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Reasons Behind The Decline In Fixed Deposit (FD) Interest Rates Over The Years

01 January 20246 mins read by Angel One
FD interest rates in India are declining due to factors like economic conditions and low inflation. Let us delve into details via this article.
Reasons Behind The Decline In Fixed Deposit (FD) Interest Rates Over The Years
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The average FD interest rate in India dropped from 10.50% to 5.90% in the last 20 years, that is, from 2000 to 2023. This has been impacted by the significant change in financial market conditions, the policies of RBI, and the country’s economic conditions. For retail and novice investors, Fixed Deposits (FDs) have traditionally been a reliable go-to investment option. Over the years, however, one noticeable trend has been the steady decline in FD interest rates. 

In India, fixed deposits are among the most popular ways to save money. FDs provide the advantage of liquidity in addition to providing a risk-free return over time; they can be withdrawn early but at a reduced interest rate than first agreed. In this article, we will delve into the reasons behind this decline, explaining how banks fix interest rates on FDs and exploring the various factors that influence these rates.

Understanding How Banks Fix Interest Rates on FDs

Before we dive into the reasons behind the falling FD interest rates, it’s essential to understand how banks determine these rates. The process is not as simple as it may seem, and it involves a combination of factors:

  • Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Policies: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) plays a pivotal role in influencing interest rates across the banking sector. The RBI’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) sets the repo rate, which is the rate at which it lends money to commercial banks. The repo rate serves as a benchmark for other interest rates in the economy, including FD rates. When the RBI decreases the repo rate, banks typically follow suit by lowering FD rates, making them less attractive to investors.
  • Cost of Funds: Banks need funds to offer loans and pay interest on deposits, and the cost of these funds is a significant factor in determining FD rates. Banks acquire funds through various channels, such as savings accounts, current accounts, and other borrowings. If the cost of obtaining these funds rises, banks may reduce FD rates to maintain their profit margins.
  • Tenure of the FD: The duration for which you invest in an FD can also influence the interest rate you receive. In general, longer tenures often yield higher interest rates. Banks prefer longer-term deposits because they can use the funds for a more extended period and can offer better interest rates as an incentive.
  • Competition: The banking sector is highly competitive, and banks often vie for customer deposits. To attract more customers, they may adjust their FD rates to offer more attractive returns compared to their competitors. This competition can lead to fluctuations in interest rates.
  • Inflation: Inflation erodes the purchasing power of money over time. Banks factor in the expected inflation rate when determining FD rates. If the inflation rate is high, banks might offer higher FD rates to ensure that investors’ real returns (returns adjusted for inflation) remain positive.

Factors Affecting Interest Rates on Fixed Deposits

Now that we have a grasp of how banks set FD interest rates, let’s explore the key factors that have contributed to the declining FD rates in recent years:

  • Economic Conditions: The broader economic landscape significantly impacts FD interest rates. During periods of economic instability or recession, the RBI often lowers the repo rate to encourage borrowing and spending. Lower repo rates translate to lower FD rates as banks pass on the reduced cost of borrowing to depositors.
  • Inflation Rate: High inflation rates put pressure on banks to offer higher interest rates on FDs to ensure that investors’ returns outpace inflation. Conversely, when inflation is low, banks may reduce FD rates as the purchasing power of the invested funds is less threatened.
  • Liquidity in the Banking System: The liquidity position of banks can affect FD interest rates. When banks are flush with funds, they may offer higher rates to attract more deposits. Conversely, if liquidity is tight, banks may lower FD rates to manage their cash flow effectively.
  • Government Bond Yields: Banks often invest in government securities, and the yields on these bonds can influence FD rates. If government bond yields are high, banks may offer higher FD rates to compete with these investments. Conversely, when bond yields drop, FD rates may follow suit.
  • Changing Banking Business Models: Banks are increasingly focusing on fee-based income and non-interest income sources such as wealth management, insurance, and digital banking services. As a result, they may be less reliant on interest income from FDs, which could lead to reduced interest rates on these deposits.
  • Global Economic Factors: In today’s interconnected world, global economic factors can also impact FD rates. International events, currency fluctuations, and global interest rate trends can influence how banks set their FD rates.
  • Regulatory Changes: Regulatory changes, such as new capital adequacy requirements or liquidity norms, can affect a bank’s ability to offer high FD rates. Banks might need to divert a portion of their funds to meet these regulatory obligations, limiting their ability to offer competitive FD rates.

While the decline in FD interest rates might seem discouraging for retail and novice investors, there are still strategies to make the most of this investment option:

  • Diversify Your Portfolio: Don’t put all your financial eggs in one basket. Diversifying your investments across various asset classes, such as equities, bonds, and mutual funds, can help you achieve better overall returns and manage risk.
  • Consider Different FD Tenures: Depending on your financial goals, consider a mix of short-term and long-term FDs. While long-term FDs typically offer higher interest rates, short-term FDs provide liquidity and flexibility.
  • Ladder Your FDs: Create an FD ladder by staggering the maturity dates of your deposits. This strategy allows you to access funds periodically while still benefiting from higher interest rates on long-term deposits.
  • Monitor Interest Rate Trends: Stay informed about changes in interest rates. When FD rates rise, consider locking in your funds for a longer tenure to take advantage of higher returns.
  • Explore Other Investment Options: Don’t limit yourself to FDs. Explore alternative investment options like mutual funds, Public Provident Fund (PPF), and National Savings Certificates (NSC) that offer the potential for higher returns.
  • Seek Professional Advice: If you’re uncertain about your investment choices, consider consulting a financial advisor. They can help you create a diversified investment strategy tailored to your financial goals and risk tolerance.


The decline in Fixed Deposit interest rates over the years is a complex phenomenon influenced by a multitude of factors, including economic conditions, inflation rates, and regulatory changes. While this trend may be disheartening for retail and novice investors who have relied on FDs for stability, it’s crucial to adapt to the evolving financial landscape. 

Diversifying your investment portfolio, exploring alternative options, and staying informed about interest rate trends can help you navigate these challenges and make the most of your hard-earned money. Remember that achieving your financial goals requires a proactive and well-informed approach to investing. If you are new to the stock market, open a demat account with Angel One today for a hassle-free process.

Disclaimer: This article has been written for educational purposes only. The securities quoted are only examples and not recommendations.

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