Manulife GIC Review

Earn competitive interest rates on short- and long-term investments with a Manulife GIC without losing your principal.

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These investments can be held in registered or non-registered accounts, and you’ll get automatic insurance on any deposit up to $100,000. Just be aware that the terms for early redemption aren’t very flexible, and you’ll need a high minimum investment to get started.

What is a Manulife GIC and why should I consider one?

A Manulife Guaranteed Investment Certificate (or GIC for short) is a low-risk savings plan that protects your principal and offers a fixed return on interest. You can lock your money into a long-term non-redeemable GIC for the highest interest rates or invest in a short-term cashable GIC if you want to access your funds in the near future.

The GICs on offer from Manulife only come with fixed interest rates, so you won’t be able to invest in a market-linked product. That said, the fixed rates on offer are on par or higher than the rates provided by the “Big Five” Canadian banks.

Types of Manulife GICs

Manulife offers a more limited range of GICs than other banks. You can hold most of its products in registered or non-registered accounts, although limitations may apply.

Short-term GICs

Manulife offers short-term GICs (lasting less than one year) that are only partially cashable. This means you can redeem the money you have invested whenever you need. But unlike other big banks, Manulife charges a small fee for early redemption and you’ll also need to forfeit a part of your interest for taking your money out early.

Be aware that Manulife’s short-term GICs can also be more limiting than other banks because they require a minimum investment of $25,000. That said, they offer a decent return on interest to compensate. For this reason, these investments can be a suitable option if you want to maximize your savings on a large amount of money without needing to lock in your funds over the long term.

Long-term GICs

Manulife has a range of long-term non-redeemable investments that you can choose from. These GICs have terms between one and five years and offer higher interest rates than you might get with similar products from other big banks. That said, you’ll need to have at least $2,500 to invest and you won’t be able to access your funds before your investments mature.

These GICs can be a good fit if you have spare cash kicking around that you know you won’t need to access for a couple of years. But be sure to avoid them if you might need to take your funds out early.

Why should I invest in a Manulife GIC?

  • Low-risk product. Manulife’s GICs offer a guaranteed return of your principal along with high interest rates.
  • High interest rates. You can earn around 2.05% interest on long-term investments and approximately 1.50% on short-term alternatives.
  • Many different terms. Manulife offers terms lasting between 30 days and 5 years so you can invest your money for the amount of time that suits you best.
  • Range of payment schedules. You can lock in monthly, semi-annual or annual interest payments (but you’ll get a lower interest rate for more frequent payouts).
  • Deposits are insured. Any money you put into your GIC (up to $100,000) is insured through the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) for terms under 5 years.
  • Best rate at renewal. You can lock in a favourable rate for renewal up to 30 days before your long-term GIC rolls over (which protects you if interest rates go down).
  • Easy access to customer service. Manulife has a solid reputation for customer service and can answer any questions you have online or over the phone.

What should I look out for?

  • High minimum investment. You’ll need to invest a minimum of $2,500 for long-term investments. Short-term investments will require a deposit of at least $25,000.
  • Low return on short-term GICs. Short-term GICs offer a lower return, with rates sitting below the 1.5% mark.
  • No early redemption of long-term GICs. You won’t be able to cash in on Manulife’s non-redeemable GICs before they mature under any circumstances (except for death).
  • Fee for redeeming short-term GICs. You’ll need to pay a small fee for early redemption, in addition to losing a portion of any interest you earn.
  • Unable to cope with inflation. Long-term fixed-rate GICs may not be able to keep up with the pace of inflation.
  • Lower interest rates for monthly payments. You’ll lose money if you schedule your interest payments monthly instead of annually.
  • Interest subject to taxation. Unless you invest in a registered GIC (like an RESP or RRSP), you’ll pay taxes on any interest you make.
  • No variable rates on offer. Manulife doesn’t offer any market-linked products, so you won’t have the potential to increase your earnings if the stock market performs well.

How to apply for a Manulife GIC

If you think that a Manulife GIC is the right fit for you, it only takes a couple of minutes to apply online. Before you begin your application, you should make sure you meet the eligibility requirements and have all relevant documents on hand.

  • Eligibility requirements
  • To apply for a Manulife GIC, you will need to meet the following criteria:
  • Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident who is at least 18 years old (19 in some provinces)
  • Be willing to invest a minimum of $2,500 for long-term GICs and $25,000 for short-term GICs.
  • You will also need to provide the following documents and information:
  • Your name, residential status and contact information
  • Your social insurance number and date of birth
  • Your email address and phone number

How can I buy a Manulife GIC?

You can easily invest in a GIC directly with Manulife by applying online. You can also consult the table above to compare rates and terms on offer for popular GICs. If you find a product you like, you can click through to Manulife’s website to register. Just remember that all of Manulife’s GICs require a minimum investment of $2,500 (with a $25,000 minimum for short-term products).

How does Manulife compare to other banks?

Manulife Bank is a major financial institution with a decent reputation. It doesn’t have any physical branches in Canada, so you can’t do your banking in person. That said, customers can access their accounts using mobile or telephone banking.

Manulife ratings, reviews and complaints

Manulife Bank has very few ratings on trusted review sites like Trustpilot or NerdWallet. Customers who have left feedback seem to appreciate the ease of mobile banking and the high interest rates. But many voice concerns over technical issues, long response times and inadequate customer service.

Bottom line

Manulife is a suitable option for Canadian investors with a minimum of $2,500 to invest. Interest rates are on par with or higher than most “Big Five” Canadian banks, but terms for early redemption are strict. Learn more about the products listed in this post by speaking to a Manulife advisor or by clicking through to their website on the table above.

Frequently asked questions about Manulife GICs

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