Or, follow the prompts in the six fields at the top of the finder tool to input the amount you wish to invest in a GIC and your preferred investment term, along with other details, and the calculator will automatically display what your total return would be from each of the financial institutions listed. This allows you to compare the options side-by-side and decide which is the best for your money.
GICdirect is a deposit brokerage that works with more than 40 institutions to deliver some of the best rates on GICs. The main selling point here is that you can save time and effort researching various individual GIC options by going to GICdirect, which not only has access to what the big banks are offering, but also financial products from smaller regional institutions. Depending on the issuer, these GICs are insured by CDIC or a provincial body. GICdirect claims their GICs typically return 1.00% to 1.50% higher than local retail banks.
- 1-year: 1.40%
- 2-year: 1.50%
- 3-year: 1.60%
- 4-year: 1.70%
- 5-year: 1.80%
Disclaimer: GICdirect rates may vary by GIC type and province.
People’s Trust is a division of People’s Group, based out of Vancouver, BC. Although they may not have massive name recognition, they’ve been in operation since 1985—that’s 35 years. People’s Trust offers a variety of products with competitive interest rates, and they are CDIC-insured.
- 1-year: 1.85%
- 2-year: 1.95%
- 3-year: 2.05%
- 4-year: 2.10%
- 5-year: 2.20%
TD Bank: 5-year TD Canadian Banking & Utilities GIC
Also known as equity-linked, market-linked GICs are a sort of hybrid that is part GIC and part stock market investment. These GICs follow stock or bond indexes or equity market performance to determine their rates, so while the risks are greater, so are the potential rewards. If the markets do well, the 5-year TD Canadian Banking & Utilities GIC offers a maximum return of 15.00% over five years (the downside being that if the markets do really well, your return from this GIC won’t fully reflect that). As one of the big five banks in Canada, TD is a name that can put investors at ease and their TD Canadian Banking & Utilities GIC adds to this sense of security by guaranteeing your initial deposit plus a 1.75% minimum rate of return over the five-year term. That’s very likely to be lower than the rate of inflation, meaning your deposit will actually lose purchasing power by the end of the 5-year term; but if you’d like to benefit from the potential upside of the market, without risking your capital, this product may be an option for you.
- 2-year: Minimum return of 0.25% – up to a maximum of 4.00%
- 3-year: Minimum return of 1.00% – up to a maximum of 12.00%
- 5-year: Minimum return of 1.75% – up to a maximum of 15.00%
ICICI Bank Canada
Part of a global banking brand, ICICI Bank Canada offers competitive rates on redeemable and non-redeemable GICs with a low minimum deposit of $1,000. ICICI also offer foreign currency GICs, which are a great way to invest in a currency other than Canadian dollars, in preparation for a trip, or simply to diversify your portfolio. Note that foreign currency GICs are not CDIC-insured so if the institution fails, you will lose your gains.
- 1-year: 1.05%
- 2-year: 1.30%
- 3-year: 1.40%
- 4-year: 1.55%
- 5-year: 1.75%
Disclaimer: Rates highlighted above are for non-redeemable GICs.
GIC Achieva Financial
- 1-year: 1.90%
- 2-year: 1.95%
- 3-year: 2.00%
- 4-year: 2.10%
- 5-year: 2.15%
What is a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC)?
Guaranteed investment certificates (GICs) are essentially termed loans that you make to a bank or 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, and in return the bank offers you a guaranteed interest rate. You can invest in a GIC for as little as $500, and there’s typically no fee associated with buying one. The only thing you’re required to do is leave the money with the bank—and the longer you do so, the higher the rate. Early withdrawals may (but not always) incur a penalty.
Types of GICs
There are many different kinds of GIC products, but these are the most common:
Typically available for short 1-year terms and free to cash out early after a 30- or 90-day closing period, these GICs are perfect for people who think they may need access to their money, but want to invest to get a higher guaranteed interest rate. While the trade-off for this flexibility is usually a lower interest rate, cashable GICs can be a smart way to protect yourself against interest rate fluctuations. If the interest rate rises, your money won’t be locked in at a lower fixed rate for long. If the interest rate is falling, on the other hand, a GIC might prove to be better than a savings account, allowing you to lock in a higher percentage.
Redeemable and cashable GICs are very similar, and even some banks use the terms interchangeably so it’s prudent to check each product before purchasing it. That said, in many cases the difference is that a redeemable GIC allows you to access your money before the end of the term—without a waiting period—but the GIC may be subject to early redemption rates that can drastically cut the interest you receive.
As the name suggests, non-redeemable GICs can’t be cashed out prior to the end of the term without incurring a penalty. However, they tend to offer higher interest rates, so may be ideal for those wanting a secure investment over a fixed amount of time.
These GICs have the advantage of being investments inside a registered investment account like an RRSP, RRIF or TFSA, so you are not taxed on the interest you earn.
