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The best GIC rates in Canada

Guaranteed investment certificates (GICs) come with a guaranteed rate of return for a specified term. Here are our top picks for the best GIC rates in Canada.

Sponsored 1-year non-registered GIC rate

  1. Featured

    5.15%$258 total return based on$5,000 investment
    Term
    1 Year
    Type
    Non-registered
    Minimum investment
    $100

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Term
Registered
Non-registered

1-yr

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Oaken Financial

MCAN Wealth

5-yr

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EQ Bank

MCAN Wealth

GICs Frequently Asked Questions

Why invest in a GIC?


Should I invest in a fixed or variable rate GIC?


How long should I lock in a GIC for?


Where can I get more than a 5% GIC in Canada?


What will GIC rates be in 2024?


What is the difference between CDIC versus Provincial GIC insurance?


What are some alternative investment options to GICs?


What is the highest paying GIC rate in Canada?


Why are 1 year GIC rates so high?


Historical 1-year and 5-year non-registered GIC rates

Our guide to GICs in Canada

Canadians' interest in GICs have been on the rise in recent years as they are considered to be safe investments. There are many things to consider when shopping around for GICs - and we have broken it all down for you. 

What is a GIC?

A GIC, guaranteed investment certificate, is an investment product that has a guaranteed rate of return for a specified duration of time. It is deemed to be a safe and extremely low-risk type of investment.

With a GIC, you deposit your money at a bank or other financial institution for a specific period of time (known as the “term”), and they will guarantee you a return of the principal (the initial amount you invested) plus pay you in the form of interest. GIC terms can vary anywhere from as little as 30 days up to 10 years, and typically, the longer you're willing to invest your money, the higher the interest rate you'll receive.

Are GICs worth it for you? It depends on your situation and financial goals, but in general, GICs are particularly useful if:

  • You have a short investment horizon (need access to your cash soon for an upcoming retirement, home purchase, wedding etc. and can’t risk any losses to your initial deposit)
  • You don’t want to be tempted to spend your money (GICs lock away your cash for a set term)
  • You don’t want to take on any investment risk in the stock market

Highest GIC interest rates (non-redeemable)

  • Best 1 year GIC: 5.50% at MCAN Wealth
  • Best 2 year GIC: 5.30% at Saven Financial
  • Best 3 year GIC: 4.90% at Saven Financial and MCAN Wealth
  • Best 4 year GIC: 4.80% at MCAN Wealth
  • Best 5 year GIC: 4.75% at MCAN Wealth and ICICI Bank 

Canadian GIC rates comparison

Compare Canadian GIC rates (non-redeemable and non-registered) using the most popular term lengths in the table below.

How are GIC rates calculated?

Interest on GICs is typically paid out either monthly, biannually, annually, at their maturity or on a predetermined date set by the provider.

There are two types of interest associated with GICs - simple interest and compound interest.

Simple interest is paid on the initial principal only. For example, if you invested $50,000 into a two-year GIC with 1.5% interest, you’d receive a return of $750 each year. Following this logic, at the end of your two-year term, you’d have made $1,500 in interest.

Alternatively, compound interest is paid on the principal as well as the interest earned at every interval (essentially, “interest on top of interest”). If we were to use the same GIC in the example above, your total interest earned after two years would be $1,511.25. That’s a gain of $11.25 on top of your simple interest. And, if you decided to let your interest compound monthly instead of yearly, you’d net an even higher extra amount at $21.76.

Types of GICs in Canada

1. Cashable GICs

For those looking to take advantage of higher GIC interest rates but don't feel comfortable locking their money away for too long, cashable GICs are the perfect solution. These GICs typically only involve a one-year term and have the option to cash out early after 30 to 90 days, providing an ideal solution for fluctuating interest rates. If the rate rises above that of your GIC, you can always cash out and put your money somewhere else. If it falls lower, you'll be locked into a guaranteed higher percentage for the length of your term. It's essentially a win-win. The only drawback? Cashable GICs tend to have lower interest rates than others due to their flexibility.

2. Registered GICs vs. non-registered GICs

Registered GICs exist inside registered investment accounts such as TFSAs and RRSPs, meaning you won't have to pay taxes on the interest accrued. That being said, you will have to obey the rules of these accounts when it comes to contribution limits.

Non-registered GICs are essentially the opposite of registered GICs: while the interest you earn is taxable, there's also no limits on what you can invest.

