Best GIC Rates for Registered Accounts (2021)

In this post, we’ll answer this question: Which banks have the best GIC rates for registered accounts?

We’ll start with a ranking of the banks across 5 different GIC terms, then look at the top GIC providers with the best registered GIC rates in Canada.

Best GIC Rates for Registered Accounts

Best GIC rates for registered accounts in Canada for 2021

Overall Best Registered GIC Rates

These are the best registered GIC rates with the minimum investment amounts and the rates for the 1-year to 5-year GIC terms.

Financial InstitutionMin. Amount1-year2-year3-year4-year5-year
Equity Credit Union5,0001.601.702.102.202.10
Motive Financial*5001.401.601.651.751.90
Peoples Trust1,0001.551.601.601.651.80
Oaken Financial1,0001.401.501.601.701.80
Achieva Financial1,0001.501.551.551.601.75
AcceleRate Financial5001.451.501.501.551.75
Steinbach Credit Union5001.401.451.501.551.65

*The minimum investment amount RRSP GICs is $500 but $1,000 for TFSA GICs at Motive Financial.

1 year Registered GIC Rates

Financial InstitutionGIC Rate (%)Minimum AmountDep. Insurance
Equity Credit Union1.605,000FSRAO
Peoples Trust1.551,000CDIC
EQ Bank1.50100CDIC
Achieva Financial1.501,000DGCM
AcceleRate Financial1.45500DGCM

EQ Bank only made the top 5 for 1-year GICs. But it currently has a very competitive rate of 2.3% on its TFSA and RSP high interest savings account. Learn more about the EQ Bank GICs here.

3-year Registered GIC Rates

Financial InstitutionGIC Rate (%)Minimum AmountDep. Insurance
Equity Credit Union2.105,000FSRAO
Motive Financial1.65500CDIC
Oaken Financial1.601,000CDIC
Peoples Trust1.601,000CDIC
Achieva Financial1.551,000DGCM

5-year Registered GIC Rates

And the best rates on registered GICs for 5-year term are:

Financial InstitutionGIC Rate (%)Minimum AmountDep. Insurance
Equity Credit Union2.105,000FSRAO
Motive Financial1.90500CDIC
Oaken Financial1.801,000CDIC
Peoples Trust1.801,000CDIC
AcceleRate Financial1.75500DGCM

Best Registered GICs Canada

These are some of the best registered GIC providers in Canada (in no particular order). A quick scan will reveal that none of the big banks made the ranking.

Like high interest savings rates, the highest registered GIC rates can be found at online banks and credit unions.


AcceleRate Financial Registered GICs

The first bank on our list of best registered GICs in Canada is Accelerate Financial.

AcceleRate Financial is a Manitoba-based credit union and the virtual division of Access Credit Union.

Your registered GIC investments at Accelerate Financial are secured 100% through Deposit Guarantee Corporation of Manitoba.

Accelerate Financial Registered GICs are available as TFSA GIC, RRSP GIC and RRIF GIC. The rates are:

  • 1-year Registered GIC: 1.45%
  • 2-year Registered GIC: 1.50%
  • 3-year Registered GIC: 1.50%
  • 4-year Registered GIC: 1.55%
  • 5-year Registered GIC: 1.75%

The bank also has a high-interest savings account with a rate of 1.20%. It is available as non-registered, TFSA, RRSP or RRIFs.

To open an account at Accelerate Financial, you need to be at least 18 years of age (age of majority in Manitoba), have a valid SIN, and an account with personalized cheque at another Canadian bank.

Interestingly, Accelerate Financial offers a rate guarantee of up to 14 days for new funds and renewals, and up to 30 days for transfers from other financial institutions.

Learn more about the bank’s other features and offering through this Accelerate Financial Review.


Equity Credit Union Registered GICs

Equity Credit Union is an Ontario-based credit union that has been serving its members since 1942.

The credit union currently has the most competitive rates across the various terms though the minimum investment amount is $5,000.

Equity Credit Union is insured by the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario, so deposits in your registered accounts have unlimited coverage.

If you’re moving your registered account from another financial institution that charges a transfer fee, Equity Credit Union will reimburse the fee up to $75.

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Motive Financial Registered GICs

Motive Financial is a division of Canadian Western Bank, one of the Top 10 biggest banks in Canada. As an online bank, the bank has no branches and provides all its services entirely online.

The bank has 2 registered non-redeemable GIC offerings, Motive TFSA GIC and Motive RRSP GIC, with the following rates.

  • 1-year: 1.40%
  • 2-year: 1.60%
  • 3-year: 1.65%
  • 4-year: 1.75%
  • 5-year: 1.90%

You can also get longer GIC terms of up to 10 years that pays 2.05%.

In addition to having one of the best registered GIC rates, Motive Financial also has one of the best rates on a high-interest savings account. Its Motive Savvy Savings Account pays a competitive rate of 1.55%.

