Basis Points (BPS)

Term used in finance for measurement, which is equal to 1/100 of a percentage point.

Author: David Bickerton
David Bickerton
David Bickerton
Asset Management | Financial Analysis

Previously a Portfolio Manager for MDH Investment Management, David has been with the firm for nearly a decade, serving as President since 2015. He has extensive experience in wealth management, investments and portfolio management.

David holds a BS from Miami University in Finance.

Reviewed By: Christy Grimste
Christy Grimste
Christy Grimste
Real Estate | Investment Property Sales

Christy currently works as a senior associate for EdR Trust, a publicly traded multi-family REIT. Prior to joining EdR Trust, Christy works for CBRE in investment property sales. Before completing her MBA and breaking into finance, Christy founded and education startup in which she actively pursued for seven years and works as an internal auditor for the U.S. Department of State and CIA.

Christy has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Maryland and a Master of Business Administrations from the University of London.

Last Updated:September 14, 2023

What Are Basis Points (BPS)?

Basis Points (BPS) are a term used in finance for measurement, which is equal to 1/100 of a percentage point. It is generally used concerning securities where the percentage difference is less than 1% but still significant, such as interest rates (IR) and debt-related securities. 

It is pronounced as “bips” and abbreviated to “bps”, “bp” (singular), and “bips”. The term “basis” comes from the base movement between two percentages or the spread between two interest rates (IRs).

The examples of change in basis point are:

  • An increase in bond yield from 8.25% to 8.35% is an increase of 10 bps.
  • If the Federal Reserve raises rates from 1.65% to 1.85%, it is said to be an increase of 20 basis points (bps) of federal rates.
  • When the price of an Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) has jumped in price by 2.6% due to favorable event anticipation, it is considered an increase of 260 bps.

Take a look at the table below to understand what the particular percentages stand for specific BPS:

Percentage to BPS
Percentage (%) Basis Points (BPS)
0.01 1
0.1 10
1 100
10 1000
100 10000

Key Takeaways

  • Basis Points (bps) is a financial measurement equal to 1/100th of a percentage point used for securities like interest rates and debt-related assets.

  • PVBP measures bond price changes for a 1-basis-point yield change, indicating interest-rate risk.

  • BPS and percentage conversions are straightforward: divide by 100 for bps to percentage, and multiply by 100 for percentage to bps.

  • Basis Point is precise in finance, reducing ambiguity, while Pips are for forex market exchange rate movements.

  • BPS applies to various financial instruments, including bonds, stocks, options, etc., primarily in yield and interest rate discussions.

Price Value Of A Basis Point (PVBP)

The Price Value of a Basis Point (PVBP) measures the absolute value of the change in the price of a bond for a one-basis-point change in yield. It is another way to measure interest-rate risk, like duration, which measures the percent change in a bond price given a 1% change in rates. 

PVBP is a special case of dollar duration. Instead of using a 100 bp (1%) change, the price value of a basis point simply uses a 1 bp (0.01%) change.

It does not matter whether rates increase or decrease significantly because such a small change in rates will have approximately the same effect in either direction. It is also referred to as DV01 or the dollar value change for a 1 bp move.

As an example of PVBP, consider that for every percent change in bond yield, the price of the bond changes by $20. In this case, the dollar duration is $20, and the PVBP is $0.20 (calculated as $20/100).  

The conversion to and from a percentage can be easily calculated by applying the information below:

  • For bps to percentage, divide by 100
  • For the percentage to bps, multiply by 100

Or try out this calculator for free.

Basis Points Vs. The Percentage Vs. PIPs

This convention reduces confusion when talking about percentages. For example, consider the following sentence:

“There was an increase of 5 percent on the yield of the bond.” 

What does this mean? Assuming that the initial yield of the bond was 10%, it is ambiguous whether the bond is now priced at 10.5% or 15%. 

What if we had phrased the same sentence as “There was an increase of 50 bps on the yield of the bond.” This removes any ambiguity as it communicates that the yield on the bond is 10.5% and not 15%.

A “basis point” (BP) is a standardized measure equal to 1/100th of a percentage point. It is used in various financial contexts, including fixed-income markets and interest rate discussions.

A “pip” (Price Interest Point) is commonly used in foreign exchange markets to represent the smallest price movement of an exchange rate based on market convention. The value of a pip can vary depending on the currency pair.

Pips and basis points are not interchangeable, and their usage depends on the specific financial market and context. Pips are prevalent in forex (FX) markets, while basis points are used in various financial instruments and discussions.

Let us take a look at the table below to understand the difference better:

Basis Points Vs. The Percentage Vs. PIPs
Term Definition Equivalent Value
Basis Points One basis point (BPS) equals 1/100th of a percentage point. 0.01%
Percentage A percentage is a unit of measurement equal to 100 basis points. 100 bps (or 1%)
Pips (Forex) Pips, short for “percentage in point,” are used in currency trading to measure price movements. Generally, 1 pip is 0.0001 (or 1/10,000th) in currency exchange rates.

What Instruments Does bPS Apply To?

bps is primarily used concerning yields and interest rates in the context of fixed-income assets. However, they may also be used to signify a change in the price of other assets, such as equity stocks.

Examples of instruments where bps is applied:

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