The best GIC rates in Canada for 2020

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by Ratehub.ca March 3, 2020 / No Comments

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Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs) are low-risk investments that are somewhat similar to savings accounts. They come with guaranteed interest and included insurance. Unlike stocks or ETFs, GICs are much safer and 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.

GICs are a suitable investment for Canadians who would rather take the safer route when if some to investing. As an investment product, they’re safe and conservative, as well as predictable, making them flexible to various saving and investing goals.

Ratehub.ca finds the best saving and investing products available in Canada, and compares them for your convenience. This blog provides more details about the GICs currently available in Canada, as well as the best GIC rates in Ontario and the rest of Canada.

 

The best GIC rates in Canada for 2020

Below, you’ll find the best GIC rates currently available in Canada, from various commercial and independent banks, credit unions, and GIC brokerages.

If you’d like more information on GICs, visit our GIC basics or scroll to the bottom section of this article.

This chart shows some of our best GIC rates with a 1-year term.

Rate Provider
2.35% EQ Bank Get this rate
2.30% Concentra Bank Get this rate
1.80% Alterna Bank Get this rate
1.50% CIBC Get this rate
 

1. EQ Bank

More details about EQ Bank
  • EQ Bank is the digital subsidiary of Equitable Bank, Canada’s 9th largest bank.
  • EQ Bank is a Schedule 1 bank and a member of the CDIC.
  • The online bank offers non-registered GICs, along with a hybrid savings account.
  • All GIC terms come with a maximum deposit limit of $200,000 per account.
  • Terms on GICs range from 3 months up to 5 years, with various monthly options available.
  • EQ Bank GICs require a minimum investment of $100.
  • EQ Bank customers are also required to open a high-interest savings account when purchasing GICs.
  • EQ Bank is not available to residents of Quebec.

Why invest through EQ Bank?

  • Excellent GIC rates and term flexibility.
  • One of Canada’s best savings accounts options.
  • Money transfers available through TransferWise.
  • Sleek mobile app and online interface.

Sign-up Process

  1. To purchase EQ Bank GICs, you must be a Canadian resident, the age of majority (18 or 19) in your province, and have a Social Insurance Number (SIN).
  2. EQ Bank will then perform a soft credit check to confirm your identity through TransUnion.
  3. If EQ Bank is unable to do this through TransUnion, you will be required to verify your identity at a Canada Post outlet. Please bring a piece of Government ID or document containing your address (if your ID doesn’t have your address on it).
  4. EQ Bank will also send you a Canada Post DSS number via e-mail, which you’ll require to confirm your identity.
 

2. motusbank

More details about motusbank
  • motusbank is the digital subsidiary of Meridian Credit Union, Canada’s third-largest credit union.
  • Though motusbank is owned by a credit union, it is a CDIC-insured, Schedule 1 bank that exists entirely online.
  • motusbank offers a wide variety of registered and non-registered GIC options.
  • The minimum investment for any motusbank GIC is $100.
  • Terms for GICs range from 30-days to 5-years, with GIC laddering options available.
  • motusbank is available in Quebec.

Why invest through motusbank?

  • A CDIC-insured institution with some of the highest interest rates for savings and investing accounts currently available in Canada.
  • Various exceptional banking accounts available, including High-Interest Savings Accounts, TFSAs, RRSPs, and chequing accounts.

Sign-up Process

  1. You can sign-up for motusbank online, but you must be a Canadian resident and the age of the majority of your province. You’ll also require an e-mail address.
  2. You are required to open a savings account with motusbank if you would like to purchase GICs.
  3. Upon sign-up, you are also required to fill out a brief questionnaire that requires information about your Canadian residency and your personal banking preferences, along with the reason for opening the investment.
  4. You’ll then be required to submit your completed information; motusbank will guide you with any remaining details and contact you within a few days.
 

3. Concentra Bank

More details about Concentra Bank
  • Concentra Bank is a wholesale bank, representing various Canada credit unions, as well as financial trusts based in Saskatchewan.
  • Concentra Bank is a Schedule 1 bank and CDIC-insured financial institution.
  • Concentra offers its customers estates and trusts, residential mortgages, registered plans, and GICs.
  • When it comes to GICs, Concentra Bank offers redeemable and non-redeemable GICs, with TFSA, RESP, RRSP, RRIF, and non-registered GIC options.
  • There are also joint GIC investing options.
  • Minimum deposits range from $500 to $5,000 for non-redeemable GICs. 
  • Minimum deposits for redeemable GICs are $5,000.
  • Concentra Bank is not available in Quebec.

