DEFINITION of 'Legal Rate Of Interest'
The highest rate of interest that can be legally charged on any type of debt. The legal rate of interest applies to all types of debt, although this rate may differ from one type of debt to another. This limit is set to prevent lenders from charging excessive rates of interest to borrowers.
BREAKING DOWN 'Legal Rate Of Interest'
An interest rate that exceeds the legal rate of interest is classified as usury. There are usually stiff penalties for usury in most states, such as fines or even the forfeiture of principal and/or interest. The legal rate of interest can also be classified as the highest rate that lenders can charge for any legal claim that can be enforced in a court of law.