Motive Financial also ranks high as one of the best GIC rates for non-registered accounts.

Read More: Best High Interest Savings Accounts


Peoples Trust Registered GICs

Peoples Trust is a Vancouver-based trust company that serves customers across Canada. It is a division of Peoples Group, that provides other financial services like commercial lending, mortgage, payments and card services and so on.

The available registered accounts are TFSA and RRSP. As a CDIC member, your investments are protected up to $100,000 in each category.

Peoples Trust TFSA and RRSP GIC rates are currently:

  • 1-year: 1.55%
  • 2-year: 1.60%
  • 3-year: 1.60%
  • 4-year: 1.65%
  • 5-year: 1.80%

The High-interest E-savings accounts has a rate of 1.30%.

Read more: Peoples Trust Review


Achieva Financial Registered GIC

Achieva Financial is another GIC provider with one of the best registered GIC offerings. It is an online bank and a division of Cambrian Credit Union, a Manitoba based credit union.

Deposit insurance is provided by DGCM and covers 100% of your funds.

Achieva Financial’s registered GIC rates are:

  • 1-year: 1.50%
  • 2-year: 1.55%
  • 3-year: 1.55%
  • 4-year: 1.60%
  • 5-year: 1.75%

Available registered GICs included TFSA GICs, RRSP GICs and RRIF GICs. Note that all the GICs are non-redeemable before maturity.


Oaken Financial Registered GIC

Oaken Financial is a CDIC-insured virtual bank subsidiary of Home Trust company.

The registered GIC rates are:

  • 1-year: 1.40%
  • 18 months: 1.60%
  • 2 years: 1.50%
  • 3 years: 1.60%
  • 4 years: 1.70%
  • 5 years: 1.80%

Oaken Financial’s registered GICs are non-redeemable before maturity and available for TFSA, RRSP and RRIF accounts. The minimum deposits for the TFSA GIC and RRSP GIC is $1,000, but higher for RRIF at $10,000.

The 18-month GIC term is only available for RRIF investments.

With the CDIC protection, your funds are protected up to $100,000 in each of the 3 registered account types for a total of $300,000.

Check here for a CDIC Protection guide and ways to maximize your CDIC coverage.


Steinbach Credit Union Registered GIC

Steinbach Credit Union is one of the largest credit unions in Canada and the largest in Manitoba. It traces its root back to 1941 so it’s been serving Canadians for over 80 years.

The credit union has registered GIC accounts for TFSA, RRSP, RRIF and RESP. It also offers Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP), but it can only be held in a mutual fund.

Some of the features of Steinbach Credit Union’s registered GICs include:

  • Minimum investment amount of $500
  • Tiered interest rates starting at $100,000
  • 100% deposit guarantee through DGCM
Tiered registered GIC rates at Steinbach

The tiered interest rates are paid on the entire balance.

Like the registered GIC accounts, the interest rate on the regular savings account is also tiered. It starts at 1.25% for amounts less than $100,000 and up to 1.55% for $250,000 and above.


Hubert Financial Registered GIC

Next on this list of the best registered GICs in Canada is another Manitoba based virtual bank.

Hubert Financial is a division of Sunova Credit Union, with over $2.2 billion in assets and 48,000+ members, making it one of the largest credit unions in Canada.

The registered account offerings are TFSA GIC, RRSP GIC and RRIF GIC. GIC Rates for the different terms are currently:

  • 1-year: 1.30%
  • 2 years: 1.40%
  • 3 years: 1.50%
  • 4 years: 1.60%
  • 5 years: 1.70%

The minimum investment amount is $1,000.

Learn more about the bank and its accounts through this Hubert Financial Review.


Comtech Fire Credit Union Registered GICs

Comtech Fire Credit Union is an Ontario-based credit union with over 20,000 members and $530 million is total assets.

Its registered GIC is available for RRSPs, RESPs, TFSAs and RRIFs. These are the rates at the time of writing this post:

  • 1-year: 1.30%
  • 2 years: 1.40%
  • 3 years: 1.50%
  • 4 years: 1.60%
  • 5 years: 1.70%

Unfortunately, the minimum investment amount is $5,000. This is remarkably higher than the other banks on the list, with minimum amounts ranging between $500 and $1,000.

If you need to move your funds to the credit union, they’ll cover the transfer-in fee up to $135.

Deposit guarantee is provided by FSRA Ontario. The protection is capped at $250,000 for non-registered accounts but 100% for registered accounts.

A drawback to consider is that it is only available to Ontario residents.

Related: 10 Ways To Start Investing With Little Money


Outlook Financial

Outlook Financial is a division of Assiniboine Credit Union, based in Manitoba with over 75 years in business serving Canadians.

