Current through 2023-2024 Legislative Session Chapter 353
Section 7-4-2 - Legal rate of interest; maximum rate of interest generally; certain items not considered interest(a)(1)(A) The legal rate of interest shall be 7 percent per annum simple interest where the rate percent is not established by written contract. Notwithstanding the provisions of other laws to the contrary, except Code Section 7-4-18, the parties may establish by written contract any rate of interest, expressed in simple interest terms as of the date of the evidence of the indebtedness, and charges and any manner of repayment, prepayment, or, subject to the provisions of paragraph (1) of subsection (b) of this Code section, acceleration, where the principal amount involved is more than $3,000.00 but less than $250,000.00 or where the lender or creditor has committed to lend, advance, or forbear with respect to any loan, advance, or forbearance to enforce the collection of more than $3,000.00 but less than $250,000.00.(B) Where the principal amount is $250,000.00 or more, or the lender or creditor has committed to lend, advance, or forbear with respect to any loan, advance, or forbearance to enforce the collection of $250,000.00 or more, the parties may establish by written contract any rate of interest, expressed in simple interest terms or otherwise, and charges to be paid by the borrower or debtor.(C) Nothing contained in this subsection shall be construed to prohibit the computation and collection of interest at a variable rate or on a negative amortization basis or on an equity participation basis or on an appreciation basis.(2) Where the principal amount involved is $3,000.00 or less, such rate shall not exceed 16 percent per annum simple interest on any loan, advance, or forbearance to enforce the collection of any sum of money unless the loan, advance, or forbearance to enforce the collection of any sum of money is made pursuant to another law.(3) As used in this Code section, the term "interest" means a charge for the use of money computed over the term of the contract at the rate stated in the contract or precomputed at a stated rate on the scheduled principal balance or computed in any other way or any other form. Principal includes such charges to which the parties may agree under paragraph (1) of this subsection. Amounts paid or contracted to be paid as either an origination fee or discount points, or both, on any loan secured by an interest in real estate shall not be considered interest and shall not be taken into consideration in the calculation of interest and shall not be subject to rebate as provided in paragraph (1) of subsection (b) of this Code section.(b)(1) Upon acceleration of the maturity of any loan, advance of money, or forbearance to enforce the collection of any sum of money upon which interest has been precomputed, unearned interest shall be rebated to the debtor in such amount as would result in the rate of interest earned being no greater than the rate of interest established by the original contract. In the case of a loan in which the principal and the interest for the entire term of the loan are included in the face amount of the loan and the loan is to be paid back in weekly, monthly, quarterly, semiannual, or yearly installments, with the interest and principal portions of each installment determined under the pro rata method, any such rebate shall be determined on the pro rata method.(2) Unless stipulated in the contract, there shall be no prepayment penalty.(c) Nothing contained in this Code section shall be construed to amend or modify the provisions of Chapter 3 of this title, the "Georgia Installment Loan Act," Article 1 of Chapter 1 of Title 10, the "Retail Installment and Home Solicitation Sales Act," Chapter 5 of this title, "The Credit Card and Credit Card Bank Act," Chapter 22 of Title 33, the "Insurance Premium Finance Company Act," Part 5 of Article 3 of Chapter 12 of Title 44, relating to pawnbrokers, and, except as provided in Code Section 7-4-3, Article 2 of Chapter 1 of Title 10, the "Motor Vehicle Sales Finance Act."(d) Notwithstanding the foregoing, fees and other charges agreed upon by a financial institution and depositor, as defined in Code Section 7-1-4, in a written agreement governing a deposit, share, or other account, including, but not limited to, overdraft and nonsufficient funds, delinquency or default charges, returned payment charges, stop payment charges, or automated teller machine charges, shall not be considered interest.Amended by 2020 Ga. Laws 409,§ 9, eff. 6/30/2020.Amended by 2014 Ga. Laws 515,§ 1, eff. 4/15/2014.