Why invest through Concentra Bank?

  • Serving Canadians and Canadian credit unions since 1952.
  • High-interest rates make the large minimum deposit worth the investment.
  • Specializes in GICs.

Sign-up process

  1. Concentra GICs require the investor to have Canadian residency, be at least 18 years of age, and living outside of Quebec. You will also be asked if the investment is a joint account.
  2. You will then be asked how you would like your investment to be handed at maturity. You have the option of renewing the GIC term or depositing the money into a Concentra High-Interest Savings Account, which you are required to open upon sign-up. You’ll also have to state the purpose of the investment, as per Canadian law.
  3. You are then required to submit your personal information, such as your name, date of birth, and SIN number. 
  4. After that, you’re required to submit your employment information.
  5. Finally, you’ll be asked to peruse Concentra Bank’s compliance policy, confirm your application, and, finally, make your first deposit. 

 

4. Oaken Financial

More details about Oaken Financial
  • Oaken Financial is a subsidiary of Home Bank, a CDIC-insured Schedule 1 bank.
  • Along with GICs, Oaken Financial offers a High-Interest Savings Account.
  • Oaken Financial GICs are available as non-registered and registered investments, with short-term and long-term options available, ranging from 30-days to 5-years in length.
  • All GICs, regardless of type, require a minimum deposit of $1,000.
  • Oaken Financial offers Personal or Commercial investment options.

Why invest through Oaken Financial?

  • Winner of the 2020 Personal Finance Awards for the best One-Year GIC and the best Five-Year GICs in Canada.
  • A simple and quick sign-up process.
  • Online banking options available.

Sign-up process

  1. You can open an Oaken Financial GIC online, as well as by telephone, in-person, or by mail.
  2. Opening an Oaken Financial GIC online requires your personal information, SIN, and e-mail address.
  3. You’ll then have to answer questions about the Investment, your personal details, and finally, submit your application.
 

5. Access Credit Union – Best Credit Union for Residents of Manitoba

More details about Access Credit Union
  • Access Credit Union is a credit union based in Southern Manitoba. The credit union has $2.6B in assets under management and 51,000 members.
  • Access Credit Union offers banking, borrowing, and investing options, which include GICs, mutual funds, and an online brokerage.
  • GICs with Access Credit Union are insured by the Credit Union Deposit Guarantee Corporation.
  • Access Credit Union GICs terms are grouped by months, with options ranging between 12 to 60 months.
  • Joint GIC investing options available. 

Why invest through Access Credit Union?

  • Access Credit Union offers some of the best GIC rates in Manitoba
  • Various banking, investing and borrowing options for residents of Manitoba.

Sign-up process

  1. Before filling out the term deposit requirements for Access Credit Union, you should make sure that you’re at least 18 years of age, a resident of Manitoba, and have no declared bankruptcy in the last 7 years.
  2. You must also be a member of the credit union to purchase GICs through them. 
  3. After filling out the term deposit application, Access Credit Union members can submit their term deposit application.
 

6. Omnia Direct

More details about Omnia Direct
  • Omnia Direct is a digital division of WFCU Credit Union, Ontario’s sixth largest credit union. It has been operating in Windsor for 75 years.
  • The Windsor-based credit union issues GICs, mortgages, and loans.
  • Omnia Direct operates entirely online but serves all Canadians, meaning anyone can purchase Omnia Direct GICs online.
  • Omnia offers non-registered GIC terms ranging between 1-year and 5-years in length.
  • The digital credit union also offers one-year US GIC investments.
  • Minimum investment of $500.
  • Deposits require a minimum investment of $500 and come with insurance from the Deposit Insurance Corporation of Ontario (DICO).
  • As an online bank, customer service is available through telephone and via email.
  • Omnia Direct GICs are available only to residents of Ontario.

Why invest through Omnia Credit Union?

  • Straightforward sign-up process.
  • Competitive GIC rates.
  • Low minimum deposit requirement.

