GIC Comparison; Which Bank is Best For Indian Students in Canada?

GIC Comparison Review - Scotiabank, CIBC, Simplii, ICICI Canada, SBI Canada, BMO

If you are an Indian student going to study in Canada, opening a student GIC account is mandatory.

A GIC account serves as proof of funds when applying for your Canada Study Permit (student visa).

Note: Canada GIC Account ≠ Canada Student Account. GIC stands for Guaranteed Investment Certificate. It is an investment account. Once a student lands in Canada, they must open a separate student account (apart from their GIC Account) with any bank (usually students open both GIC and student account from the same bank. It makes the process easy for them). Funds from your GIC account would be periodically deposited into your student account.

When it comes to choosing a GIC program, the 6 foremost options for Indian students are Scotiabank (also known as the Bank of Nova Scotia), CIBC, ICICI Bank, SBI, Bank of Montreal (BMO) & Simplii Financial.

Let us take a look at the features of each GIC program, its pros – cons and which one will be best for Indian students.

Comparison of GIC of Scotiabank, CIBC, ICICI Bank & SBI

1. Scotiabank

Scotiabank GIC Program
Interest Rate0.1 – 1% ( Scotiabank GIC Interest Rates )
Investment Amount$20,635 CAD – $50,000 CAD
Program Fee$200 CAD
Initial Expenses Deposit To Your Student Account$4,127 CAD + Interest
Monthly Deposit To Your Student Account$1,376 CAD + Interest (for 12 Months if investment amount is $20,635 CAD)
Online Application✓ Available
Application Processing Time2-10 days (Account Registration + Issuing GIC Certificate)
Number of Branches in Canada1,100+

Scotiabank, i.e. The Bank of Nova Scotia is one of Canada’s biggest 5 banks along with CIBC.

Its GIC Program is fairly popular with Indian students and one can apply for it online from India itself.


  • Can Invest up to $50,000 CAD – This is a good feature for students who might want to put a huge amount of money in their GIC account.$50,000 CAD can easily last for 2-3 years and transferring such a large amount of money has one benefit. The exchange rate of INR with respect to currencies such as CAD, USD, & AUD etc is appreciating every year. So by transferring a huge amount of money in one go, one may save money on currency exchange fees.
  • 1100+ Branches and 4000 ATMs (AMBs – Automated Banking Machines) – Scotiabank has a high number of branches and ATMs. Chances are whichever city you are going to in Canada will be having a Scotiabank branch. In case of visiting your bank for any sort of issue resolution with regards to your account, having a branch nearby always reduces the travel hassles involved. However, it should also be noted that in this age of digital banking gaining widespread acceptance, especially among students, visiting a bank branch to resolve any issues is an outlier rather than the norm. Most issues can be resolved through online banking and phone support.


  1. Strict application process – This is probably one of the biggest gripes students have with GIC from Scotiabank. The success rate of a GIC application is not as much as that of other banks. Any slight errors in your application will result in a delay in receiving your GIC certificate. While this is true of all banks, Scotiabank especially has a reputation for a strict application process.
Note: One of the most common errors is a mismatch of the address given in the GIC application form and passport of the applicant.
  1. $200 CAD processing fee – This fee is the highest among all the banks in our list. While this is not a significant con, from a student’s perspective, saving even a bit of money is valuable.


CIBC GIC Program
Interest Rate1.25% ( CIBC GIC Interest Rates )
Investment Amount$20,635 CAD – $50,000 CAD
Program Fee$196.03 CAD
Initial Expenses Deposit To Your Student Account$6,190.50 CAD (If investing $20,635 CAD)
Deposit To Your Student Account$1,313.13 CAD + Interest (11 payments over 12 Months)
Online Application✓ Available
Application Processing Time2-4 days (Account Registration +Wire Transfer + Issuing GIC Certificate)
Number of Branches in Canada1200+

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce is another mainstream bank in Canada that offers a GIC program to students from India.

They are particularly renowned for their faster application processing, lesser application fee and higher application acceptance rate.

Also, upon opening a student account with them, you get the option of availing a Student Credit Card having no annual fees and plenty of cashback, and travel benefits.


  1. $196.03 Processing Fee, which is about 4 CAD lesser than Scotiabank’s 200 CAD
  2. Faster Application processing time – 2 to 4 days which is one of the quickest times among all banks on this list
  3. Higher number of branches and ATMs
  4. High application acceptance rate
  5. Student-friendly features – Student Credit Card


  1. When paying the GIC amount through CIBC’s platform, their exchange rate is higher than Scotiabank. So the $4 CAD difference in processing fee between Scotiabank and CIBC is mostly negated.

