A zero- coupon bond is a bond that makes no periodic interest payments and is sold at a deep discount from face value. The buyer of the bond receives a return by the gradual appreciation of the security, which is redeemed at face value on a specified maturity date.
Zero coupon bonds may be long or short term investments. Long-term zero coupon maturity dates typically start at ten to fifteen years. The bonds can be held until maturity or sold on secondary bond markets. Short-term zero coupon bonds generally have maturities of less than one year and are called bills.