Business Halacha: Ribbis and My Loan to My Cousin


bank-of-americaQ: A cousin asked me to grant him a $25,000 loan, which required withdrawing money from my savings account. Can I charge him the 2% that I would have earned?

A: Loss of potential earnings is not reason to allow charging ribbis. Therefore, you may not charge your cousin the 2% [unless you draft a heter iska]. (Igros Moshe Y.D. 3:93; Bris Yehuda 3, nt. 4)

If lending the money incurs an actual cost or expense, such as a wire transfer fee or legal fee to draft a loan document, that expense can be charged to the borrower. A penalty for early withdrawal of CD depends on the nature of the penalty, so that a posek should be consulted. (The Laws of Ribbis, 4:1, 8-9)

Regardless, interest payments to a non-Jew for which the lender is responsible may not be “passed on” to the borrower. Therefore, if someone took a loan from the bank, he may not share it with his friend and have him pay the interest on the proportional amount [without a heter iska]. Similarly, one may not take a cash advance from his credit card on behalf of his friend and pass on the incurred interest. (Y.D. 168:17)

Authored by Rabbi Meir Orlian

These articles are for learning purposes only and cannot be used for final halachic decision. The Business Halacha email is a project of Business Halacha Institute ( and is under the auspices of Rav Chaim Kohn.

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