The quote can exist in several forms:
“Compound interest is the most powerful force in the universe.”
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“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world.”
I guess this is an urban legend and Einstein did not really say anything about compound interest, yet it is used so commonly nowadays. Here are the arguments:
“The earliest mention of this quote that anyone seems to have been able to find was a 1983 article in the New York Times. The only problem was that Einstein had died in 1955 – some 28 years earlier. So it seems most unlikely that the physicist ever uttered those words.”
From Ed Darrell,
“I wrote to the Albert Einstein Institute, to the American Institute of Physics, and to other places where people might know obscure sources of Einstein’s sayings and writings, to try to verify the quote. It surely did not turn up in Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations, nor in the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations. Those specialists in Einstein data and history could not verify the quote.” I hope we will stop using the quote!