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District of Columbia Interest Rates Laws

Each state has some limits on the amount of interest a lender may charge a borrower, typically coming into play when there is no written contract. But for the most part, state interest rate limits are very weak and generally don't apply to credit cards, federally insured bank accounts, and many other popular types of debt. National banks may legally charge the highest rate allowed in their home state, regardless of where the borrower lives (based on the High Court's Marquette National Bank v. First of Omaha Corp. ruling).

Statutory Interest Rate Limits in Washington, D.C. at a Glance

The following table provides details about interest rate limits in the District of Columbia. See FindLaw's Debt Collection Laws and Personal Finance sections to learn more.

Legal Maximum Rate of Interest In absence of agreement: 6%/yr. (§28-3302); by contract in writing: Up to 24% (§28-3301)
Penalty for Usury (Unlawful Interest Rate) Forfeiture of interest; usurious interest paid may be recovered (§28-3303; 3304)
Interest Rates on Judgments 4% allowed on judgments against the District of Columbia, its officers, employees acting within scope of employment; where judgment is not against District of Columbia, its officers, or its employees acting within scope of employment or where interest is not fixed by contract the rate of interest shall be 70% of the rate set by the Secretary of Treasury (§28-3302, 26 USC §6621)
Exceptions Federally insured bank or savings and loan and on direct motor vehicle installment loans (§§28-3308; 28-3601 to 3602)

Note: State laws may change at any time, most often when new legislation is enacted but sometimes through the decisions of higher courts or other means. While we strive to ensure the accuracy of these pages, you also may want to contact a District of Columbia consumer rights attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

What are Usury Laws and Where Do They Come From?

Laws that either limit or ban interest rates for lent money are traditionally referred to as usury laws. The term usury dates to the Middle Ages, when it applied to any kind of money lending that involved the accrual of interest. Any kind of interest was once frowned upon regardless of the actual rate, and thus called usury, but the term eventually was used only to describe excessive interest rates or deceptive lending practices.

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