Nintendo cuts 'Animal Crossing: New Horizons' interest rates to boost virtual spending


Tom Nook

  • Nintendo lowered the interest rate in “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” to 0.05% on Thursday, from 0.5%, Kotaku first reported.
  • Players received a letter from the game’s Bank of Nook explaining the change. The letter included a rug shaped like a bag of bells.
  • The update was likely made to spur in-game spending and deter users from using a time-travel exploit to speed up interest payments.
  • The virtual rate cut follows similar policies around the world as central banks ease lending conditions to combat the coronavirus and its economic fallout.
  • Visit the Business Insider homepage for more stories.

The central bank in “Animal Crossing: New Horizons'” is the latest monetary authority to slash rates amid the global economic crisis.

Nintendo lowered the game’s Bank of Nook interest rate on Thursday to roughly 0.05% from 0.5%, Kotaku first reported. Interest payouts are now limited to 9,999 bells, the game’s currency.

“We are writing to inform you that we have reduced the interest rate offered to all savings accounts,” a letter sent to players from the Bank of Nook read. “We appreciate your business.”

The Bank of Nook letter also gifted players a rug shaped like a bag of bells.

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Kotaku’s Ethan Gach tested the change by shifting the game’s clock forward to May 2021 before and after the update. While the pre-adjustment trick yielded a 63,571-bell payment for Gach’s 1.1 million-bell fortune, the same gimmick only earned 6,579 bells after the bank’s rate cut.

It’s unclear why the rate was adjusted, and it won’t have the same monetary effect as similar real-world policies. Loans in “Animal Crossing” are interest-free, rendering the rate cut fruitless for driving lending activity. It’s more likely Nintendo sought to boost spending among players instead of allowing them to passively grow their wealth in the game’s bank.

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Nintendo might have also wanted to deter players from using a so-called “time travel” exploit. Interest payments are made each month, and players could shift their device clocks forward to quickly reap cash. The latest update now caps the earnings one could make from the exploit and drastically lowers the amount made with each month skipped.

The Thursday update brings the Bank of Nook’s interest rate more in line with the Federal Reserve, European Central Bank, and Bank of England’s policy stances.

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