Best TFSA GIC Rates in Canada (2021)

This post covers the banks with the best TFSA GIC rates in Canada.

Guaranteed Investment Certificates provide a simple and secure way to invest with little risk of losses. It is a great investment option for those seeking periodic and predictable cash flow from their portfolio.

We’ll start with the ranking of the best GIC rates and provide a short profile on each of the financial institutions.

Ranking Methodology

This ranking of the best TFSA GIC rates is based on the:

  • A rank of the posted GIC rates for each bank’s 1 to 5 years GIC terms compared to the others banks. This gives 5 different rankings for the banks, corresponding to the 5 GIC terms. An overall ranking is then calculated by taking an average of these rankings.

Where multiple banks have the same ranking, the 2 criteria below are used to determine the one that ranks higher.

  • Minimum investment amount: The lower the better
  • Deposit insurance: provincial deposit insurers have better protection (100%) compared to just $100,000 for CDIC

The post is updated regularly to keep up with changes in posted GIC rates from the banks. All rates are current as at February 25th, 2020.

Best TFSA GIC Rates in Canada: Ranking

Overall Best GIC Rates for TFSA

Financial InstitutionMin. Amount1-year2-year3-year4-year5-year
Equity Credit Union5,0001.601.702.102.102.10
Motive Financial1,0001.401.601.651.701.90
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 Financial1,0001.451.501.501.551.75
Steinbach Credit Union5001.401.451.501.551.65

Check this post if you’re interested in the best TFSA Savings Account Rates.

Best 1-year TFSA GIC Rates

The best TFSA GIC rates for 1-year term

Financial InstitutionGIC Rate (%)Minimum AmountDep. Insurance
Equity Credit Union1.605,000FSRAO
Peoples Trust1.551,000CDIC
EQ Bank1.50100CDIC
Achieva Financial1.501,000DGCM
AcceleRate Financial1.451,000DGCM

Motive Financial, Oaken Financial and Steinbach Credit Union all have 1.40% on their 1-year TFSA GIC.

Best 3-year TFSA GIC Rates

Financial InstitutionGIC Rate (%)Minimum AmountDep. Insurance
Equity Credit Union2.105,000FSRAO
Motive Financial1.651,000CDIC
Oaken Financial1.601,000CDIC
Peoples Trust1.601,000CDIC
Achieva Financial1.551,000DGCM
Steinbach Credit Union1.50500DGCM

AcceleRate Financial and Hubert Financial also have 1.50% on their 3-year TFSA GIC.

Best 5-year TFSA GIC Rates

Financial InstitutionGIC Rate (%)Minimum AmountDep. Insurance
Equity Credit Union2.105,000FSRAO
Motive Financial1.901,000CDIC
Oaken Financial1.801,000CDIC
Peoples Trust1.801,000CDIC
AcceleRate Financial1.751,000DGCM
Achieva Financial1.751,000DGCM

You can also get 1.70% 5-year GIC rate from Hubert Financial and Outlook Financial.

Best TFSA GIC Providers in Canada

It should be unsurprising that all the financial institutions in the ranking above are credit unions or online banks.

Online banks can offer more competitive rates because their operating costs are much lower. With no physical branches and the associated costs, they can pass some of the savings to their customers.

Credit Unions exist to serve their members. They are more focused on serving their members and not solely profit-driven like the traditional banks.

Here is a short profile of some of the best TFSA GIC providers in Canada for 2021.


Equity Credit Union TFSA GIC

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

It currently has the best TFSA GIC rates across the 1-year to 5-year GIC terms, but with a higher minimum investment amount of $5,000.

Your investment in the TFSA account has unlimited coverage since the credit union is insured by Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario.

Thinking of transferring of account from another financial institution, Equity Credit Union will cover the transfer fees up to $75.

Related Post:


EQ Bank TFSA GIC Rates

EQ Bank is one of the best online banks in Canada with competitive savings rate on both non-registered and registered accounts.

The bank is an online division of Equitable Bank, a federally regulated Schedule I bank with about $35 billion in assets.

The current EQ Bank TFSA GIC rates are:

  • 1-year TFSA GIC Rate: 1.50%
  • 2-year TFSA GIC Rate: 1.05%
  • 3-year TFSA GIC Rate: 1.15%
  • 4-year TFSA GIC Rate: 1.25%
  • 5-year TFSA GIC Rate: 1.50%

You can get a 2.30% rate on the EQ Bank TFSA Savings or RSP Savings. Check this post for my review of EQ Bank TFSA and RSP Offering.

Related Post: EQ Bank GICs Review


AcceleRate Financial TFSA GIC Rates

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

AcceleRate Financial is a Manitoba-based credit union and the virtual division of Access Credit Union. The online bank currently ranks as one of the best TFSA GIC provider.

Your TFSA GICs at Accelerate Financial is covered 100% through Deposit Guarantee Corporation of Manitoba (DGCM).

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

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

Other registered GIC accounts include RRSP or RRIFs.

One cool feature of Accelerate GIC is the rate guarantee. The bank guarantees its rate for 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.