3. ICICI Bank Canada

Interest Rate1% ( ICICI GIC Interest Rates )
Investment Amount$20,635 CAD – $30,000 CAD
Program Fee$200 CAD + $25 intermediary bank charge
Initial Expenses Deposit To Your Student Account$6,190.50 CAD
Monthly Deposit To Your Student Account$1,203.7 CAD + Interest (for 12 Months)
Online Application✓ Available
Application Processing Time2-5 days (Account Registration +Wire Transfer + Issuing GIC Certificate)
Number of Branches in Canada7

ICICI Bank Canada should not be confused with ICICI Bank India.

Both are part of ICICI but independent of each other.

ICICI brand name is quite familiar to most of the students here. The prospect of dealing with a familiar bank for GIC feels reassuring for most. Now, they are also collaborating with the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) to issue GIC accounts to students.

But the fact is that be it ICICI Bank or Scotiabank, the procedure to apply for GIC and student account remains the same.

Let’s look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of choosing ICICI Bank Canada for your GIC.


  1. Even though the process of opening GIC is the same as other banks, you may enjoy some advantages such as getting your ICICI Canada Debit Card in India itself (i.e. if you are opening both a GIC account and a student account with ICICI Bank Canada).

    Read: All you need to know about GIC account in Canada for Indian Students

  2. ICICI Bank Canada app provides money transfer from Canada to India option within their app itself. Students would find this especially useful for sending money back to India.


  1. The most obvious con is the number of ICICI Bank Canada branches and ATMs in It only has a total of 7 branches across Canada. This disadvantage is mitigated to a certain extent because of the following reasons;
  • ICICI Bank Canada offers online activation of your GIC account through their app. Also, they have a tie-up with Canada Post, allowing you to complete your in-person verification from 6000+ locations across Canada. Thus, you don’t have to visit an ICICI branch to complete your GIC account-related procedures.
  • They have over 3,000+ ABMs (Automated Banking Machines / ATMs) in their network in Canada. While not all are free to use, their app shows the location of free ATMs in their network close to your location.
  • Now, they are also collaborating with the Royal Bank of Canada to issue student GICs. If you open a GIC account via this method, you’ll get the network support of RBC.
  1. Sometimes you just have to visit the ICICI bank branch (in case of trying to resolve a banking-related issue) and then it could be a problem. As mentioned above, ICICI has only 7 branches for the whole of Canada. In such an unavoidable situation, you’d have to probably travel quite a bit to go to your branch. To avoid this, check if the town/city you are moving to in Canada has an ICICI branch nearby and then make a decision regarding opening a GIC/student account with them.

4. SBI Canada

SBI GIC Program
Interest Rate1.05% ( SBI GIC Interest Rates )
Investment Amount$20,635 CAD
Program Fee$150 CAD
Initial Expenses Deposit To Your Student Account$4,135 CAD
Monthly Deposit To Your Student Account$1,375 CAD + Interest (for 12 Months)
Online Application✓ Available
Application Processing Time4-10 days (Account Registration +Wire Transfer + Issuing GIC Certificate)
Number of Branches in Canada7

On this list, SBI Canada is the least popular option among students. Not many students opt for GIC from them. This could be because of the very low number of SBI Canada branches in Canada.

Also, the general perception among students is that other banks have a more robust customer support team compared to SBI that can guide in applying for and opening a GIC account.

Even though ICICI Canada shares this same disadvantage with SBI Canada, where it shines through more is the perception of better service.

SBI too has a tie-up with Canada Post for completing the Identity Verification process of GIC accounts. Also, just like in the case of other banks, funds must be transferred to your GIC account in Canada as CAD only. That is a wire transfer from India to Canada by converting INR to CAD.


  1. YONO SBI Canada Bank app lets you transfer money from Canada to India easily.
  2. Through the app, you can also manage your SBI account in India.


  1. Low number of branches – only 7 across Canada
  2. People’s perception of their customer care is not that great.

5. Bank of Montreal

Bank of Montreal GIC Program
Interest RateNot Available
Investment Amount$20,635 CAD – $75,000 CAD
Program Fee$150 CAD
Initial Expenses Deposit To Your Student Account$4,635 CAD + Interest
Bi-monthly Deposit To Your Student Account$3,200 CAD + Interest, 5 payments every 2 months
Online Application✓ Available
Application Processing Time2-10 days (Account Registration + Issuing GIC Certificate)
Number of Branches in Canada800+

The Bank of Montreal is one of the oldest banks in Canada, starting its operations back in 1817. It is also one of the big 5 banks in Canada having a huge number of customers across Canada.

