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

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

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).

When it comes to choosing a GIC program, the 4 foremost options for Indian students are Scotiabank, CIBC, ICICI Bank and  SBI.

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 Program of Scotiabank, CIBC, ICICI Bank & SBI

1. Scotiabank

 

Scotiabank GIC Program
Interest Rate 0.1 – 1% ( Scotiabank GIC Interest Rates )
Investment Amount $10,000 CAD – $50,000 CAD
Program Fee $200 CAD
Initial Expenses Deposit To Your Student Account $2,000 CAD + Interest
Monthly Deposit To Your Student Account $667 CAD + Interest (for 12 Months if investment amount is $10,000 CAD)
Online Application ✓ Available
Application Processing Time 2-10 days (Account Registration + Issuing GIC Certificate)
Number of Branches in Canada 1,100+

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.

Pros

  • 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.

Cons

  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.

2. CIBC

 

CIBC GIC Program
Interest Rate 1.25% ( CIBC GIC Interest Rates )
Investment Amount $10,000 CAD – $20,000 CAD
Program Fee $150 CAD
Initial Expenses Deposit To Your Student Account $2,000 CAD – $12,000 (If investing maximum amount)
Monthly Deposit To Your Student Account $1,000 CAD + Interest (8 payments over 12 Months)
Online Application ✓ Available
Application Processing Time 2-4 days (Account Registration +Wire Transfer + Issuing GIC Certificate)
Number of Branches in Canada 1200+

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, travel benefits.

Pros

  1. $150 Processing Fee, which is 50 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

Cons

  1. When paying the GIC amount through CIBC’s platform, their exchange rate is higher than Scotiabank. So the $50 CAD difference in processing fee between Scotiabank and CIBC is mostly negated.
  2. CIBC pays out the GIC amount in 8 instalments of 1000 CAD spaced over 45 days each. While this is not a major con, for most people managing monthly payments is a commonly learned skill. Rent payments, utilities etc follow a monthly schedule which would be easy to manage if GIC payments are credited every month. GIC programs of other banks in this list follow 12 payments from GIC account over a period of 12 months.

3. ICICI Bank Canada

 

ICICI GIC Program
Interest Rate 1% ( ICICI GIC Interest Rates )
Investment Amount $10,000 CAD
Program Fee $150 CAD
Initial Expenses Deposit To Your Student Account $2,000 CAD
Monthly Deposit To Your Student Account $667 CAD + Interest (for 12 Months)
Online Application ✓ Available
Application Processing Time 2-5 days (Account Registration +Wire Transfer + Issuing GIC Certificate)
Number of Branches in Canada 7

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

Both are part of ICICI but independent of each other.

That aside, ICICI Bank Canada is a popular option among Indian students when it comes to looking for a GIC program.  This is because the 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.

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.

Pros

  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).
    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.

    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.

Cons

  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.
  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.

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4. SBI Canada

 

SBI GIC Program
Interest Rate 1.05% ( SBI GIC Interest Rates )
Investment Amount $10,000 CAD
Program Fee $150 CAD
Initial Expenses Deposit To Your Student Account $2,000 CAD
Monthly Deposit To Your Student Account $667 CAD + Interest (for 12 Months)
Online Application ✓ Available
Application Processing Time 4-10 days (Account Registration +Wire Transfer + Issuing GIC Certificate)
Number of Branches in Canada 7

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.

Pros

  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.

Cons

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

To Summarize;

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

If you are low on time and need to immediately open a GIC account, then go for CIBC or ICICI Bank Canada. They offer a lot of student-friendly features.

While SBI is the bank of choice for most in India, when going to Canada, revise your options 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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