Motive Financial TFSA GIC

Motive Financial is the online division of Canadian Western Bank, one of the biggest banks in Canada.

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

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

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

The banks high-interest savings account, Motive Savvy Savings Account, has one of the highest rates in the country at 1.55%.

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


Peoples Trust TFSA GIC

Peoples Trust is a division of Peoples Group, a financial group that provides other services like commercial lending, mortgage, payments and card services and so on.

The bank’s TFSA GIC rates are currently:

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

It is a CDIC member, so your investments are protected up to $100,000 in each category.

Read more: Peoples Trust Review


Achieva Financial TFSA 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.

Achieva Financial TFSA GIC rates are:

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

Your deposits have unlimited protection through DGCM. Other registered GICs include RRSP GIC and RRIF GICs.


Oaken Financial TFSA GIC

Oaken Financial is a CDIC-insured virtual bank subsidiary of Home Trust company. The bank’s TFSA GICs are non-redeemable before maturity.

The current rates are:

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

The minimum investment amount is $1,000. RRSP GICs and RRIF GICs are also available.


Hubert Financial TFSA GIC

Next on this list of the best TFSA GIC rate providers in Canada is another Manitoba based virtual bank.

Hubert Financial is a division of Sunova Credit Union, one of the largest credit unions in Canada.

The Hubert Financial GIC Rates 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 and you can also get RRSP GIC and RRIF GIC.

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


Outlook Financial TFSA GIC

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 TFSA GIC rates:

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

The registered GICs are non-redeemable and require a minimum deposit of $1,000. RRSP and RRIF are also available.

Your GIC investments are fully guaranteed by Deposit Guarantee Corporation of Manitoba (DGCM)


Parama Credit Union TFSA GIC

Parama Credit Union was established in 1952 and has grown to serving 6,000 members with approximately $400 million in assets.

It is based in Ontario so your investments are 100% covered by Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA).

The TFSA GIC rates are currently:

  • 1 year GIC Rate: 1.25%
  • 2 years GIC Rate: 1.35%
  • 3 years GIC Rate: 1.45%
  • 4 years GIC Rate: 1.55%
  • 5 years GIC Rate: 1.65%

FirstOntario Credit Union TFSA GIC

Tracing its roots to over 80 years ago, FirstOntario Credit Union now serves more than 126,000 members.

The TFSA GIC Rates start at 0.85% for 1-year GIC term and up to 1.45% for 5-year GIC term. Minimum investment amount is just $500 and deposit guarantee is unlimited through FSRA.


Steinbach Credit Union TFSA GIC

Steinbach Credit Union is largest credit union in Manitoba and one of the largest in Canada. It has been serving Canadians for over 80 years

The minimum amount is $500 but the TFSA GIC Rates are tiered based on the investment amount.

Here’s the TFSA GIC rates for the lowest tier (less than $100,000).

  • 1-year: 1.40%
  • 2 years: 1.45%
  • 3 years: 1.50%
  • 4 years: 1.55%
  • 5 years: 1.65%

You can also invest in other registered GIC accounts like RRSP, RRIF and RESP.


Comtech Fire Credit Union TFSA GIC

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

These are the current rates on its TFSA GIC:

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

Other registered accounts: RRSPs, RESPs, and RRIFs.

The minimum investment amount is $5,000 – way higher than the other banks on the list, with minimum amounts ranging between $500 and $1,000.

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

The credit union covers the transfer-in fee from another financial institution up to $135.


Entegra Credit Union TFSA GIC

Established in 1960 with $750 million in assets, Entegra Credit Union is another Manitoba based GIC provider on our list of the best TFSA GIC rates in Canada.

The current TFSA 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 minimum investment amount is $1,000.


Tangerine TFSA GIC Rates

Tangerine is another popular online bank but its TFSA GIC rates is well below the ones covered in the ranking above.

Its rates are currently:

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

TFSA GIC Rates at Big Banks

None of the biggest 5 banks in Canada made the ranking of the best TFSA GIC rates in Canada. But here are their current TFSA GIC rates if you’re interested:

RBC TFSA GIC Rates

Royal Bank of Canada TFSA GIC is available as redeemable and non-redeemable with a minimum deposit of $500.

You can get GIC terms as short as 30 days and as long as 10 years. The TFSA GIC rate for the non-redeemable, annual compounding GIC starts at 0.15% for terms earlier than 1.5 years.

The 5-year TFSA GIC rate is 0.95%.

TD TFSA GIC Rates

One of the largest banks in Canada, TD Bank has several GIC types. The TD Bank TFSA GIC is available for 1-year to 5-year term with current GIC rates of:

  • 1-year: 0.40%
  • 2-year: 0.50%
  • 3-year: 0.60%
  • 4-year: 0.70%
  • 5-year: 0.85%

Other registered GICs include RSP, RIF and RESP.

Scotiabank TFSA GIC Rates

Scotiabank TFSA GICs have a minimum deposit requirement of $500 with terms ranging from 1 year to 10 years.

