25th February 2024

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The best GIC rates in Canada for 2023

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The rates offered on guaranteed investment certificates (GICs) are higher than they have been in a long time. Currently, Canadians can purchase GICs with rates in the 5% range—an opportunity few would have thought possible just a few years ago. Below, you’ll find information on the best rates available right now. The best part? A member of our editorial team reviews these rates daily, so you can rest assured the information is accurate.

Best GIC rates in Canada

Banks, credit unions, trust companies and discount brokerages all offer GICs. Below, you’ll find the best rates available from a variety of financial institutions, including credit unions and Canada’s Big Six banks. The rates listed are for non-redeemable GICs held in non-registered accounts—the most popular type of GIC in Canada.

1-year 2-year 3-year 4-year 5-year
Achieva Financial 5.50% 5.60% 5.15% 5.00% 5.00%
Alterna Bank 4.90% 5.30% 4.95% 4.95% 4.95%
BMO 5.35% 5.30% 5.00% 5.35% 5.00%
CIBC 3.15% 3.20% 3.25% 3.30% 3.35%
EQ Bank 5.75% 5.70% 5.45% 5.20% 5.20%
Hubert Financial 5.55% 5.65% 5.25% 5.05% 5.05%
ICICI Bank Canada 5.00% 5.00% 4.50% 4.50% 4.50%
LBC Digital 5.60% 5.65% 5.35% 5.25% 5.30%
Meridian Credit Union 5.35% 5.30% 5.00% 5.00% 5.00%
Motive Financial 5.75% 5.75% 5.48% 5.28% 5.30%
National Bank 5.15% 5.30% 5.30% 5.30% 5.30%
Oaken Financial 5.75% 5.60% 5.40% 5.15% 5.15%
People’s Trust 5.80% 5.70% 5.10% 4.65% 4.50%
RBC 4.05% 4.25% 4.00% 4.00% 3.95%
Scotiabank 5.00% 4.30% 4.10% 4.45% 4.35%
Tangerine 5.70% 4.20% 5.35% 3.90% 3.85%
TD 5.35% 5.30% 5.00% 5.00% 5.00%

Compare GIC providers in Canada

What is a GIC?

Guaranteed investment certificates (GICs) are termed loans you make to a bank or other financial institution. When you purchase a GIC, you agree to a specific term (period of time) during which your deposit will remain with the bank. In return, the bank offers you a guaranteed interest rate. You can usually invest in a GIC for as little as $500, and there’s typically no fee associated with buying one. Certain types of GICs allow you to withdraw some or all of your money early.

GICs must be purchased within an account. There are many types of accounts to choose from, including non-registered accounts (such as a cash or margin account) and registered accounts, like an RRSP, TFSA, first home savings account (FHSA), registered education savings plan (RESP) or registered retirement income fund (RRIF). Investments in these accounts carry different tax implications, so consider speaking to an advisor or your financial institution if you’re unsure which is right for you. Once you’ve opened the account, buying GICs is pretty simple.

Video: GICs for all life stages

Types of GICs available in Canada

There are many different kinds of GICs, but these are the most common.

GIC pros and cons

Pros

  • GICs are very low-risk, since your principal investment is guaranteed to be paid back.
  • You’ll receive a guaranteed rate of interest when the GIC matures—no need to worry about market volatility.
  • GICs are eligible for Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) coverage, if purchased at a CDIC member institution. This means your principal is safe even if the financial institution fails.
  • You can hold GICs in both registered and non-registered investments accounts.

Cons

  • Your money will be tied up in the GIC until its maturity date, unless you cash it in early (perhaps paying a penalty) or you choose a redeemable GIC (likely with a lower interest rate than a non-redeemable GIC).
  • The interest rate you earn on a GIC may not be high enough to keep up with inflation. According to the Consumer Price Index, the current inflation rate in Canada is 3.8%.

Are GICs safe?

GICs are popular investments because they offer guaranteed returns. The financial institution selling the GIC is legally obligated to return the initial investment along with the agreed-upon interest. If the institution fails, additional protection comes into play. Many GICs in Canada, including foreign-currency GICs, are covered by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) for up to $100,000. Provincial insurers also provide coverage, with varying limits.

