4 quick steps to buying a GIC
1. Decide on how much to invest and for how long
With most GICs, your money will be locked in for the term. You will have to pay a penalty for withdrawing your money early. If you think you may need to get your money out early, buy a redeemable or cashable GIC that can be cashed anytime without penalty.
2. Choose a fixed or variable interest rate
If you want a guaranteed rate of interest, choose a fixed-rate GIC. If you’re comfortable with varying interest rates, consider an index-linked or market-linked GIC.
Insurance companies sell an investment similar to a GIC. It’s called a GIA (Guaranteed Interest Annuity or Guaranteed Interest Account).
3. Shop around for interest rates
Compare GIC rates online for the term you’ve chosen. Talk to some banks and financial institutions. Ask if you can get a better rate than the one posted.
4. Choose a financial institution and GIC
If you don’t already have an account with them, you’ll need to set one up. Bring 2 pieces of ID with you. At least one of them must be from the government. The list of acceptable IDs is the same as for opening a bank account. You can pay by cheque or transfer from a bank account or another GIC that is maturing.
Compare GIC rates
To compare interest rates for GICs from banks and other companies across Canada, visit the CANNEX website. Then use this compound interest calculator to compare the difference in accrued interest over different deposit amounts and time periods.
3 questions to ask when buying a GIC
- What happens if you need to get your money early?
- When will you receive interest payments?
- How much will you make in total?