The TFSA GIC rate for the 1 year term is 0.45% and 0.80% for 5-year terms.

BMO TFSA GIC Rates

Bank of Montreal has the highest minimum deposit among the big banks with $1,000. The bank has over 20 GIC types with many of them available for TFSAs.

The TFSA GIC rate for the non-redeemable fixed rate GIC starts at 0.40% for 1-year term, 0.80% for 5-year term and 1.40% for 10-year term.

CIBC TFSA GIC Rates

CIBC’s non-redeemable TFSA GICs offer 0.35% for 1-year term and 0.85% for the 5-year term. Like many of the other big banks, the minimum investment amount is low at $500.

You can also get shorter GIC terms, as short as 2 months, with a paltry GIC rate of just 0.05%.

The 5 banks are CDIC members so your investment in the TFSA will be capped at $100,000.

What are GICs?

Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs) are low risk, safe and secure investments. They provide a way to invest your money for a set period in exchange for an agreed rate of return.

The rate of return is usually fixed, but it can also be variable (floating) or linked to an index or market. There are several types of GICs with different features.

What is TSFA GIC?

A TFSA GIC is an example of a registered GIC, a GIC type that also includes other account types like RRSP, RESP, RRIF and so on. You get a TSFA GIC when you buy a GIC inside of your TFSA.

It provides investors with the best of both worlds: safe investments and tax-free returns.

Learn more about GIC types and features here.

What is Tax-Free Savings Account

Tax-free Savings Account (TFSA) is one of the most popular registered accounts available to Canadians. It is a tax-advantaged account that lets you save, grow and compound your investments completely tax-free.

Since its introduction in 2009, it has continued to be widely adopted with over $14 million TFSA accountholders as at 2018. Check here for other interesting and sometimes shocking TFSA adoption and usage data.

You can learn more about TFSAs through the post below

TFSA Contribution Limits

The TFSA contribution limit is how much you can contribute to your TFSA in a year. It is made up of the following:

  • TFSA annual dollar limit (The limit is $6,000 for 2021 contribution year)
  • Unused contribution room from previous years
  • Withdrawals from the previous year

The TFSA annual dollar limit is indexed to inflation and rounded to the nearest $500. CRA announces the applicable limit for each year. But it’s been $6,000 since 2019.

TFSA was introduced in 2009 and only Canadians aged 18 and above can contribute to it. Someone that was at least 18 in 2009 would have accumulated a total TFSA contribution room of $75,500 as at 2021.

Penalty for Overcontribution

Going above your TFSA contribution limit can be costly and it is one of the common TFSA mistakes. The penalty is 1% per month of the excess amount over your limit. The penalty is similar to the one for RRSP over-contributions but more punitive for 2 reasons.

  1. Unlike RRSP overcontribution with an excess buffer of $2,000, the full excess amount will be taxed for TFSA. For example, if you over-contribute $5,000 to your RRSP, only $3,000 will be penalized. With a TFSA though, the full $5,000 will be taxed.
  2. TFSA overcontribution penalty is calculated on the highest excess during the month. Meaning, if you exceed your limit by $10,000 during the month but withdrew the excess before the end of the month, you’ll still pay the penalty on $10,000.

The best way to avoid TFSA over-contributions is to track your TFSA contributions. Check this post to download a TFSA contribution tracker and TFSA penalty calculator.

Learn more: Dealing with RRSP Over-contribution

How are TFSA GICs Protected?

Your TFSA GICs are either protected by CDIC or a provincial deposit insurer, depending on your bank. All the big banks are CDIC members so your TFSA GIC will be covered up to $100,000 in each bank.

You can get even more deposit guarantee from the provincial insurers. For example, DGCM (Manitoba) and FSRA (Ontario) provides 100% deposit guarantee on your funds.

Check this CDIC guide to learn more about deposit insurance in Canada. You can also check this post to learn about the strategies to maximize your CDIC protection.

Alternatives to TFSA GICs

A TFSA GIC may save you some taxes but it may not the best option for you in some cases. For example, when you

  • want more growth for your funds
  • are not willing to lock in your funds for a long period of time
  • want to use your contribution room for higher yielding investments

In these situations, a GIC may not be the best investment for you. Other TFSA GIC alternatives to consider include:

  • Open a high interest savings account. You can get a 2.30% on EQ Bank TFSA Savings currently
  • Buy individual bonds or bonds ETFs through your brokerage account.
  • invest in equities using a diversified index fund or ETF.

Some FAQs

Which bank has best TFSA GIC rates?

The list is constantly changing but it is currently dominated by online banks and credit unions. But at the moment, Equity Credit Union has the best TFSA GIC rates.

Can you negotiate GIC rates?

In some cases, yes. Your bank may be willing to offer you better rates than their posted rates depending on your relationship with them, amount to invest and so on.

Conclusion

I hope you found this post on the best TFSA GIC rates helpful. The rates are constantly changing, and I do my best to keep up with the changes. All the rates above at correct as at the time of publishing this post.

If you’re interested in the best GIC rates for registered accounts, check the post 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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