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HP 12C Financial Calculator

by HP
718 customer reviews
| 25 answered questions

List Price: $69.99
Price: $66.95 + $5.95 shipping
You Save: $3.04 (4%)
In stock.
Usually ships within 2 to 3 days.
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  • Calculator with built-in financial functions and statistics
  • Uses Reverse Polish Notation (RPN)
  • More than 120 built-in functions, including register-based cash-flow analysis
  • 10-character, 1-line LCD display
  • Device measures 5.0 x 0.6 x 3.1 inches (WxHxD)
58 new from $66.74 39 used from $33.99 4 refurbished from $49.95

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Product Description

Product Description

The HP 12C Financial Calculator features built-in financial functions and statistics, uses Reverse Polish Notation (RPN), more than 120 built-in functions, including register-based cash-flow analysis, 10-character, 1-line LCD display, Device measures 5.0 x 0.6 x 3.1 inches (WxHxD).It has 10-character, 1-line LCD display.


If you bought yourself a financial calculator during the 1980s, chances are it was this bad boy. Nothing has changed since its introduction--it still uses Reverse Polish Notation (RPN), is easy and versatile in programming, and has a thin, sturdy casing. Certainly, there's been newer, fancier calculators introduced since, but there's something to be said for the quality of classics.

The HP 12C's functions include all the basics--such as calculating APR, NPV, and IRR--and statistics are a snap. For students new to financial calculators, this is an excellent place to start. For the most part, the manual reads like a minitextbook, walking you through sample problems and situations followed by graphs and tables demonstrating the technique--and you can even check your results. The section on creating programs does seem to be written for the technically ignorant, addressing in detail how you could possibly benefit from using programs, but it'll still help you get the job done.

In general, it's a bit slower than newer models, just like last year's computer isn't as speedy as today's new release. On the plus side, it's just 3 by 5 inches and slips easily into a pocket. The bottom is printed with a few little cheat notes for common functions, which is nice for quick reference. The HP 12C's one-year warranty and available tech-support line offer reassurance this little workhorse will continue to be an industry standard for years to come. --Jill Lightner


  • Pocket size
  • Thorough and simple instruction manual
  • Competitive price


  • Calculates more slowly than modern machines
What's in the Box
Calculator, user's manual, installed batteries and carrying case

Product Information

Technical Details
Brand NameHP
Item Weight8.8 ounces
Product Dimensions6 x 3 x 1 inches
Item model numberHP12C
Batteries:1 Nonstandard Battery batteries required. (included)
Number of Items1
Size5 x 3 1/8
Manufacturer Part NumberHP12C
Technical Specification
Additional Information
Best Sellers Rank #1,735 in Office Products (See top 100)
Shipping Weight10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
Domestic Shipping Item can be shipped within U.S.
International Shipping This item is not eligible for international shipping. Learn More
Date First AvailableJune 1, 1999

Customer Questions & Answers

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

128 of 134 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 5, 2000
Why would you buy a 1980's calculator? Because it provides the best combination of form and function.
While other calculators have gone high-end and become curiosities of mathematics and graphics, HP's customers do not want to let go of the 12-C, despite the fact that HP has more powerful calculators at a slightly larger price. Here's why I think:
Just the right set of features. The average Joe using a financial calculator needs no more than the HP-12C provides.
Sturdy and strong. The keys have a wonderful feel.
Fits in a shirt pocket.
Very reliable. They've had two decades to iron out any bugs.
Large user base. Most financial courses will use this as the calculator of choice
Buy this calculator, if you need a financial calculator. You will not regret it -- I daresay that it will still be around when your kids need their own calculators.
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89 of 93 people found the following review helpful By E. Arentsen on November 15, 2002
I've been using this calculator so long, over fifteen years, that I can't imagine working without it. When I bought this thing it was alone in the field of financial calculators and the 12C is still the standard by which other calculators are judged. It has become the standard "tool of the trade" for financial professional types. I have a senior position with a leading money management firm and I require all of my financial analysts to learn how to master this tool. Learning to master the functions is like taking a review course in finance. The calculator can be used for a variety of financial functions including calendar (day count), interest, cash flow, IRR, compounding, NPV, standard deviation, weighted average, simple programming and more. The calculator is nearly indestructible which can be very handy when a trade goes against you and the calculator is suddenly flying across a trading room. The calculator has a nice form factor, the buttons are easy to use, it fits in a shirt pocket, and it has an auto shut off for battery conservation.
There are other calculators available from HP such as the 10B for about a third the price and the 17B for about the same price. The 10B is inferior to the 12C and I see little reason to buy it. The 17B has greater functionality than the 12C, but I feel it is harder to master, harder to navigate, and it does not fit in a shirt pocket. However, the 17B does allow users to work in standard algebraic or RPN modes. The 12 works only in RPN (Reverse Polish Notation) which can be difficult to get used to. For example using RPN to add 1 and 2 you enter 1 <Enter key> 2 <Plus key>. In simple algebraic notation the key sequence is 1 <Plus key> 2 <= or enter key>.
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89 of 103 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 27, 2000
I have used (and own) many of the available financial calculators on the market. I own and occasionally use a Hewlett-Packard 12C, but would "recommend" the HP-10B to my university finance students, both graduate and undergraduate, as well as to finance professionals. For non-professionals or for just run-of-the-mill arithmetic calculations there is no question, this is too much calculator.
HP makes the best products on the market for financial calculators; better than TI's and far superior to the Casio. The HP 12C is an older (ca. 1980's) model calculator which was a directly positioned competitor to the TI MBA, but HP's entry was far superior. The keys feel more solid, the machine itself "seems" better made, and the replaceable batteries were much better and lighter than the TI's rechargeable. So, TI gave up on this competition. Now, HP has cannibalized its own line with a superior product at a lower cost.
Having worn out more than one of each, my experience has been that the HP 10B offers everything needed for the serious finance student, at just over half the price.
The HP 10B, as well the 12C, have well written manual manuals, including examples on using the functions. HP has the manuals available on-line on their website for the inevitable time that the user needs it and has lost the original.
While there are cheaper financial calculators, it seems that the HP 10B level is the minimum I would recommend to professionals or students. Less expensive versions, while saving a few dollars, miss important features. As a general rule of thumb, if the calculator can perform the "IRR" function, as the the 12C and 10B can, it will be able to handle pretty much any calculation into which the finance student, professonal, or banker will run.
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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Deven T. Corzine on July 29, 2002
This is "the calculator that wouldn't die". There were several other excellent HP calculators in this same series, including the HP-11C and HP-15C (scientific calculators) and the HP-16C (the only Computer Science calculator ever made), all of which shared RPN functionality (think of RPN as an adding machine on steroids), programmability, extremely long battery life (measured in years, not months), a sturdy case and keypad, and the perfect size, weight and ergonomics. Unfortunately, the rest of this line was discontinued by the end of the 80's in favor of fancier models. (I own an HP-11C and an HP-16C as well as an HP-12C; they're all excellent calculators. Used HP-16C models often sell for more than the original list price, they're in such demand.)
So why is the HP-12C still around, virtually unchanged from its introduction in the 80's? Because Finance people are VERY conservative, and they just kept buying the 12C because that's what their mentors used, that's what classes were teaching with, and that's where the most help and information is available. They simply ignored newer, fancier models of financial calculators because the 12C already worked so well that nobody needed or wanted anything better! Sure, they're imported these days instead of being made in the USA as the original units were, but the design is unchanged. The packaging has changed, but the user manual has not.
This calculator is a classic, destined to remain with us for many years...
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