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There’s new competition to offer a U.S.-dollar option to Canadians who want to safely park money and earn a modest return.

Make that very modest. The new U.S.-dollar guaranteed investment certificates available from Equitable Bank and sold through advisers pay 0.6 per cent for a one-year term, 0.75 per cent for two years, 0.8 per cent for three years, 0.9 per cent for four years and 1.2 per cent for five years. Terms of six through 10 years are also available, with rates as high as 1.3 per cent. It’s hard to see why anyone would lock in money for 10 years at 1.3 per cent, but never mind that.

As of Dec. 7, showed one-year U.S.-dollar GICs from other issuers at rates of 0.1 to 0.35 per cent, and five-year deposits at 0.5 per cent to 1.5 per cent.

The safety profile for U.S.-dollar deposits improved at the end of April, when Canada Deposit Insurance Corp. coverage was extended to eligible deposits in foreign currencies, including U.S. dollars. At the same time, coverage was extended to deposits with terms greater than five years. Equitable Bank is a member of CDIC.

Those U.S.-dollar GIC rates compare with returns in the area of 0.15 to 0.25 per cent for a more liquid alternative, U.S.-dollar high interest savings accounts that trade like mutual funds. These accounts are designed to be used within your investment account as a parking spot for cash.

Here’s another option for safe parking of cash. Equitable Bank’s online banking division, EQ Bank, now offers a high interest savings account that can be held in a tax-free savings account or a registered retirement savings plan. To generate some action for these TFSA and RRSP offerings, EQ is offering a rate of 2.3 cent.

If you’re familiar with savings accounts today, you’ll know these are (a) very competitive rates and (b) unlikely to last long. If you transfer money in, don’t say you weren’t warned that a cut was inevitable at some point in the months ahead.

EQ paid 1.5 per cent on its regular high interest savings account as of Dec. 7, compared with 1.8 per cent for Canadian Tire Bank and 1.55 per cent for Bridgewater Bank and Motive Financial. Most other online banks are wedged into the 1- to 1.3-per-cent range.

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