Face Value

The value of a bond (or other debt instrument) that appears on the front, or face, of the certificate. Although a bond’s price may change due to market conditions, the face value does not change. At maturity, the issuer redeems the bond at the face value amount. If the bonds are retired before maturity, the bondholder usually receives a slight premium over the face value. The face value is also the amount used to compute interest payments. For instance, a 10% bond with a face value of $1,000 pays $100 interest annually. Corporate bonds usually are issued with $1,000 face values, municipals with $5,000 face values, and federal government bonds with $10,000 face values. Other terms for face value include par value, nominal value and principal amount.

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