Sign-up process

  1. After filling out the online application, Omnia Direct provides its customers with a pre-printed cheque. Investors are required to interest their own name on the cheque, as written on the application, as well as the current date.
  2. New customers are then to write a cheque for the amount that they’d like to deposit into the account. The amount must match the online application.
  3. The cheque must then be sent to Omnia Direct.
  4. The term deposit will be activated upon receipt of the deposit.
 

7. GICdirect

More details about GICdirect
  • GICdirect is a GIC brokerage that provides some of Canada’s most competitive rates on GICs from provincial credit unions in Canada.
  • Since opening its doors in 1999, GICdirect has specialized in term deposits.
  • A minimum investment of $5,000 is required to purchase GICs through GICdirect.
  • Deposits are provincially insured, varying by the province of the institution issuing the GIC.
  • GICdirect deposits rates do not come with any additional cost to the investor.

Why invest through GICdirect?

  • As a term deposit brokerage, GICdirect specializes in finding the best possible GIC rates for its clients.
  • GICdirect works with over 40 credit unions and banks to find the best GIC rates available in Canada for its clients.
  • GICdirect charges its clients no commissions or fees, and even aggregates the best rates into a well-performing GIC laddering strategy.

Sign-up process

 

8. Alterna Bank

More details about Alterna Bank
  • Alterna Bank is the digital subsidiary of Alterna Savings, the second oldest credit union in Canada.
  • The bank account offers its customers a variety of no-frills banking products with excellent interest rates and flexibility.
  • Alterna Bank GICs are available for registered and non-registered investments, with terms ranging from 1-year to 5-years in length.
  • Alterna Bank GICs require a minimum investment of $500.
  • While owned and operated by a credit union, Alterna Bank is a CDIC-insured Schedule 1 bank.
  • Alterna Bank is an online-only bank and available to all Canadian residents.

Why invest through Alterna Bank?

  • Personal Finance Awards winners for three years in a row.
  • Additional products with consistently high-interest rates and joint account options.
  • Easy sign-up process.

Sign-up process with Alterna Bank

  • During the signup process, you’ll be asked to provide your personal and employment information, along with your SIN number.
  • Once that is complete, you’ll be asked to confirm your identity and make a deposit.
  • Following your identity confirmation and deposit, you’ll be able to submit your application.
 

9. Manulife Bank of Canada

More details about Manulife Bank of Canada
  • Manulife Bank of Canada is a subsidiary of Manulife Financial Corporation, a financial service provider and insurance corporation.
  • Manulife Bank of Canada is one of Canada’s largest independent banks but does not own any physical bank branches
  • The CDIC-insured, Schedule 1 bank offers a variety of financial products, including registered and non-registered GICs. 
  • GIC terms range from 30 days to 5 years in length.
  • Long-term GICs (over one year) through Manulife Bank of Canada require a minimum investment of $2,500 and a minimum deposit of $10,000 for monthly interest payments.
  • Short-term (under one year) GICs require a minimum investment of $25,000. 
  • Manulife Bank of Canada GICs are available to all Canadian citizens.

Why invest through Manulife Bank of Canada?

  • Manulife Bank of Canada GICs come with flexible term deposit options.
  • Manulife Bank of Canada offers a variety of additional financial products and is a member of the EXCHANGE Network and ACCEL Network.
  • There are no setup charges or maintenance fees for GICs.

Sign-up process with Manulife Bank of Canada

  • You can apply for Manulife Bank of Canada by choosing the term you’d like to purchase below.
  • A GIC broker will be in touch with you at no cost.
 

10. Innovation Credit Union

More details about 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.
 

11. ICICI Bank

More details about ICICI Bank
  • ICICI Bank is a global bank headquartered in India, with subsidiaries all over the world, including Canada.
  • ICICI Bank GICs are available in various options, ranging between 1-year to 5-years in term length.
  • There are 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.
 

12. MAXA Financial

More details about MAXA Financial
  • MAXA Financial offers registered savings accounts.
  • All GICs require a minimum investment of $500.
  • Investments come with provincial insurance.
  • MAXA Financial is not available to residents of Quebec.
 

13. Implicity Financial Credit Unions

More details about Implicity Financial Credit Union
  • Implicity Financial is a Manitoba-based credit union that offers one of the best GIC rates available in Canada.
  • The digital credit union offers rates between 1-year and 5-years in length, ranging from 2.4% to 2.75%.
  • Various options for registered and non-registered GICs are available.
 