These GICs perform according to a specified market and only guarantee your principal deposit. With one foot in a GIC and the other in the stock market, these products may be right for those looking for a slightly higher amount of risk with the possibility of greater rewards.
Foreign currency GICs
These are GICs in currencies other than Canadian dollars, usually in U.S. dollars. This product might work well for someone who travels or works frequently in another currency.
Terms of GICs
Shopping for a GIC is easy but not quite as simple as looking for the best GIC rate. To choose the best product for your circumstances, you’ll want to also think about the terms—your plans for the money will dictate what’s best for you.
Short-term GICs take less than a year to mature. The principal is guaranteed along with an advertised rate of interest. These products are a good way to get a bit more out of your investment without sacrificing much liquidity. Long-term GICs have terms of one year and more, and typically have higher interest rates than short-term GICs. When strategically purchased, these products can be used to generate part of a risk-averse investor’s monthly income.
GICs can pay out monthly or annually. If you need access to interest accrued on a regular basis (for example, as part of your monthly income), you’ll want the former.
How GIC deposits are insured
GICs are guaranteed, which is one of the reasons why they are such a popular investment. These protections are many-fold, starting with the guarantee of the financial institution they are purchased from. They are legally obligated to return to you your initial investment plus interest (depending on the product you choose).
But what happens if the financial institution goes belly-up? Then the next level of protection kicks in: Many GICs are protected by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) but some—particularly those purchased through credit unions—carry coverage through provincial organizations. The CDIC covers typically up to $100,000 on deposits with terms of less than 5 years, and does not cover foreign currency GICs.
Provincial insurers vary by province. Insurers in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan cover all deposits accepted by the institution with no maximum. In Quebec, savings and GICs of up to $100,000 are covered, plus RRSPs with a $100,000 limit in Quebec. In Ontario, savings of up to $250,000 are covered, while registered accounts (including RRSPs, TFSAs and RESPs) are fully covered. In New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador, savings, GICs, and RRSPs of up to $250,000 are covered, and in Prince Edward Island the insurer protects savings and GICs of up to $125,000 and unlimited RRSPs.
How can I purchase 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 have your requirements of a GIC noted, contact a financial institution and provider to start the process of purchasing.
You will either have an existing account setup 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.
You can also 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 brokerages help you do the research and are tuned into the best options on the market today. They are also aware of insurance protections to ensure your investment is covered if the issuer goes bankrupt. 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.
Are GICs the right investment for me?
GICs never give you the highest investment return compared to something riskier, like ETFs or individual stocks, but they are a safe way to ensure your principal and interest are protected. Depending on the GIC purchased, it can also lock away money you may need for some time, so it’s important to pick the correct term to ensure you can access your money when you need it; and shop around for a competitive interest rate. Keep in mind that if a GIC’s return is lower than the rate of inflation, your money could end up having less purchasing power at the end of your term than at the beginning.
Big banks don’t tend to offer great rates, so it’s critical to research across other issuers and brokerages, as well as ensure proper insurance is provided. Bottom line, GICs can be a great complement in a diversified investment portfolio to balance out some of the higher-risk products, but if you can tolerate a little more risk, there may be better products on the market for you.
Other investing options available
Bonds are loans given to the government or a company and, like GICs, are tied to a specific, stated term. They have variable return rates, depending on how they’re linked (government or corporate) but are more liquid in that they can be sold in the market at any time. While they aren’t insured by the CDIC like GICs, they offer easier access if you suddenly need to withdraw your investment. Bonds can also be held inside TFSAs, RRSPs or RESPs.
Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) are a collection of securities, like stocks, that increase or decrease in value according to an index. They operate like a mutual fund where they’re linked to the stock market and can be traded, making them easy to purchase and sell. The principal isn’t guaranteed like a GIC, but ETFs offers easy access (you can sell anytime if you need) and may have higher earning potential, depending on market conditions. ETFs can also be held inside TFSAs, RRSPs or RESPs.
A mutual funds is a basket of investments which allows for diversification across stocks, bonds and other assets, and is professionally managed with an aim to outperforming the market. You have to pay an annual management fee (MER), which and must be considered into the investment decision as a high MER could render a mutual fund’s returns dramatically less attractive, especially considering the added risk. As with ETFs, there is higher growth potential than GICs but the growth and principal aren’t guaranteed. Mutual funds can also be held inside TFSAs, RRSPs or RESPs.
Stocks are an entitlement to a share of a corporation. Investing in stocks requires research on market trends, and their performance can be extremely volatile depending on market and industry conditions; but they can also have significant growth promise. Stocks lack the diverse nature of mutual funds and ETFs, but can great tool for experienced investors to include as part of a diversified portfolio. Stocks can also be held inside TFSAs, RRSPs or RESPs.