreadsheet, the Excel Rate function is used to calculate the interest rate required to save $20,000, over 2 years, with a starting value of zero, and monthly savings of $800. The payments are to be made at the start of each month.
In the above example:
Further examples of the Excel Rate function are provided on the Microsoft Office website.
If you get an error from the Excel Rate function, this is likely to be one of the following:
|#NUM!||-||(This may be because you have failed to use the cash flow convention of negative numbers to represent outgoing cash flows and positive numbers to represent incoming cash flows. Alternatively, you may need to provide an initial 'guess' to the function.)|
|#VALUE!||-||Occurs if any of the supplied arguments are non-numeric.|
Also, the following problems are encountered by some users:
The result from the Excel Rate function is much higher or much lower than expected.
When calculating monthly or quarterly payments, users sometimes forget to convert the interest rate or the number of periods to months or quarters.
months = 12 * years
quarters = 4 * years
The result from the Excel Rate function appears to be the value 0 or appears as a percentage but shows no decimal places.
This problem is often due to the formatting of the cell containing the function.
If this is the case, the problem will be fixed by formatting the cell to show a percentage, with decimal places.
To do this:
Open up the 'Format Cells' dialog box using any one of the following methods:
Within the 'Format Cells' dialog box: