The best GIC rates in Canada for 2020

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by Ratehub.ca December 3, 2019 / No Comments

Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs) are low-risk investments that operate similarly to savings accounts. They come with guaranteed interest and included insurance. Unlike stocks or ETFs, GICs are a very safe, low-risk means of investing. By choosing and comparing the best GIC rates in Canada, you can strategically increase the return of your investments while keeping your money in pace with inflation.

Should I Invest in GICs?

GICs are a popular method of investing because they are very safe—the principal amount invested and the interest it earns are both guaranteed and insured. GIC Insurance is provided by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) or by provincial insurance, depending on the bank or credit union’s location.

Since GICs are incredibly safe, they are inaccessible until the GIC reaches the end of its term, also known as maturity.GICs are ideal for investors who have access to funds since money placed in a GIC isn’t accessible. In most cases, funds invested in GICs are locked in, meaning the investor can’t access the deposited money until the term is complete. Funds removed prematurely are subject to an early withdrawal penalty. We strongly recommend that you have an emergency fund before investing in GICs.

How to Choose the Right GIC

Choosing the right GIC depends heavily on the interest rate, term length, and purpose of the investment. While selecting the right GIC may seem as simple as picking the highest interest rate available, investing in a term that aligns with your financial situation and saving goals are much more important. Saving goals play a crucial factor in choosing the right GIC, as long term savings are best suited with long term GICs and short term GICs are suitable for short term savings.

In any case, a GIC with an interest rate exceeding 2% keeps up with Canadian inflation.

If you’re looking for a regular savings account, high-interest savings accounts (HISAs) or tax-free savings accounts (TFSAs) can be more beneficial than purchasing GICs. However, if you already have savings that you can access in case of an emergency, investing in a GIC might be suitable for you.

Canada’s Best GIC Interest Rates for 2020

Canada’s best GIC rates from 20 financial institutions are listed below. Many options listed in this article provide banks and credit unions, as well as online banks and deposit brokerages.

Best GIC Rates 2020 (Quick View)
Rate Term Type Provider
3.00% 1-Year Non-registered Peoples Trust Get this rate
2.62% 1-Year Non-registered Concentra Bank Get this rate
2.61% 1-Year Non-registered GICdirect Get this rate
2.55% 1-Year Non-registered Oaken Financial Get this rate
2.40% 1-Year Non-registered Alterna Bank Get this rate
2.40% 1-Year Non-registered EQ Bank Get this rate
2.35% 1-Year Non-registered MAXA Financial Get this rate
2.30% 1-Year Non-registered motusbank Get this rate
2.25% 1-Year Non-registered Steinbach Credit Union Get this rate
2.20% 1-Year Non-registered ICICI Bank Canada Get this rate
2.15% 1-Year Non-registered First Calgary Financial Get this rate
2.15% 1-Year Non-registered Tangerine Get this rate
2.15% 1-Year Non-registered Chinook Financial Get this rate
2.14% 1-Year Non-registered Haventree Bank Get this rate
2.08% 1-Year Non-registered B2B Bank Get this rate
2.00% 1-Year Non-registered Manulife Bank Get this rate
2.00% 1-Year Non-registered Mountain View Get this rate
1.90% 1-Year Non-registered Coast Capital Get this rate
1.45% 1-Year Non-registered Bank of Montreal Get this rate
1.45% 1-Year Non-registered HSBC Get this rate
1.45% 1-Year Non-registered RBC Royal Bank Get this rate
1.45% 1-Year Non-registered TD Bank Get this rate
1.20% 1-Year Non-registered Scotiabank Get this rate
0.55% 1-Year Non-registered CIBC Get this rate
0.50% 1-Year Non-registered CIBC Get this rate

 

1. EQ Bank

EQ Bank is a direct bank that operates exclusively online and considered one of Canada’s best online banks. EQ Bank GICs are CDIC-insured, with term deposits ranging from 90-days up to 5 years in length. A minimum investment of $500 is required for all GIC terms and with a maximum deposit of $200,000 per account.

EQ Bank is the digital subsidiary of Equitable Bank, Canada’s 9th largest bank.

EQ Bank is not available to residents of Quebec.

