Difference between a Debenture and a Bond
By Claire Miles - July 11, 2023

Debentures are often offered to obtain funds for a forthcoming project or to pay for projected business development. These debt securities are a typical kind of long-term financing used by businesses. Debentures provide investors with either a variable or fixed-interest coupon rate return or a repayment deadline. When the interest payment is due, the corporation usually pays it before the shareholder dividends.

Bonds are the most frequent debt instrument utilized by private firms and governments. It acts as a promissory note between the issuer and the investor. An investor makes a loan in exchange for the promise of payback at maturity. Typically, the investor will receive monthly interest payments during the bond’s tenure. Bonds generally are regarded as a pretty secure investment in the investing world. Highly rated corporate or government bonds have less default risk. Each bond, even those issued by government agencies or municipalities, will have its own credit rating.

Debenture vs. Bond

Bonds are backed by the issuer’s assets, whereas tangible assets or collateral do not guarantee debentures. Debentures are issued and acquired solely based on the issuing party’s creditworthiness and reputation.

Bonds often have lower interest rates than debentures. The lower interest rate represents the low-risk aspect. On the other hand, debentures offer a high-interest rate but are unsecured. Therefore the risk element is higher. The interest on a bond is paid to the bondholder monthly, semi-annually, or annually. The interest amount never varies since the interest paid is not determined by the issuer’s performance. In contrast, if you buy debentures, your interest rate may be high, but the interest payment will be periodic, depending on the issuer’s performance. Finally, bond investments have a low-risk factor, but debentures have a high-risk factor.

Comparison Chart
  1. Higher interest rates, no collateral
Lower interest rates, with collateral
  1. Issued by private companies
Issued by financial institutions, government agencies, etc
  1. Long tenure
Short tenure