Here are the Outlook Financial registered GIC rates:

  • 1-year Registered GIC: 1.35%
  • 2-year Registered GIC: 1.45%
  • 3-year Registered GIC: 1.45%
  • 4-year Registered GIC: 1.55%
  • 5-year Registered GIC: 1.70%

Registered GIC is available for TFSA, RRSP and RRIF and is non-redeemable with a minimum deposit of $1,000.

The high-interest savings account currently pays 1.20%. And all deposits are fully guaranteed by Deposit Guarantee Corporation of Manitoba (DGCM).


Entegra Credit Union

Finally on our list of the Best GIC Rates for Registered Accounts in Canada for 2021, we have Entegra Credit Union.

Entegra is a Manitoba-based credit union that was established in 1960 and has grown to having $750 million in assets.

The registered GIC rates at Entegra Credit Union are:

  • 1-year: 1.35%
  • 2-year: 1.40%
  • 3-year: 1.45%
  • 4-year: 1.50%
  • 5-year: 1.65%

The GICs are non-redeemable and available as TFSA, RRSP and RRIFs. Minimum investment amount is $1,000.


Best Registered GIC Rates from Big Banks in Canada

It isn’t surprising that none of the big banks made the top 5 in the ranking above. In fact, none of them are in the top 10.

But if you’re curious and want to know, here’s the GIC rates for registered accounts at some of the big banks in Canada:

BankMin. Deposit ($)1-year (%)2-year (%)3-year (%)4-year (%)5-year (%)
RBC5000.150.400.500.750.95
TD Bank5000.400.500.600.700.85
Scotiabank1,0000.450.550.600.700.80
BMO5000.400.500.600.700.80
CIBC5000.350.500.600.801.00

Tangerine, another popular online bank, has the rates below on its registered accounts:

  • 1-year: 0.65%
  • 1.5 year: 0.70%
  • 2-year: 0.75%
  • 3-year: 0.80%
  • 4-year: 1.00%
  • 5-year: 1.10%

Should you choose a registered GIC at one of the credit unions with the highest rates or stay with the big banks?

Registered GIC Rates at Big Banks vs Credit Unions

So which ones should you choose? Here are a few points to consider

Interest rates

Over the past few years, the inflation rate in Canada has averaged 2%. At that rate, you’ll be losing some purchasing power even if you invest your money in Motive Financial’s 1.90% 5-year GIC.

With the paltry GIC interest rates at the big banks, you’re nowhere close to beating inflation. So there is little reason to keep your funds with them for an extended period.

Consider this:

For the 1-year GIC term, the average GIC rate at the big banks is just 0.41%, compared to an average of 1.40% for the credit unions and online banks in the top 10 of the ranking.

Deposit Protection

All deposit taking financial institutions in Canada are required to be a member of CDIC or one of the provincial deposit insurers. Meaning your money has the same protection at one of the big banks and at a credit union.

For example: Both RBC and Peoples Trust are members of CDIC. Your TFSA GIC or RRSP GIC is protected up to $100,000 at both banks.

So in deciding whether to invest in a big bank’s GICs or not, you should consider:

  • The GIC interest rate
  • The amount you want to invest: If you’re investing a small amount, say $1,000, the extra $10 you’ll be getting from an online bank may not be worth the stress of opening a new account.
  • Convenience: Sometimes, you just want to keep things simple and keep your banking with a single financial institution.

What are Registered Accounts?

Registered accounts are one of the special accounts with tax advantages available to Canadians. They let you save or invest on a tax-free or tax-deferred basis.

Examples include RRSP, TFSA, RESP, RRIF, RDSP, LIRA and so on.

Because of the obvious tax advantages, the amount you can contribute to the accounts are usually capped – either an annual or lifetime limit.

For example, both TFSA and RRSP have an annual limit while RESP and RDSP have lifetime limits. It is important to track your contributions to these accounts to avoid the penalties for over-contributing to them.

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TFSA GICs or RRSP GICs

The choice between a TFSA GIC or RRSP GIC comes down to individual tax circumstances. Both registered accounts have their own pros and cons.

With an RRSP GIC, you’ll get a tax deduction that reduces your current year’s tax liability. You don’t get this immediate tax advantage with a TFSA GIC.

However, you’ll be taxed when you start withdrawing from the RRSP. On the other hand, withdrawals from a TFSA is always tax-free.

If you think you’ll be in a lower tax bracket in the future, an RRSP may be a better option. Otherwise, consider a TFSA and carry-over your available RRSP contribution room to future years.

Get the Best TFSA GIC rates in this post.

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What are GICs?

Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs) are a type of investment that allows you to invest your funds with a financial institution over a set period, called the GIC term.

In exchange, you’ll receive a guaranteed amount at maturity, representing the principal invested and an interest based on the rate agreed.

There are several types of GICs. We cover a few in the next section.