2. Oaken Financial

Oaken Financial is a CDIC-insured bank that provides some of the best interest rates on GICs available. Terms on Oaken Financial GICs range between thirty days to 5-years in length.

Investors have the option of purchasing registered or non-registered GICs. A minimum investment of $1,000 is required to invest in Oaken Financial’s CDIC-insured GICs.

Oaken Financial is a subsidiary of Home Bank and available to all Canadian citizens.

3. Omnia Direct

Omnia Direct is a division of WFCU Credit Union, Ontario’s sixth largest credit union, operating for over 75 years. The Windsor-based credit union operates entirely online but serves all of Canada. That means you can purchase Omnia Direct GICs online from the comfort of your own home.

Omnia offers US GICs as well as GIC terms ranging between 1-year and 5-years in length. Deposits require a minimum investment of $500 and come with insurance by the Deposit Insurance Corporation of Ontario. As an online-only bank, customer service is available through telephone and via email.

Omnia Direct is an Ontario-based credit union, though purchasing GICs is an option available to all Canadians.

4. GICdirect

GICdirect is a deposit broker that provides some of Canada’s most competitive rates on GICs since opening their doors in 1999. GICdirect specializes in term deposits. A minimum investment of $5,000 is required to purchase GICs. Deposits are insured depending on the province issuing the GIC.

The best part about GIC Direct is the term deposits rates do not come with any additional cost to the investor.

5. Alterna Bank

Alterna Bank is the digital subsidiary of Alterna Savings, one of Canada’s oldest and most reputable credit unions. Alterna Bank GICs offer terms that range between one to five years. Purchasing GICs with Alterna Bank requires investors to make a minimum investment of $500.

Alterna Bank is an online-only bank and available to all Canadian residents.

6. Innovation Credit Union

Innovation Credit Union might is a Saskatchewan based credit union. The financial institution is a federal credit union, meaning any Canadian can open an account and purchase GICs. A minimum investment of $1,000 is required.

Innovation Credit Union is available to all Canadian citizens.

7. ICICI Bank

ICICI Bank is a bank headquartered in India, but with subsidiaries all over the world, including Canada. ICICI Bank GICs to Canadian citizens with options of term deposits ranging between one to five years in term length, with redeemable and non-redeemable options available on GICs. A minimum deposit of $1,000 is required to purchase GICs.

ICICI Bank is available to all Canadian citizens.

8. Implicity Financial Credit Union

Implicity Financial is a Manitoba-based credit union that offers one of the best GIC rates available in Canada.

9. MAXA Financial

MAXA Financial offers GICs with a starting interest rate of 2.60%. Investments come with provincial insurance and require a minimum investment of $500.

MAXA Financial is not available to residents of Quebec.

10. Motive Financial

Motive Financial offers one to 5-year GIC rates starting at 2.56%. Rates go as high as 2.84%. Investments are CDIC insured, with interest on investments paid annually. Motive Financial GICs come with an option for automatic renewal and requires a minimum contribution of $1,000.

Motive Financial is not available to residents of Quebec.

11. Desjardins

Desjardins, also known as Canada’s first credit union, has provided Canadians with an alternative operating as one since 1901 in Quebec. As one of the most prominent financial institutions in Canada, Desjardins offers a wide array of financial products, including GICs. Terms range from 30-day to 10 years in length.

Dejardins is primarily available in Quebec, but open to all Canadian citizens.

12. Motusbank

Motusbank GIC rates start at 2.80% for a 1-year, registered GIC term. Interest rates on a 5-year registered GIC term go as high as 3.25%. An online-only bank, motusbank offers TFSA GICs for investors seeking tax-free interest on their investments.

Motusbank requires a minimum investment of $100 to open an account. As online-bank without the overhead of physical locations, motusbank currently provides one of the best GIC rates in Canada.

Motusbank products are not available to residents of Quebec.

13. Tangerine

Tangerine, one of Canada’s most popular no-fee bank accounts, offers a competitive GIC rate starting at 2.25% for a 1-year term. The online-bank provides rates starting at 90 days, with term deposits as long as 5-years in length. As a subsidiary of Scotiabank, Tangerine customers can enjoy the benefits of CDIC insurance.

Tangerine operates exclusively online.
Tangerine products are available to all Canadian citizens.