Bank of Montreal’s Student GIC Program has been designed to support international students, offering them a way to meet the financial requirements of their Canadian student visa, while also providing a secure method for managing their funds in Canada.


  • Can Invest up to $75,000 CAD – Indian students going to Canada can invest more than the base GIC amount of $20,635 CAD. This offers two advantages. The GIC payout will be correspondingly higher and students will receive more money to manage their expenses in Canada. The second advantage is that the extra money deposited acts as a safety net in case of any emergencies that might arise during their study period. It’s always good to have some extra money in hand for such situations.
  • 800+ Branches and 1400 ATMs – BMO’s branch and ATM network, which admittedly is only present in key areas of Canada, will be accessible to most students. Typically, students going from India to Canada mostly stay in major population centres where the likelihood of having a BMO branch or ATM is incredibly high. Thus students will be able to visit a nearby BMO branch or instantly withdraw money from a BMO ATM in case of an emergency.


  1. Branches and ATMs not found in remote locations – Areas like Nunavut which are remote and far from regular human settlements have no BMO branches and ATMs. This is not a big con which in any practical way affects Indian students looking to open a GIC account in Canada. So this can be safely overlooked.
  2. Bi-monthly deposits – This is the biggest difference BMO’s GIC programme has with that of other Canadian banks. Payouts to students are not done in a monthly way but in a bi-monthly manner. That is, the GIC amount of $3200 CAD + Interest, will be credited once every 2 months to the student for a period totalling 10 months. There will be one initial GIC payout of $4,365 CAD + Interest upon landing in Canada. So in total, there will be 6 times the student will be getting money from their BMO GIC account. The problem with this is that most students will be accustomed to budgeting for their monthly expenses and getting their GIC amount once in 2 months puts that into disarray. Another issue is that when having a relatively bigger sum of money in hand there is the possibility of overspending and the next payment will only come after 2 months. This payout scheme could therefore introduce an added layer of financial complexity to the already challenging experience of studying abroad.

6. Simplii Financial

Simplii International Student GIC Program
Interest Rate0.5%
Investment Amount$20,635 CAD – $50,000 CAD
Program Fee$200 CAD
Initial Expenses Deposit To Your Student Account$6,190.5 CAD + Interest
Monthly Deposit To Your Student Account$1,203.7 CAD + Interest per month for 12 months
Online Application✓ Available
Application Processing Time2-4 days (Account Registration + Issuing GIC Certificate)
Number of Branches in CanadaNo physical branches. Completely online.

Simplii Financial functions as the online banking division of CIBC. It is essentially owned and operated by CIBC but operates totally digitally. However, please do note that you cannot go to a CIBC branch for getting your Simplii GIC account activated. Despite CIBC being the owner of Simplii, they function as two distinct entities, and neither system has access to the other’s customer data.

The GIC Program offered by Simplii Financial is quite favoured among students from India, who can conveniently apply for it online and the process is also quite fast. Account opening just takes about 5 minutes.

Please Note: Simplii International Student GIC Program is not for students going to study in Quebec province.


  • Fully digital – Fully online. Account activation, applying for a debit/credit card, address change, and any other service/issue can be raised and resolved online.
  • Signup bonus – Sign up in Simplii via ExTravelMoney’s GIC account opening service and get a $50 sign-up bonus upon account activation.
  • 27/7 Customer support – Their customer service is present around the clock and can be accessed anytime. This can help in addressing any issues or concerns without time delays.


  1. Fully digital – This is also its con. There are no branches in case a student wanted to take up any issue that requires immediate attention. The issue will have to be raised online and it’ll join the online queue and proceed at its own pace. If there was offline branch support, then the customer can approach the branch and get a speedy resolution.
  2. Delays – The online process in theory is supposed to be fast but in practice has its share of delays. Some students are reporting delays in getting their GIC account activated and the subsequent issue of their debit/credit card. If you have money to handle your initial expenses after landing in Canada, you can tide over this potential delay in GIC account activation. However, if you don’t have a lot of ready money with you this could become an issue.

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To Summarize;

If you are low on time and need to immediately open a GIC account, then go for CIBC or Simplii. They offer a lot of student-friendly features. BMO can also be considered.

If you don’t have any time constraints and would like to put in a huge amount in your GIC account, go for Scotiabank.

While SBI & even ICICI is the bank of choice for most in India, when going to Canada, it’s probably not the best bet for Indian students.

Compare and select the bank that best suits your needs.

Also Read: The Complete Guide For First Time Indian Students In Canada


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