Types of GICs

The types of GICs can be classified according to their key features. These include by:

  • Interest Rate term: Fixed, variable or market-linked
  • Currency: Canadian Dollar or foreign currency GICs
  • Option to redeem before maturity: Redeemable vs non-redeemable
  • Account type: Registered and non-registered

All the GIC rates covered above are fixed term, non-redeemable, Canadian dollar denominated registered GICs.

Learn more about GIC types in this Guide to GICs.

Non-registered vs Registered GIC

The difference between the 2 types of GICs is how the interest will be taxed.

With non-registered GICs, the interest will be fully taxed when you file your taxes at the end of the year. Unlike other investment returns like dividends or capital gains, interest on GICs have no special tax treatment.

Related Post: Best investments for non-registered accounts

On the other hand, any income earned in a registered GIC will either be tax-free (TFSA) or tax-deferred (RRSP, RESP, RRIF).

The current GIC rates are already lower than the inflation rate, why lose some of it to taxes? A registered GIC allows you to keep more of your returns.

But it’s not always the best option depending on your personal situation. The contribution room of your registered accounts is limited. Where possible, you want to use it for investments with the highest returns.

We’ll cover a few options below.

Rather than “waste” your contribution room on a low-earning investment like GIC, you should consider using a non-registered account.

Are GICs a Good Investment?

It depends on your individual circumstances. If you’re saving for a short-term financial goal, you should be more concerned with the safety of your funds and not the returns.

A GIC can also be a great option for people that need predictable cash-flow on an on-going basis. For example, those in retirement or close to it.

To get better returns, you’ll have to invest in riskier investment types but with potentially better returns.

Alternatives to GIC Investments in Registered Accounts

So what are some of the alternatives to a registered GIC?

1. High-interest Savings Accounts:

You can get a very competitive rate on your money with some bank’s HISA. EQ Bank has a current non-promotional savings rate of 1.50% on its non-registered account and 2.30% on the TFSA and RRSP savings. Both rates match or exceed the 1-year GIC rates in the ranking above.

2. Bonds

They are closer to GICs on the risk premium. But the risk level of a bond depends on a number of factors such as the term (the longer the term, the more it’ll be sensitive interest rates and fluctuate in value) and issuer ratings.

For example, government bonds are less risky, but the yields are also lower. But remember that bond can drop in value so it’s not a perfect substitute to a GIC.

3. Equities

Investing in stocks is another option to putting your money in GICs. It is riskier and should only be used for longer term financial goals.

Luckily, there are now asset allocation ETFs that make it ridiculously simple to build a low-cost diversified portfolio.

With a single purchase, you get access to a portfolio with thousands of shares. Even better, you can buy them commission-free at a brokerage like Questrade or Wealthsimple Trade.

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How are Registered GICs Protected?

Like non-registered GICs, registered GICs also enjoy the same deposit guarantee and more in some instances.

Depending on who your bank’s insurer is, the protection may be capped or unlimited.

CDIC

Deposits at any CDIC member is protected up to $100,000 per insured category. TFSA, RRSP and RRIF are separate insured categories under CDIC

Check this guide to learn more about CDIC protection.

Provincial Deposit Insurers

If your bank is protected by a provincial deposit insurer, your deposit guarantee will usually be higher than what CDIC provides.

For example, funds kept at Manitoba-based credit unions or online banks are 100% guaranteed for both non-registered and registered accounts through DGCM.

In Ontario, the protection for non-registered accounts is capped at $250,000 but unlimited for registered accounts through FSRA.

So whichever bank you decide to go with, you can be rest assured that your funds are safe. And in the unlikely event that the bank becomes insolvent, you’ll receive both your principal and interest from the deposit insurance provider.


FAQs: Best GIC Rates for Registered Accounts

Which bank has the Best GIC Rates for Registered Accounts in Canada?

The banks with the best GIC rates are all online banks or credit unions. The list is constantly changing though. At the moment, you can get the best GIC rates on registered accounts from Accelerate Financial, Motive Financial and Peoples Trust.

How much money can you put in a GIC?

The minimum varies across the banks. Some are as low as $100 (EQ Bank) and as high as $5,000. For most banks, the minimum amount is between $500 and $1,000.
Usually, you can invest as much as you like in a GIC. Not a problem depending on the limit of the deposit insurance available to the bank.

Are GICs a good investment?

If you want a safe place to keep your money for short-term goals without worrying about market swings, a GIC may be a good fit for you.


Final Thoughts

The ranking is constantly changing, so it’s updated regularly. The post covers all registered accounts including RRSP, TFSA, RRIF and so on. If you’re interested in the best TFSA GIC rates, check the link in the posts below.

Simon is a CPA by day and a Personal Finance Blogger by night. With over a decade experience in financial services, he's passionate about personal finance, investing and helping people take control of their financial life.

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