3. Redeemable GICs vs. non-redeemable GICs

Similar to cashable GICs, redeemable GICs also allow you to cash out early if desired. The main difference? Redeemable GICs will typically allow you to access you money early without being subjected to a waiting period. The only catch is that you may get saddled with lower-than-average early redemption rates.

The opposite of redeemable GICs, non-redeemable GICs won't allow you to access you money early without paying a penalty fee. That being said, you'll earn much higher interest.

4. Market-linked GICs

If you're looking for a GIC with some higher potential returns, a market-linked GIC may be right for you. These function as a sort of hybrid: while they're still technically GICs, they're also linked to a particular stock market index and can only guarantee a minimum and maximum total return as a percentage. Unlike other GICs, these are subject to market volatility.

5. Foreign currency GICs

Foreign currency GICs are just what they sound like: GICs in a foreign currency (typically USD GICs). Investing in a U.S. currency GIC would diversify your portfolio, and since the US dollar is generally stronger than ours, you could benefit from the difference.

Short-term vs. long-term GICs

One of the first things you should think about when shopping for a GIC (aside from the rate itself) is whether you’re interested in a short or long-term investment. The answer to this question will largely depend on your financial goals.

Short-term GICs are a great option for those who have a short-term savings goal and want to prioritize liquidity. They take less than a year to mature, and the principal is guaranteed with an advertised rate of interest. 

Long-term GICs, on the other hand, have terms of one year or longer and typically carry higher interest rates than their short-term counterparts. These are perfect for investors with long-range savings goals (such as a downpayment on a house) or a desire to use their GIC as passive monthly income.

How are GICs insured?

The Canadian Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) is a federal Crown Corporation that insures eligible deposit accounts (including GICs as well as chequing and savings accounts) made with its member banks; it’s fully backed by the Government of Canada. CDIC coverage is automatically in place for eligible accounts at CDIC member banks at no additional charge to consumers. (You don’t need to purchase insurance – it’s your bank’s insurance policy).

CDIC insurance will cover up to $100,000 of your deposits and protect your money in the highly unlikely scenario that the financial institution you bank with closes its doors or goes bankrupt. Since CDIC was founded in 1967, Canadians haven’t lost a single dollar in deposits. Over 80 banks in Canada have CDIC insurance including all of Canada’s big five banks as well as several online-only institutions like EQ Bank and Oaken Financial.

GIC Pros and Cons

Pros of GICs:

  • Guaranteed Returns: GICs provide a guaranteed return on your initial investment, regardless of market fluctuations. This makes them a low-risk investment option.
  • Security: GICs are considered a safe investment because they are typically issued by banks, credit unions or other financial institutions that are insured by the government. This means that even if the institution fails, your principal investment is protected.
  • Fixed Interest Rates: GICs offer fixed interest rates, which means you know exactly how much you will earn on your investment. This can be beneficial if you prefer stability and predictability.
  • Diverse Term Options: GICs come with a variety of term options, ranging from a few months to several years. This allows you to choose the best term deposit that aligns with your investment goals and financial needs.

Cons of GICs:

  • Lower Returns: Compared to other investment options, such as stocks or mutual funds, GICs generally offer lower returns. This is because they are low-risk investments.
  • Lack of Liquidity: GICs are not easily accessible before their maturity date. If you need to withdraw your funds before the term ends, you may face penalties or forfeit some of your interest earnings.
  • Inflation Risk: GICs may not keep pace with inflation, meaning that the purchasing power of your investment may decrease over time. This is especially true for GICs with longer terms.
  • Opportunity Cost: By investing in a GIC, you may miss out on potential higher returns from other investment options. If you have a higher risk tolerance and a longer investment horizon, you may consider exploring other investment avenues like stocks or ETFs using a robo-advisor or online broker.

It's important to consider your own financial goals and risk tolerance before investing in GICs. Consulting with a financial advisor can also provide guidance for your specific situation.

GIC Investment strategies

GIC Laddering 

GIC laddering is a simple way to maximize the return from your GIC investments, without locking in all of your money into one long-term investment. With this strategy you divide your money into multiple GICs, with varying maturity dates. This means you're able to access your investment at regular intervals, when the GICs mature. This can also help take advantage of higher interest rates. 

Also read: How to make the most of rising GIC rates 

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