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Basis Points (BPS) – Meaning, Calculation, and Importance in Finance

Basis Points (BPS) – Meaning, Calculation, and Importance in Finance
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If you’re interested in finance, you’ve likely come across the term ‘basis points’ or BPS. In this blog, we will delve into what basis points are, how to calculate them, and why they are important in finance. Understanding basis points is essential for making informed financial decisions, especially when it comes to investments.

What are Basis Points or BPS?

Basis points or BPS are a unit of measurement that represent 1/100th of a percentage point. Basis points are commonly used in finance to describe changes in interest rates, bond yields, and other financial indicators. For instance, if an interest rate increases from 3% to 3.25%, it has increased by 25 basis points. The use of basis points in finance originated in the bond market, and it has since become a standard metric used across various financial sectors. 

How to Calculate BPS?

Basis points are calculated as a percentage of 1%. In other words, one basis point is equal to 0.01%, or 0.0001 in decimal form. To convert basis points to percentage or vice versa, simply multiply or divide by 100. For example, if a bond’s yield increases by 25 basis points, that means the yield has increased by 0.25% (25 basis points x 0.01).

Here are a few examples of how to calculate basis points:

Example 1: You have a savings account with an interest rate of 0.75% per year. The bank raises the interest rate by 10 basis points. What is the new interest rate?


  • Convert the current interest rate to basis points: 0.75% x 100 = 75 basis points
  • Add the 10 basis points to the current rate: 75 + 10 = 85 basis points
  • Convert the new basis points to a percentage: 85 basis points / 100 = 0.85%
  • The new interest rate is 0.85%.

How to Convert Basis Points to Percentage?

Calculating basis points is a simple process. To convert basis points to a percentage, divide the number of basis points by 100. For example, 75 basis points would be 0.75%.

How to convert basis points to percentage?
To convert a percentage to basis points, multiply the percentage by 100. For example, 1.5% would be 150 basis points.
Understanding how to calculate basis points is crucial in finance as it helps investors make informed decisions.

Why are Basis Points Important?

Basis points (BPS) are important in finance as they provide a precise measurement of changes in financial indicators.

  • They are often used to measure changes in interest rates, bond yields, and stock prices. For example, if the Federal Reserve raises interest rates by 25 basis points, it means the interest rate has increased by 0.25%. 
  • Changes in basis points can have a significant impact on financial markets and investment returns, making it crucial to keep track of them.
  • Basis points are vital in measuring small changes in financial indicators, which could have significant impacts on financial decisions. For instance, a change in interest rates by a few basis points could affect the cost of borrowing or saving, impacting the overall economy. 

How are Basis Points (BPS) Used in Different Industries?

Basis points or BPS are used in the share market, banking, real estate, and insurance. 

  • In the banking industry, BPS is used to calculate interest rates on loans and deposits. 
  • In the stock market, BPS is used to measure stock price changes. 
  • In real estate, BPS is used to calculate mortgage interest rates. 
  • In insurance, BPS is used to determine policy premiums.

 Understanding how basis points are used in different industries is essential in making informed financial decisions.

BPS in Investment Analysis

Let’s say you are considering investing in two different ETFs, and you want to compare their returns. The first ETF has an expense ratio of 0.10%, while the second ETF has an expense ratio of 0.20%. To compare the impact of these expense ratios, you can use basis points.

The expense ratio of the first ETF is 10 basis points (0.10% x 100 = 10 bps), while the expense ratio of the second ETF is 20 basis points (0.20% x 100 = 20 bps).

Assuming both ETFs have the same underlying holdings and perform equally, the difference in expense ratios means that the first ETF should have a higher return than the second ETF.

For example, if both ETFs had a return of 7% over a year, the first ETF would have a net return of 6.9% (7% – 10 bps = 6.9%), while the second ETF would have a net return of 6.8% (7% – 20 bps = 6.8%).

Basis points can also be used in conjunction with other financial metrics, such as yield and risk, to make more informed investment decisions. For example, an investor may compare two bonds with different yields and credit ratings. By calculating the basis points of each bond’s yield and taking into account the credit rating, the investor can make a more informed decision about which bond to invest in.

By using basis points to compare the expense ratios, you can see the impact of fees on your investment returns and make a more informed investment decision.

Misconceptions About Basis Points 

  • One common misconception about basis points (BPS) is confusing them with percentage points. While percentage points and basis points are similar, they are not interchangeable. While a percentage point represents a change of 1%, a basis point represents a change of 0.01%. 
  • Another misconception is that basis points are only relevant to finance professionals. However, understanding basis points can benefit individuals in everyday life, such as when comparing credit card interest rates or mortgage rates.

To Wrap It Up…

In conclusion, understanding basis point value is essential in making informed financial decisions. Basis points are used to measure small changes in financial indicators, and they are widely used in various industries. By understanding how to calculate basis points, you can gain valuable insights into market trends and make sound investment decisions.