14. Parama Credit Union

Parama Credit Union is a Toronto-based credit union that offers one of the best GIC rates in Ontario, starting with 2.65% for a 1-year term deposit rate. Parama GICs pay interest annually and non-eligible. GICs purchased with Parama credit-union are provincially insured.

Opening an account can be done online and requires a minimum investment of $1,000. Parama offers its customers a mobile banking application that can help them monitor their finances at their convenience.

Parama Credit Union is available to all Canadian citizens.

15. Manulife Bank of Canada

Manulife Bank of Canada GIC rates starts at a rate of 2.00% on a 1-year term. Rates for a 5-year GIC come with 2.46% interest. Manulife Bank of Canada is one of Canada’s largest independent banks and requires a minimum investment of $2,500 to purchase GICs. The investments are CDIC.

Manulife Bank of Canada GICs is available to all Canadian citizens.

16. Royal Bank of Canada

RBC GIC rates start at 1.65% for a first-year term. As one of Canada’s top five banks, GICs are available for 30-day terms, beginning with an interest rate of 0.20%. Rates on a 10-year RBC GIC go as high as 2.40%. RBC also offers short-term GIC terms and requires a minimum investment of $1,000 for GIC purchase.

Royal Bank of Canada is one of Canada’s largest banks and is available to all Canadian citizens.

17. CIBC

As one of Canada’s largest banks, CIBC offers CDIC-insured, non-registered 1-year GIC terms. Interest in year terms starts at 1.65% for 1-year GICs. A 5-year GIC purchased through CIBC comes with 2.30% interest for a registered GIC.

CIBC is available to all Canadian citizens.

18. Scotiabank

Scotiabank offers GIC rates at 1.20% for a 1-year term. A 5-year term GIC with Scotiabank comes with 1.60% interest. Scotiabank GICs are CDIC insured. An account can be opened online with a minimum investment of $1,000.

Scotiabank products are available to all Canadian citizens.

19. Bank of Montreal

Bank of Montreal is one of the only Canadian banks currently offering a 10-year GIC term. 1-year GICs interest rates start at 1.45% and reach 2.20% on 5-year terms. A minimum investment of $1,000 is required.

BMO is available to all Canadian citizens.

20. TD Bank

TD Bank is one of the most prominent and largest banks in Canada. Currently, TD Bank offers GICs at a rate of 1.45% on a 1-year term. Rates for 5-year GICs go up to 2.20%. A minimum investment of $500 is required to purchase GICs with TD Bank.

TD Bank is available to all Canadian citizens.

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How do GICs work?

Banks and credit unions issue GICs and lend the funds invested to other people at a higher rate, often for loans. That’s why funds in GICs are locked in. Since loans come with a higher rate of interest, it allows the bank or credit union to provide the customer with a competitive interest rate. Funds are also inaccessible as well, which means the investment has ample time to mature.

Different Types of GICs

There are quite a few different types of GICs, and, though generally similar to one another, can pose significant tax-benefits, term conditions, and interest returns—depending on the type of GIC that you purchase.

Non-Registered and Registered GICs

Non-registered GICs allow investors to place their money into GICs without any limits on the investment, plus allow flexibility and tax advantages. A registered GIC is a guaranteed investment certificate that is registered, meaning that it is not taxed. You can keep RESPs, RRSPs, and TFSAs within a GIC to avoid paying taxes on interest accrued.

Registered GICs are registered in one of Canada’s savings deposit accounts (RRSP, RESP, RRIF, etc.), allowing interest growth with no tax deductions. Non-registered GICs are not registered with the government of Canada, meaning they are subject to higher taxation. Though non-registered GICs offer higher returns, interest gained is subject to higher tax.

RESP GICs

A Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) GIC is a government-approved savings account that helps parents save for their children’s future post-secondary tuition and other expenses. A GIC RESP can help investors save for their children’s education over many years.

RRSP GICs

A Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) GIC helps Canadians save for their retirement and save money from being taxed on the interest that they earn. A GIC RRSP is also an option for saving up for their first home.

TFSA GICs

A Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) GIC allows investors to earn interest without paying tax on the attention that they received. When using a GIC TFSA, be sure to keep investments beneath your yearly TFSA contribution limit.

