Difference Between Bonds and Debentures

All types of companies, be it small enterprise, established company, or even the government, require financing for their business operations.

Borrowing funds through loans is one of the common ways to get additional funds. Amongst the various ways to borrow money, Bonds and Debentures are the prominent ones. Both are debt instruments issued by the Government or companies. The institution raises capital by selling bonds whereas the investors get the assurance of fixed returns as interest and principal capital repayment. Depending on the nature of these contracts, features offered are of various types. Let’s look closely at what they mean, how they work and the key difference between bonds and debentures.

Bond Meaning

Bond is the most common type of debt instrument issued by the government, large corporations, or agencies of the government to raise capital.

The borrower uses this money to fund its operations, and the investors are entitled to receive interest on their investment. Bonds fall under the fixed-income class.

Bonds are generally considered a relatively safe investment. It pays its investors a fixed rate of return periodically. A bond’s market value may change over time. Callable , Fixed-rate, Floating-rate, Zero Coupon, and Puttable Bonds are some of the common varieties of bonds available for investors.

Debentures Meaning

A debenture is an unsecured debt instrument that isn’t secured by collateral. Private companies use debentures to raise capital for business expansion, upcoming projects, or for raising short-term capital.

Since the debenture is not secured by collateral, the backing is provided through its creditworthiness reflected through the credit ratings and issuer’s reputation.

Difference Between Bonds and Debentures

Are you thinking what is the difference between bonds and debentures? Here it is. Bonds are secured by their physical assets, unlike Debentures. As bonds are backed by collateral, they carry a lower risk when compared to Debentures, which carry a comparatively higher risk. Know the difference between bonds vs debentures.



Definition Bonds are debt financial instruments issued by financial institutions, big corporations, and government agencies having the backing of collaterals and physical assets. Debentures are debt financial instruments issued by private companies but are not backed by any collaterals or physical assets.
Owner A bond owner is known as a bondholder. A debenture owner is known as a debenture holder.
Tenure The tenure is longer. The tenure will be comparatively shorter.
Risk The risk level is lower as it is backed by collaterals. The risk level is comparatively higher since it’s not backed by any collateral.
Collateral Bonds are generally secured by the collateral or physical assets of the issuing company. Debentures are unsecured and are not backed by any collateral. The creditworthiness and reputation of the issuer play a key role in backing.

Who Should Invest in Bonds & Debentures?

Investors who are risk averse should invest in bonds. Bonds carry less risk and are considered to be safer investments than debentures.

Also, bonds are good as long-term investment options as it gives fixed interest payment and the principal at pre-specified durations. Also, they are backed by collateral, unlike debentures which is the main difference between bonds and debentures.

However, investment in debentures can offer comparatively higher returns to investors than bonds. Debentures can be good as a short-term investment option. After weighing both the pros and cons of the two, it’s up to you to decide whether you want to invest in bonds or debentures based on your investment objectives.

Frequently Asked Questions on Debenture vs Bond

Convertible debentures can be exchanged for shares at specific times as per the contract. Since debentures are unsecured, this feature can compensate for the risks associated with the debentures.

It’s a kind of fixed-income debt security sold by companies that is convertible to common shares of the issuing company.

That’s because companies/institutions use them for the purpose of raising capital while assuring the investors of fixed interest payment and repayment of invested capital after pre-defined time intervals.

There are several types of debentures issued by a company. They are: -

a) Secured

b) Unsecured

c) Convertible

d) Non-Convertible

e) Redeemable

f) Non-redeemable

g) Registered

h) Bearer

There are various types of bonds that are issued by financial institutions, government agencies, and corporations. They can differ in the features being offered, the coupon rates and additional attributes that can suit different investors:-

  • Callable Bond
  • Puttable Bond
  • Convertible Bond
  • Zero Coupon Bond

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