Define: Prime Rate

UK Accounting Glossary

Definition: Prime Rate

Quick Summary of Prime Rate

The interest rates that banks charge to their most creditworthy customers. The prime rate is an important reference number, because loans to all other customers are connected to it on a percentage basis.


Full Definition of Prime Rate

In the US, the prime rate was historically defined as the interest rate banks charge their best customers for loans.

In fact, some borrowers occasionally receive credit for below the prime rate. The prime rate is seldom changed, though most banks tend to change it at the same time. The best-known prime rate index is the Wall Street Journal prime rate. The Wall Street Journal announces a change in “the” prime rate whenever at least 23 of the 30 largest banks make a change to their stated prime rate. In practice, the prime rate tends to work out to three percentage points above the nominal Federal Funds Rate set by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve. The prime rate has been eclipsed in importance by LIBOR for setting interest rates on most loans for bank customers.


Examples of Prime Rate in a sentence

Due to Gerald’s great credit rating, the bank offered him a mortgage at the prime rate.
One way for governments to control the economy is by adjusting the prime rate.

Cite Term

To help you cite our definitions in your bibliography, here is the proper citation layout for the three major formatting styles, with all of the relevant information filled in.

Page URL
Modern Language Association (MLA):
Prime Rate. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. March 29, 2020
Chicago Manual of Style (CMS):
Prime Rate. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. (accessed: March 29, 2020).
American Psychological Association (APA):
Prime Rate. Retrieved March 29, 2020, from website:

Definition Sources

Definitions for Prime Rate are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 6th February 2020.