Fixed-Rate and Variable-Rate GICs

Fixed-rate GICS and variable-rate GICs differ by how their rates change. With a fixed-rate GIC, the interest rate remains the same throughout the term. Fixed-rate GICs are the more popular type of GICs. Their fixed rate keep the promised amount of interest gained once the investment reaches its maturity date.

On the other hand, variable rates change. Variable-rate GICs offer rates that evolve and depend on the interest rate set by the financial institution. Prices can rise, but they can also fall, depending on the financial institution’s prime rate.

Market Linked GICs and Equity-Linked GICs

Market Linked GICs or Equity Linked GICs are GICs with interest rates determined by the stock market index. The return rate remains unknown until the end of the GIC term. If the market does well, so will your investment. If the market doesn’t do well, you’re investment won’t. However, your principal investment is still guaranteed and insured.

US and Foreign Currency GICs

US and Foreign Currency GICs are GICs purchased with foreign cash. It is crucial to know that the CDIC does not ensure the interest on these investments, meaning that on the chance that your financial institution goes out of business, you will not receive the attention that you have accrued. On the other hand, US and Foreign GICs rates tend to make better returns.

Cashable GICs

Cashable Guaranteed Investment Certificates (CGICs) is a cashable GIC that comes with a 1-year term and a 30 or 90-day limitation where your investments are inaccessible. Once the term period is complete, you are eligible for withdrawal. Due to the short time frame, cashable GIC rates are lower.

How to Purchase GICs

For such a conservative investment, there are quite a few ways, methods, and places to purchase GICs. Some options for purchasing GICs include online, in-branch, or through a broker. More details about each purchasing process are listed below.

Online

You can purchase GICs online through pages just like this one. Each bank and credit union, however, will have their terms and conditions surrounding their sign-up process. This is perhaps the fastest and easiest way to purchase and compare GIC rates.

Compare the Best GIC Rates in Canada Compare GIC Rates

 

Banks vs. Credit Unions

Let’s take a look at the differences between a bank and a credit union. Credit unions are financial cooperatives that are locally owned and have volunteer board members. Credit unions follow a not-for-profit module and – unlike banks – give back to its members by reinvesting profits back into the credit union and by issuing dividends to its members.

Volunteers run a credit union’s board, and each member, regardless of deposit size, gets a vote in business matters. Banks, meanwhile, operate as for-profit businesses. These include the “Big Five” (Scotiabank, TD Canada Trust, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Royal Bank of Canada, and Bank of Montreal), along with dozens of other, smaller entities. Investors in banks don’t have to be customers, and shareholders elect board members.

Direct vs. GIC Broker

There are two ways of buying GICs: directly, through the bank or credit union providing them, or through a GIC broker, also known as a deposit broker. Both have their respective advantages and disadvantages.

Using the GIC comparison charts above allows you to purchase GICs directly, meaning you won’t have to pay anyone for the GIC agreement that you choose since you’re making the decisions yourself.

GIC Brokers, or, as they’re formally known, deposit brokers, can provide some of the best GIC rates in Canada, but often require minimum deposits that can be quite high. Since deposit brokers are working for you, it is highly likely that you will be paying them a commission on the interest earned. Every GIC broker’s conditions vary from the next.

GIC Investing Strategies

It’s no secret that GICs are mostly long-term investments. Using different investing strategies can help improve the amount of money your investments make.

GIC Laddering

GIC Laddering is an investing strategy for GICs. A GIC Ladder is the process of breaking up your GICs by term agreement. By investing your savings in various GICs, you can access your funds sooner and choose whether or not to reinvest once the term is complete.

For example, instead of putting all of your investments into one GIC with a 5-year GIC term, some seeking to invest their savings in GICs might find a GIC laddering a more suitable option for their investing goals.

GIC Laddering means splitting up the grand sum of the investment into several GICs with varying terms (a 1-year GIC, a 2-year GIC, a 3-year GIC, a 4-year GIC, and a 5-year GIC).

By dividing your funds across a GIC ladder, you’ll be able to access your savings at different times. A GIC ladder also allows investors to make decisions over several years, without having an entire investment locked up in a one-term GIC.

Compare the Best GIC Rates in Canada Compare GIC Rates

 

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