Province Coverage
Alberta The Credit Union Deposit Guarantee Corporation (CUDGC) covers 100% of all deposits, plus accrued interest, made with credit unions in Alberta.
British Columbia The Credit Union Deposit Insurance Corporation (CUDIC) covers 100% of all deposits made with credit unions in British Columbia.
Manitoba The Deposit Guarantee Corporation of Manitoba (DGCM) covers 100% of all deposits made with credit unions and caisse populaires in Manitoba.
New Brunswick The New Brunswick Credit Union Deposit Insurance Corporation (NBCUDIC) covers up to $250,000 per deposit type, including term deposits and GICs.
Newfoundland and Labrador The Credit Union Deposit Guarantee Corporation (CUDGC) covers up to $250,000 per deposit type, including term deposits and GICs.
Nova Scotia The Nova Scotia Credit Union Deposit Insurance Corporation (NSCUDIC) covers up to $250,000 per account type, including term deposits and GICs.
Ontario The Deposit Insurance Corporation of Ontario (DICO) covers up to $100,000 (including interest and dividends) in term deposits and GICs, plus offers unlimited protection for deposits held in registered plans.
Prince Edward Island The Credit Union Deposit Insurance Corporation (CUDIC) covers up to $125,000 in GICs and term deposits, plus offers unlimited protection for deposits held in registered plans.
Quebec L’Autorité des marchés financiers covers up to $100,000 in GICs, plus up to $100,000 in savings in registered plans.
Saskatchewan The Credit Union Deposit Guarantee Corporation (CUDGC) covers 100% of all deposits made with credit unions in Saskatchewan.

Video: How the Bank of Canada’s interest rate affects you

How to buy a GIC

GICs are available from banks and other providers. But before you contact a GIC issuer, it’s important to decide how much you’d like to invest. Minimum investments can range from $100 to $5,000, depending on the institution. So the amount you’d like to invest will narrow down your options. Then, shop around for a variable or fixed rate and decide on the accessibility and flexibility you wish for the funds. Finally, once you know your requirements, contact the financial institution of your choosing to start the process of purchasing. Here’s what you need to know about the different methods of purchasing GICs.

  • Online/by phone: You will either have an existing account set up with the financial institution or will have to submit an application and pieces of identification to verify your identity, including your Social Insurance Number (SIN). Once the account is created and linked to your primary funding source (like a chequing account), the principal investment is withdrawn and the GIC is issued. The rate table above can connect you to some of the top options in Canada right now.
  • In person: You can go into a branch to purchase a GIC. Once again, the process is easier if you already have a profile set up with the financial institution, but if not, you’ll need to make an appointment with pieces of ID, including your SIN, complete an application and follow the institution’s process to fund and issue your GIC.
  • Deposit brokerage: Deposit brokerages help you do the research and are tuned into the best options on the market today. They also know which GIC issuers are eligible for CDIC coverage, to ensure your investment is protected in case of a bankruptcy. They work with multiple banks, so you can dig through an assortment of rates and terms to find the option that works best for your needs. The broker is paid by the financial institution. Consumers should always pay the financial institution directly—not the broker. As brokers often bring multiple consumers’ investments to banks, those consumers are sometimes able to benefit from better rates—similar to the benefits of shopping in bulk. 

The best time to buy GICs

The best time to buy a GIC is when you’re saving up for a goal, like school tuition, a down payment or a trip. But it can also be good to invest in GICs when you’re feeling risk-averse. You might be considering a GIC as a way to balance your portfolio or to generate some passive income in retirement or if you’re taking time off work to raise your family, for example. While GICs don’t tend to have the highest interest rates of all the investment vehicles available to Canadians, they do offer a low-risk way to store money while earning some interest.

If you’re considering adding a GIC to your portfolio, you’ll want to pay attention to a few key numbers. The interest rate of the GIC itself is a good starting point. Generally, the higher the interest rate, the more attractive the product. It also pays to look at the likely rate of inflation or deflation you can expect during the term, to determine whether that factor is likely to eat into your profits or enhance them. If you find that the numbers work out, a GIC can be an excellent no-risk investment for a set period of time.

Frequently asked questions

Typically, GICs with long terms, such as five years, offer better interest rates than those with shorter terms, such as one year. When the opposite occurs, you have what’s called an “inverted yield curve,” explains Jason Heath, a fee-only, advice-only Certified Financial Planner (CFP) at Objective Financial Partners Inc. in Toronto. “It happens when interest rates are expected to go down significantly in the future,” he says. “Sometimes, it suggests a recession is coming.”


GICs may pay interest monthly, semi-annually, annually, at maturity or on a predetermined date. In addition to the payout schedule, you’ll want to understand how interest is compounded for the GIC you’re considering. 

  • With simple interest, the bank pays interest on the initial principal only. This means that if you invested $100,000 into a two-year GIC with a 1.25% return, you’d receive $1,250 in interest every year. So at the end of year two, the interest payout will total $2,500.
  • With compound interest, the bank pays interest on the initial principal and the interest earned at every interval. For the same investment as above, with compound interest, you’d earn $1,279.19 in interest after one year, and $2,515.52 at the end of the two-year period. That’s an extra $15.52. 

Remember that you are agreeing to the terms (the principal and how interest will be paid) when you sign the GIC contract. Once that’s done, you cannot change the terms and conditions. The payout terms will affect the amount of interest you will ultimately earn, so it’s important that you review them carefully. 


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