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Missouri Interest Rates Laws

Overview of Missouri Interest Rate Laws

State laws set limits on the amount of interest a lender may charge consumers, often referred to as "usury" laws, but they are not always enforceable. That is because consumers often agree to higher rates when they agree to the terms of a credit card or other debts, thus waiving these limits. Most states also carve out statutory exceptions to these limits.

Missouri law stipulates that interest rates on debt may not exceed 9 percent without an agreement to a higher rate. Business loans and some real estate loans are exempt from this limit.

What Does 'Usury' Mean?

The term usury dates back to the Middle Ages, when it referred to the practice of charging interest in exchange for lending money. Once this practice became more commonly accepted, usury was used to describe exorbitant amounts of interest. However, some cultures and religions continue to have an unfavorable view of interest-bearing debt in general, and thus use the term accordingly.

Review the following table to learn the basics of Missouri's interest rate laws, followed by links to related resources. See FindLaw's Debt Collection Laws and Personal Finance sections for additional articles.

Legal Maximum Rate of Interest Absent agreement, 9% (§408.020); contract rate not to exceed 10% except when market rate is higher (§408.030)
Penalty for Usury (Unlawful Interest Rate) If usury collected, excess over legal rate applied to principal or debtor may recover (§§408.050, 060); debtor may recover twice amount of interest paid, costs of suit, and attorney's fees (§408.030)
Interest Rates on Judgments 9% or higher rate lawfully stipulated (§408.040)
Exceptions Loans to corporations, general partnerships, limited partnerships, or limited liability companies; business loans of $5000 or more; real estate loans other than residential real estate of less than $5000 secured by real estate used for agricultural activity or loans of $5000 or more secured solely by certificates of stock, bonds, bills of exchange, certificates of deposit or other commercial paper pledged as collateral for repayment of loan (§408.035)

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Missouri consumer protection attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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