14. Motive Financial

More details about Motive Financial
  • Motive Financial offers 1-year to 5-year GIC terms.
  • Interest in Motive Financial GICs is paid annually.
  • Investments are CDIC insured.
  • 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.
 

15. Desjardins

More details about Desjardins
  • Desjardins is the first and oldest Canadian credit union.
  • It has provided Canadians with an alternative banking option since 1901.
  • As one of the most prominent financial institutions in Canada, Desjardins offers a wide array of financial products, including GICs.
  • Terms for Desjardins GICs range from 30-days up to 10 years in length.
  • Desjardins is available to all Canadian citizens, though the credit union is mostly in Quebec.

 

16. Tangerine

More details about Tangerine
  • Tangerine is one of Canada’s most popular no-fee bank accounts.
  • Currently, the bank offers competitive GIC rates for terms ranging between 90-days and 5-years.
  • The digital bank offers various types of GICs, including registered and non-registered GICs.
  • As a subsidiary of Scotiabank, Tangerine customers can enjoy the benefits of CDIC insurance and access to Scotiabank and Global ATM Network ATMs.
  • Tangerine operates exclusively online and is available to all Canadian citizens.

 

17. Parama Credit Union

More details about Parama Credit Union
  • Parama Credit Union is a Toronto-based credit union that offers one of the best GIC rates in Ontario.
  • Parama GICs pay interest annually and are non-eligible.
  • GICs purchased with Parama credit-union are provincially insured by the Deposit Corporation of Ontario (DICO).
  • Opening an account can be done online and requires a minimum investment of $1,000.
  • Parama offers its customers online and mobile banking options that can help them monitor their finances at their convenience.
  • Parama Credit Union is available to all Canadian citizens.

 

18. Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)

More details about Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)
  • As one of Canada’s top major commercial banks, RBC offers all types of GICs,
  • RBC offers GICs that are redeemable and non-redeemable, with terms ranging from 30-days to 10-years.
  • Royal Bank of Canada is one of Canada’s largest banks and is available to all Canadian citizens.
 

19. CIBC

More details about CIBC
  • As one of Canada’s largest banks, CIBC offers CDIC-insured, non-registered GICs.
  • CIBC also offers a variety of financial products, ranging from bank accounts to mortgages.
  • CIBC offers GICs that range from 1-year to 5-years in lenght.
  • CIBC is available to all Canadian citizens.

 

20. Scotiabank

More details about Scotiabank
  • Scotiabank offers GIC rates at 1.20% for a 1-year term.
  • An account can be opened online with a minimum investment of $1,000.
  • Scotiabank GICs are CDIC insured.
  • Scotiabank products are available to all Canadian citizens.

 

21. Bank of Montreal (BMO)

More details about Bank of Montreal (BMO)
  • Bank of Montreal is one of the oldest banks currently operating in Canada.
  • As one of Canada’s “Big Five” banks, BMO offers a variety of savings, spending, and investing products, including GICs.
  • BMO offers all types of GIC terms, including registered and non-registered GICs.
  • A minimum investment of $1,000 is required to open a BMO GIC.
  • BMO is available to all Canadian citizens.

 

22. TD Bank

More details about TD Bank GICs
  • TD Bank is one of the most prominent and largest banks in Canada.
  • Currently, TD Bank offers GICs that require a minimum investment of $500.
  • TD Bank serves all Canadian citizens.

 

Read our blog: When GICs make sense for investing

 

What is a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC)?

  • A Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) is a term-deposit investment that comes with a guaranteed return.
  • GICs are among the safest investments available in Canada, as interest and the principal investment are both guaranteed and insured.
  • GICs are either insured by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) or by provincial insurance.
  • Funds invested in GICs are inaccessible for the duration of the investment’s term, unlike a traditional high-interest savings account or chequing account.
  • GICs are available in various terms, ranging from 30 days to 10-years in length.
  • Interest offered for a GIC varies by type and term.
  • There are different types of GICs, some of which can offer multiple tax benefits.

 

How do GICs work?

  • Money invested in a GIC is inaccessible until the end of its term.
  • Banks, independent lenders, and credit unions use the term to issue money invested in GICs to other customers.
  • The money invested in a GIC is then lent out at a higher interest rate, often as loans.
  • The money invested in the GIC is then returned to the investor, with the agreed interest rate, at the end of the term.

