Par Value – Definition

Cite this article as:"Par Value – Definition," in The Business Professor, updated March 27, 2019, last accessed October 24, 2020,


Par Value Definition

The face value that a bond has is said to be its par value. It is significant for an instrument of fixed income and a bond. The reason of its importance is that the par value estimates the maturity value of a bond. The coupon payments have a dollar value. The par value also determines this dollar value. It can be generally one thousand US Dollars or one hundred US Dollars. A bond has a market value which can be lower or higher than its par value. It depends on multiple factors, including the credit status of a bond and the interest rates’ level.

The shares also may or may not have a par value. In the perspective of shares, it is basically a stock value as mentioned in the corporate charter. Usually, shares do not have a par value. If they have, it is very low, say, one cent/share. As far as the par value of the equity is concerned, it has a very little connection with the market price of the shares.

Other names of Par value are face value or nominal value.

A Little More on What is Par Value

Par value is one of the vital features of a certificate/bond. The one who issues bond commits to pay it back to the bondholder when the maturity date arrives. This amount of money is basically the par value. Thus, if we purchase a bond, we are actually giving a loan to its issuer and he is liable for its repayment. A bond or a certificate is fundamentally a written agreement for the same.

It is not necessary that the bonds must have a par value when being issued. The issuer can sell it at a discount or a premium. It depends on the prevailing interest rate in the country. A premium bond is a kind of bond that holds more par value to trade. On the other hand, a bond that is traded less than the par value is a kind of bond known as a bond at a discount.

When there are lower interest rates or trends in the economy, a big portion of certificates are traded at a premium (more than par value) whereas a big portion of certificates is issued at a discount in case of the higher interest rates, e.g. a bond having a face value as 1000 USD is recently traded at 1020 USD, it is at a premium. If it is traded as 950 USD, it means to be at a discount.

An investor may purchase a taxable bond more than the par value, the premium, in this case, gradually liquidates over the rest of the bond’s life. It offsets the amount of interest obtained from the bond. This way, the taxable income of an investor becomes less. People, who buy tax-free bonds at more par value, cannot avail premium amortisation.

A bond’s coupon rate than the economy’s interest rates determines that the bond will be traded at above, below or same par value.It means the payment of interest to the bondholder on a yearly or semi-yearly basis. It is basically a compensation to loan a certain amount of money to the bond issuer, such as a bond has 1000 USD par value and four percent coupon rate. The yearly coupon payments will be 4% x 1,000 = 40 USD.

Now, suppose a bond has a 100 USD par value with four percent coupon rate. The yearly coupon payment will be 4% x 1,00 = 4 USD. When the coupon rate is four percent and the interest rate is also the same, the bond will be traded at the par value. This is because the rates are equal.

If the interest rate moves to five percent, the bond value will come down, leading to trade on less than its par value. The reason is that it will now pay less interest rate to the bondholder than the high-interest rate of five percent. So, a lower coupon bond’s price should come down to the same five percent offer to the investor. On the contrary, if the interest rate drops to three percent in the economy, the bond value will increase. Now, it will be traded at more par value. This is because the coupon rate of four percent is more attractive as compared to three percent.

Whatever par value a bond has, whether premium or discounted, it will be repaid by the issuer to the investor when the maturity date is there. Like, if a person buys a bond for 950 USD and some other buys the same at 1020 USD. At the maturity date, both of them will get repayment of 1000 USD as the par value.

Whereas the corporate bond’s par value is generally given as 100 USD or 1000 USD. The par value of the municipal bonds is 5000 USD while the par value of the federal bonds is 10000 USD.

Par Value of Stocks

In some countries, the companies are not allowed to sell shares under their par value. In order to follow the state rules, for the stocks, most of the companies make a par value to the least amount, e.g. Apple’s shares have a par value of 0.00001 USD while Amazon’s stock has a par value of 0.01 USD. On the first public offering, they cannot sell their shares under the par value. Hence, the investors feel confident that nobody is going to get a treatment of favourable price.

Some countries allow issuing stock without any par value. They have no arbitrary amount for their stock more than a company is allowed to sell. A bondholder can recognise no-par stocks on the shares because they contain no printed par value on them. The par value of the shares of a company is in the capital section of the shareholders’ balance sheet.

References for Par Value

Academic Research on Par Value

The Dangers of Shares Without Par Value, Bonbright, J. C. (1924). Columbia Law Review, 24(5), 449-468. In this paper, the author predicts the dangers of certificates or shares which do not have any par value.

” Watered Stock”: Commissions:” Blue Sky Laws”: Stock without Par Value, Cook, W. W. (1921). Michigan Law Review, 19(6), 583-598. This paper explains the concept of watered stock and commissions on it. It is basically an asset that has an artificially increased value. Besides, the author highlights the importance of Blue Sky Laws and discusses a stock that has no par value.

Shares Without Nominal or Par Value, Morawetz, V. (1912). Harv. L. Rev., 26, 729. This paper evaluates the consequences of those shares or stocks which have no par value (also named as a nominal value).

Progress of the Law on No Par Value Stock, Wickersham, C. W. (1923). Harv. L. Rev., 37, 464. This study covers the important information about that law which is related to the shares or stocks having no par value. The writer also brings into consideration the progress of that law.

Stock Having No Par Value, Pierson, W. D. (1922). Ill. LR, 17, 173. This research is about all those stocks or certificates that do not have any par value.

Stock Without Par Value, Cook, W. W. (1921). American Bar Association Journal, 7(10), 534-537. The author elaborates the disadvantages of the stocks or shares of a company which are without any par value.

DEPARTMENT OF PROFESSIONAL TECHNIQUE: Capitalization of Corporations Issuing Shares Without Par Value, Mitchell, W. D. (1925). American Bar Association Journal, 11(6), 377-380. This study is about the research of DoPT (Department of Professional Technique). The corporations that are capitalized can issue stocks or shares having no par value.

Uses of Stock Having No Par Value, Hollen, R. H., & Tuthill, R. S. (1921). American Bar Association Journal, 7(11), 579-582. This paper is different on the grounds that it focuses on the benefits of those stocks that have no par value. Generally, they are taken as dangerous.

Consideration for Corporate Shares With Special Reference to Shares Without Par Value, Masterson, W. E. (1932). Idaho LJ, 2, 75. This paper explains the shares or certificates of a corporation with special reference having no face value.

Par Value versus No Par Value Stock, Colton, H. E. (1921). ABAJ, 7, 671. This paper is based on the detailed analysis of the difference between the stocks or shares having par value and those which have no par value.

Taxation of No Par Value Stock, Wickersham, C. W. (1926). Harvard Law Review, 39(3), 289-306. This research throws light on the regulations of taxation for the stocks or certificates of a company which have no par value.

Capital stock of no par value, Hurdman, F. H. (1919). Journal of Accountancy (pre-1986), 28(000004), 246. This paper explains that type of capital stock which contains no par value. In the business world, there was iniquity on the capital stock when the businesses used to have an arbitrary value on every certificate. So, the attorneys requested to issue such bonds, securities or shares that have no par value.

No par value shares in the nigerian capital market, Kuforiji, A. A. (1986). Nigerian LJ, 13, 73. In this paper, the author provides information about the par value in the capital market of Nigeria. He further adds that there is no par value of the shares in this market.


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