The Best GIC Rates in Canada for 2019

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by Ratehub.ca June 4, 2019 / No Comments

*All rates current as of June 4, 2019.

Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs) are investments that are similar to savings accounts. GICs earn interest that is guaranteed and comes with insurance. Unlike stocks, GICs are a very safe and low-risk means of investing. There are several ways to maximize the return on your GIC investments. By choosing and comparing the best GIC rates in Canada, you can strategically increase the interest return on your investments.

If you’re new to GICs, learn everything beginners need to know by visiting Ratehub.ca’s “What is a GIC?” post. If you’re looking to buy GICs, you can find the best CDIC and provincially insured GICs in Canada below or calculate how much interest you can earn on by using our calculator for 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 is much more important. Savings 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 good for short term savings.

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 your money in GICs.

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.


The Best GIC Providers in Canada: 2019

Best GIC Rates 2019 (Quick View All)

GIC Provider

5-Year Rate

Type of GICs

motusbank 3.25% RSP, TFSA
Implicity Financial* 3.15% Non-registered, RSP, RIF, TFSA
MAXA Financial* 3.15% Non-registered, RSP, RIF, TFSA
Oaken Financial 3.15% Non-registered, RSP, TFSA
EQ Bank* 3.00% Non-registered, RSP, TFSA
Steinbach Credit Union 2.95% Non-registered, RSP, TFSA
Motive Financial* 2.76% Non-registered, RSP, TFSA
Parama Credit Union 2.85% Non-registered, RSP, RESP, RIF, TFSA
Alterna Bank 2.55% Non-registered, RSP, RIF, TFSA
Innovation Credit Union 2.50% Non-registered, RSP, RIF, TFSA
Manulife Bank of Canada 2.28% Non-registered, RSP, TFSA
CIBC 2.30% Non-registered, RSP, TFSA
RBC Royal Bank 2.20% Non-registered, RSP, RESP, RDSP, TFSA
TD Bank 2.20% Non-registered, RSP, RESP, RDSP, RIF, TFSA, USD
Bank of Montreal 2.20% Non-registered, RSP, TFSA, USD
HSBC 2.00% Non-registered, RSP, RESP, RIF, TFSA
National Bank 2.00% Non-registered, RSP, RIF, TFSA
Scotiabank 1.60% Non-registered, RSP, RIF, TFSA, USD

*Not available to residents of Quebec.


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 is an online-only bank.
Motusbank products are not available to residents of Quebec.


Oaken Financial

Oaken Financial is a CDIC-insured bank is another contender for providing the best GIC rates. Oaken Financial offers GIC terms from 30-days to 5-years in length. Investors have the option of purchasing registered and non-registered GICs, as well as TFSA GICs. Rates start at 2.30% and go as high as 3.00%. A minimum investment of $1,000 is required to purchase Oaken Financial’s CDIC-insured GICs.

Oaken Financial GICs are available to all Canadian citizens.


EQ Bank

EQ Bank is a direct bank that operates exclusively online and is quickly garnering a reputation as one of Canada’s best bank. GICs with EQ Bank are CDIC-insured, with rates starting at 2.35% for 90-day deposits. Rates on 5-year terms go as high as 2.80%.

EQ Bank is an online-only bank.
EQ Bank is not available to residents of Quebec.


Implicity Financial Credit Union 

Innovation Credit Union offer GICs with a starting interest rate of 2.40% for a 1-year term, with rates going up to 2.50% on a 5-year GIC.

Innovation Credit Union is available to all Canadian citizens.


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.


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.


Alterna Bank

Alterna Bank is a subsidiary of Alterna Savings, one of Canada’s oldest and most reputable credit unions. Alterna Bank offers GICs at 2.35% for 1-year GICs, and go up to 2.55% for a 5-year term. Purchasing GICs with Alterna Bank requires investors to make a minimum investment of $1,000. Investments with the credit union are CDIC-insured.

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


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 investments at their convenience.

Parama Credit Union is available to all Canadian citizens.


Innovation Credit Union 

Innovation Credit Union offer GICs with a starting interest rate of 2.40% for a 1-year term, with rates going up to 2.50% on a 5-year GIC.

Innovation Credit Union is available to all Canadian citizens.


Tangerine

  • 1-year GIC rate: 2.25%
  • Minimum Investment: None
  • CDIC Insurance

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 offers 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.


Manulife Bank of Canada

  • 1-year GIC rate: 2.10%
  • Minimum Investment: $2,500
  • CDIC Insured

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 are available to all Canadian citizens.


Royal Bank of Canada

  • 1-year GIC rate: 1.65%
  • Minimum Investment: $1,000
  • CDIC Insurance

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, starting 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.


CIBC

  • 1-year GIC rate: 1.65%
  • Minimum Investment: $1,000
  • CDIC Insurance

As one of Canada’s largest banks, CIBC offers CDIC-insured, non-registered 1-year GIC terms. Interest on 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.


Scotiabank

  • 1-year GIC rate: 1.20%
  • Minimum Investment: $1,000
  • CDIC Insurance

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.


Bank of Montreal

  • 1-year GIC rate: 1.45%
  • Minimum Investment: $1,000
  • CDIC Insurance

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.


TD Bank

  • 1-year GIC rate: 1.45%
  • RRSP, RESP, RDSP, RRIF Eligible
  • CDIC Insurance

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.


How Do GICs Work? 

Though banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions are known for issuing loans and lending money, GICs work in reverse. In this case, the client lends money to the bank in exchange for interest. This allows banks and credit unions to lend money to other customers. Once the GIC term is complete, the bank or credit union returns the investments with interest. Agreements and terms differ between financial institutions. 


Why Invest in GICs?

GICs are a prevalent investment option because deposits are insured, and interest is guaranteed. Your money is completely safe when placed in a GIC, and your principal investment is given back in its entirety with interest it earned upon maturity. GIC Insurance is provided by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) or Provincial Insurance, depending on the bank or credit union.

GICs pose a minimal risk as well, making them a popular option for conservative investors, or persons who have a low-risk tolerance.


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 is typically geared towards parents looking to save for their children’s educational future over a lifetime. 

RRSP GICs

A Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) GIC that 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 interest 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 change over time and depend on the interest rate set by the financial institution. Rates 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 interest 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

Purchasing GICs: Bank vs. Credit Union

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.

Buying GICs: 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: What is a GIC Ladder?

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 again 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.

This 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 splitting your funds in different GICs into 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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