Understanding the Maximum Interest Rate Allowed by Law in the Philippines

In the Philippines, there isn’t a single, fixed maximum interest rate mandated by law. However, there are various regulations designed to prevent excessively high-interest rates and protect borrowers from unfair lending practices. Here’s a detailed breakdown of the key regulations that impact interest rates:

Usury Law (Act No. 2655)

Base Rule: According to the Usury Law, if no specific interest rate is agreed upon in writing, the maximum interest rate is capped at 6% per annum.

Exceptions: The law allows for higher interest rates if they are explicitly stipulated in a written agreement and under certain conditions. This flexibility provides a legal framework for varied interest rates based on mutual consent between the lender and the borrower.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Circulars

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) plays a crucial role in regulating interest rates through the issuance of circulars. These circulars set guidelines and ceilings for interest rates applicable to different types of lending institutions and loan products. It’s important to stay updated with the latest BSP circulars as they are subject to periodic revisions.

Specific Types of Loans

Bank Loans: BSP circulars determine interest rate ceilings for banks. These ceilings vary depending on factors such as whether the loan is secured or unsecured, the presence of collateral, and other risk assessments. For instance, secured loans with collateral generally have lower interest rates compared to unsecured loans.

Microfinance Loans: Microfinance institutions, particularly non-governmental organizations (NGOs) involved in micro-lending, are subject to specific interest rate regulations. These regulations include caps to ensure that the rates remain affordable for low-income borrowers who typically utilize microfinance services.

Pawnshop Loans: Pawnshops, which provide loans against personal property as collateral, are also regulated. The BSP sets limits on the interest rates that pawnshops can charge, and these rates must be transparent and clearly communicated to borrowers.

Online Lending Apps: The rise of online lending platforms has brought new challenges to interest rate regulation. While specific laws for these apps are still evolving, there is an ongoing discussion about stricter regulations to prevent predatory lending practices. Future legislation may introduce more rigorous controls on the interest rates that online lenders can impose.


While the Philippines does not have a universal maximum interest rate, the combination of the Usury Law, BSP circulars, and specific regulations for different types of loans creates a structured environment aimed at protecting borrowers. Staying informed about the latest legal changes and regulatory updates is crucial for both lenders and borrowers to ensure compliance and fair lending practices.

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