Instruments of Money Market: Meaning and Types

Instruments of Money Market: Meaning and Types

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Chanchal Aggarwal
Senior Executive Content
Updated on Nov 23, 2023 00:39 IST

Money market instruments are short-term financial securities that provide liquidity and safety for investors. These include Treasury Bills, Commercial Papers, Certificates of Deposit, and Repurchase Agreements, offering low-risk investment options with maturities typically less than one year.


Money market instruments are short-term, low-risk financial assets. It serves as an avenue for investors to park their surplus funds and earn modest returns. These instruments are highly liquid and provide stability to portfolios. Common types include Treasury bills, commercial paper, certificates of deposit, and repurchase agreements. Treasury bills are government-issued debt with maturities of up to a year. Commercial paper represents short-term loans by corporations. Certificates of deposit are time deposits offered by banks. Repurchase agreements involve selling and repurchasing securities. These instruments offer safety liquidity and suit investors seeking capital preservation and a moderate income level.

So, scroll your screen down and understand what are money market instruments and their features. Let’s begin! 

Table of Content

What is a Money Market?

The money market is a financial segment where short-term borrowing and lending of funds occur. It encompasses instruments like Treasury bills, certificates of deposit, commercial paper, and short-term bonds. Money market investments are known for their low risk and high liquidity. It makes them suitable for investors seeking capital preservation and a place to park excess funds temporarily. Governments, corporations, and financial institutions often use these instruments to manage short-term cash needs. Money market transactions regulate short-term interest rates and overall economic liquidity.

Difference Between Money Market and Capital Market
Difference Between Money Market and Capital Market
The money market is a part of financial markets where instruments with high liquidity and short-term maturities are traded. Short-term securities with a maturity period of one year or more
What is Financial Market: Types and Importance
What is Financial Market: Types and Importance
Financial market is a place where various financial instruments, such as stocks, bonds, currencies, and derivatives, are traded. These allow investors to manage their financial risk and thus generate profits.
What is Primary Market: Types and Key Players
What is Primary Market: Types and Key Players
The primary market, or the “new issue market,” is a financial marketplace where companies issue new securities to the public for the first time to raise capital. Investors who more

Key Instruments of Money Market

Money market instruments are short-term financial assets that serve as avenues for individuals, governments, and institutions to manage their liquidity and meet short-term funding needs. Their high liquidity and low risk characterize these instruments. It makes them attractive options for investors prioritising capital preservation over high returns. Here are some common types of money market instruments:

Treasury Bills (T-Bills)

Treasury bills, or T-bills, are short-term debt securities governments issue to raise funds. They are one of the safest investments due to their backing by the government. T-bills have maturities ranging from a few days to one year. Investors buy T-bills at a discount to their face value and receive the full face value upon maturity, effectively earning interest on the difference. The investor’s return is the difference between the purchase price and face value. T-bills are highly liquid, low-risk instruments, making them suitable for investors seeking to preserve capital while generating modest returns in a short time frame.


Commercial Papers (CPs)

Commercial paper (CP) is a short-term debt instrument corporations issue to meet their immediate financing needs. It is an unsecured promissory note with maturities typically ranging from a few days to a year. Companies use CP to cover operational expenses, bridge cash flow gaps, or finance short-term projects. CP is usually sold at a discount to its face value. The difference between the purchase price and face value represents the investor’s return. Because creditworthy companies typically issue it, CP offers moderate returns with relatively low risk, making it an attractive choice for investors seeking short-term investments.

Certificates of Deposit (CDs)

Certificates of Deposit (CDs) are time deposits banks and financial institutions offer. They allow investors to deposit funds for a fixed period at a specified interest rate, generally higher than regular savings accounts. CDs have predetermined maturity dates, ranging from a few months to several years. They offer a safe investment option, as government agencies insure them up to a certain limit. Early withdrawal usually incurs penalties. CDs are suitable for risk-averse investors seeking steady returns and are willing to lock in their funds for a defined period. They provide a balance between security and yield.

Related Read – Features of Money Markets

Repurchase Agreements (Repos)

Repurchase Agreements (repos) are short-term financial transactions where one party sells securities to another party with an agreement to repurchase them at a slightly higher price in the near future. Repos are used as a means of borrowing and lending funds. They often involve government securities as collateral. These transactions provide short-term liquidity to the seller while offering a safe investment opportunity to the buyer. Repos are usually very short-term, often overnight. Banks and financial institutions also use them to manage their short-term cash needs or invest excess funds. They are low-risk instruments due to the collateral involved.

Money Market Mutual Funds (MMMFs)

Money Market Mutual Funds (MMMFs) are investment vehicles that pool funds from multiple investors to invest in a diversified portfolio of short-term, low-risk money market instruments. These instruments include Treasury bills, commercial paper, certificates of deposit, and short-term bonds. MMMFs aim to maintain a stable net asset value (NAV) of $1 per share, making them relatively safe and highly liquid investments. They provide easy access to the money market for individual investors while offering professional management. They are suitable for those seeking modest returns with minimal risk and a higher level of convenience than investing directly in individual money market instruments.


Diverse financial instruments cater to varied investor preferences and risk levels. Money market options like T-bills, commercial paper, CDs, and repos provide short-term, low-risk choices for preserving capital and gaining modest returns with liquidity. Money Market Mutual Funds (MMMFs) offer accessible ways to tap into these instruments through professional management. Crafting an effective investment strategy involves aligning these options with personal goals, risk tolerance, and liquidity to ensure a well-rounded approach.

Top FAQs on Instruments of Money Market

What are Treasury Bills (T-Bills)?

Treasury Bills are short-term government securities with maturities of less than a year. They are issued at a discount and redeemed at par value, offering a secure, low-risk investment option.

What are Commercial Papers?

Commercial Papers are unsecured, short-term promissory notes issued by large corporations. They are used to raise funds for immediate operational needs and are typically issued at a discount.

What are Certificates of Deposit (CDs)?

Certificates of Deposit are time deposits offered by banks with fixed maturity dates and interest rates. They provide a low-risk investment but with limited liquidity until maturity

What is a Repurchase Agreement (Repo)?

A Repo is a short-term borrowing arrangement where a party sells securities and agrees to repurchase them at a higher price on a specified date, effectively a loan secured by the securities.

What is a Banker's Acceptance?

A Banker's Acceptance is a short-term credit investment created by a non-financial company and guaranteed by a bank. It's often used in international trade.

About the Author
Chanchal Aggarwal
Senior Executive Content

Chanchal is a creative and enthusiastic content creator who enjoys writing research-driven, audience-specific and engaging content. Her curiosity for learning and exploring makes her a suitable writer for a variety ... Read Full Bio