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It’s taken a while, but interest rates for conservative investors are starting to edge higher.

The upward creep of rates can be seen clearly in what banks, trust companies and credit unions are offering people willing to lock in money for a year with guaranteed investment certificates. There are several options that will give you returns that meet two important requirements. One, they beat the latest inflation rate. Two, they beat the returns on high-interest savings accounts. There should always be a premium for locking your money into an investment as opposed to keeping it in a liquid savings account.

Cannex.com shows us that as of midweek, the best widely available one-year GIC rate was 2.8 per cent from Oaken Financial. Inflation in April came in at 2.2 per cent, so this GIC keeps you modestly ahead of the cost of living. It also tops the 2.3-per-cent return available from EQ Bank’s high-interest savings account, which was a top non-promotional rate in the marketplace as of midweek.

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Just behind Oaken was the 2.76-per-cent one-year GIC from EQ, which recently added GICs to its product lineup.

After Oaken and EQ, the best rates for one-year GICs include 2.5 per cent from People’s Trust, Simplii Financial, the online bank run by Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce; Tangerine, the online banking arm of Bank of Nova Scotia; and, an independent outfit called Effort Trust. People’s Trust, Simplii, Tangerine and Effort, as with Oaken and EQ, are covered by Canada Deposit Insurance Corp.

Just behind this group are a bunch of online banks owned by Manitoba credit unions that offer one-year GIC rates in the 2.4-per-cent range. In this group are Achieva Financial, Hubert Financial and Outlook Financial. A few names to round out the list of inflation- and savings-beaters are Home Bank at 2.43 per and Equity Financial Trust at 2.41 per cent.

Longer-term GIC rates have edged a little bit higher as well, but the best value seems to be in the one-year rate as of early June. That’s the sweet spot for beating inflation and savings rates, and not having to lock up your money for long.

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