 

How to choose the right GIC

Generally speaking, GICs tend to work in the exact same fashion, differing mainly by the provider, the term, the interest rate, and the type of GIC.

When looking for a GIC, you’ll want to take these factors into consideration:

  • Interest rate: You should always choose an interest rate that keeps up with inflation. Canadian inflation currently fluctuates between 2% and 2.5%. An interest rate that matches or exceeds the inflation rate should keep your investment in pace or beat inflation.
  • Term length: Choosing a term length that aligns with the purpose behind investing will determine which GIC is right for you. Since term length ranges from 30 days to 10 years, understanding the purpose of saving or investing is a crucial factor, especially since GIC withdrawals are subject to monetary penalties. If you’re looking for a regular savings account, High-interest Savings Accounts (HISAs) or Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs) are a more suitable option than GICs.
  • Finally, the type of GIC is an important choice in maximizing the power of your investment. Though GICs generally work the same, there are many different types of GICs that can earn you more money and save you more on taxation. The next section of this article explores in greater detail each type of GIC.

 

Different types of GICs

There are quite a few different types of GICs, all of which come with their own terms and conditions.

Non-Registered

  • Non-registered GICs allow investors to place their money into GICs without any contribution limits.
  • Interest earned in non-registered GICs is taxable according to the investor’s income bracket.

Registered

  • Registered GICs are registered with the Government of Canada. They come with contribution limits and earn tax-free interest, such as:

RESP GIC: 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 GIC: 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 GIC: 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.

If you have not reached your contribution limits for any of these accounts, you might consider maxing your registered accounts before contributing to a non-registered account.

Fixed-Rate and Variable-Rate

  • With a fixed-rate GIC, the interest rate remains the same throughout the term. They are the more popular type of GICs.
  • A variable-rate GIC offers rates that evolve and depend on the interest rate set by the financial institution. Rates fluctuate, depending on the financial institution’s prime rate.

Market Linked GICs and Equity-Linked

  • 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.

U.S. and Foreign Currency

  • 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 becomes insolvent, you may lose your investment. On the other hand, US and Foreign GICs rates tend to make better returns.

Cashable

  • 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

There are a few ways to purchase GICs, including online, directly through the bank or credit union issuing them, or through a broker.

Online

  • You can purchase GICs online through pages just like this one. Each bank or credit union has its own terms, conditions, and sign-up process. This is perhaps the fastest and easiest way to compare and purchase GIC rates from the comfort of your own home.

 

Compare the Best GIC Rates in Canada Compare GIC Rates

 

Direct: Banks and Credit Unions

  • GICs are available for purchase through a bank or credit union. Both have their respective advantages and disadvantages, but first, let’s take a look at the differences between banks and credit unions.
  • Credit unions are financial cooperatives that are locally owned and have volunteer board members. Credit unions follow a not-for-profit module and give back by reinvesting profits into the credit union.
  • Banks, meanwhile, operate as for-profit businesses and operate on a for-profit module.

 

GIC Brokerage

  • GIC Brokers can provide some of the best GIC rates in Canada.
  • Deposit brokers find rates for their clients. In return, the GIC brokerage gets a commission from the financial institution, resulting in no cost to the customer. Others charge the customer for their services. Every brokerage works differently from the next, which is why it’s important to know the terms and conditions before investing.

 

How to Purchase GICs

  • GIC laddering is an investing strategy where the investor places their GIC investment in various term-deposits, thus splitting up the grand sum of the investment into several GICs with varying terms.
  • For example, instead of putting the entire investment into one 5-year GIC, the investor would divide it between a 1-year, 2-year, 3-year, 4-year, and 5-year GIC.
  • By dividing the investment into various GICs, the investor can access their savings at different stages and take advantage of various interest rates.
  • Someone looking to build their own GIC ladder can open various GICs with the same or various institutions.

 

Are GICs right for you?

  • GICs are a suitable investment option for people who are risk-averse and prefer safer investing.
  • Because GIC deposits aren’t accessible until the end of the deposit’s term, the investment is best suited for persons who have access to cash in the event of an emergency or unforeseeable expense.
  • Funds removed prematurely are subject to an early withdrawal penalty. It is strongly recommended that you have an emergency fund before investing in a GIC of any term length.

 

Read our blog: When will GIC rates rise?

 

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