Plain Vanilla Swap

DEFINITION of 'Plain Vanilla Swap'

The most basic type of forward claim that is traded in the over-the-counter market between two private parties, usually firms or financial institutions. There are several types of plain vanilla swaps, such as the plain vanilla interest rate swap, the plain vanilla commodity swap and the plain vanilla foreign currency swap.

BREAKING DOWN 'Plain Vanilla Swap'

In a plain vanilla interest rate swap, Company A and Company B choose a time frame, a principal amount, a single currency, a fixed interest rate, a floating interest rate and payment dates. On the specified payment dates for the duration of the time frame, Company A pays Company B a fixed rate of interest on the principal amount, and Company B pays Company A a floating interest rate on the principal amount. All payments are made in the same currency and only the net sum of each payment exchanges hands. The purpose of such an exchange might be to reduce interest-rate risk.

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