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Saving for retirement is an important financial goal for many Canadians. One of the best ways to do this is by opening a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) account. 

An RRSP is a tax-advantaged investment account that allows you to save for retirement while reducing your taxable income. In this article, we will compare the best RRSP accounts in Canada based on various features to help you choose the right one for your needs.

Best RRSP Savings Accounts

An RRSP savings account operates similar to a high-interest savings account (HISA). You’ll earn interest on the deposits made. This option caters to risk-averse investors who want a guaranteed return over stock market instability. Your deposits are generally CDIC-insured, protecting you in the event the bank becomes insolvent. 

AccountInterest RateFeesMinimum Deposit
WealthONE RRSP Savings4%$0No minimum
Steinbach Credit Union RRSP Variable Savings3.9% to 4.2%$0N/A
EQ Bank RRSP Savings 3%$0No minimum
Wealthone

WealthONE RRSP Savings Account

Wealth One Bank of Canada offers one of Canada’s best RRSP savings account rates at 4.00%. This high-interest RRSP savings account provides a great way to grow your retirement savings with no strings attached. 

You can easily open and manage the account online. Free transfers between WealthONE accounts allow you to move funds to maximize your RRSP savings growth seamlessly.

Key Features

  • Interest rate of 4.00%
  • No monthly fee or minimum balance required
  • Free unlimited transactions between WealthONE accounts
  • Eligible for CDIC insurance
  • Easy and secure online access
  • Can be opened online, by phone, email or in branch
Steinbach Credit Union

Steinbach Credit Union RRSP Variable Savings

Based in Manitoba, Steinback is one of Canada’s largest credit unions. They offer a competitive interest rate to high-rollers. Their tiered interest rate structure rewards higher balances, topping at 4.20% for deposits exceeding $250,000. 

While a high threshold, this variable rate savings is an excellent place to park RRSP funds as you determine the best long-term investment options.

Key Features

  • Interest paid annually on December 31
  • Interest rates starting at 3.90% to 4.20%
  • No monthly fees or minimum balance
  • Interest rates increase at $100K and $250K balance thresholds
  • 100% deposit guarantee, without limit by the Deposit Guarantee Corporation of Manitoba
eq bank

EQ Bank RRSP Savings Account

EQ Bank is known for lucrative online banking products. Their RRSP Savings Account is no exception, offering 3.00%, free of fees or minimum balance requirements. While other options offer a higher rate, the strength of EQ Bank’s product suite compensates. It’s still a competitive rate and a great option to centralize banking. 

It offers a straightforward path to augment your retirement savings with no hidden conditions. Opening and managing your account is streamlined and user-friendly, courtesy of EQ Bank’s online banking services.

Key Features

  • Interest rate of 3.00% calculated daily, paid monthly
  • No monthly fee or minimum balance
  • Contributions are CDIC insured
  • Easy to open and manage online
  • Can set up automatic contributions

Best RRSP GIC Accounts

An RRSP GIC lets you increase the interest rate by locking up your money for a set duration. You can choose the duration, which is defined by the term length. However, an extended term length will generally pay a higher interest rate. At the end of your term, you’ll receive the initial investment plus any interest earned. Early withdrawals are usually subject to penalties. 

AccountInterest RateTermMinimum Investment
EQ Bank4.45% to 5.50%3 months to 10 years$100
Hubert Happy Savings4.75% to 5.35%1 to 5 years$1,000
WealthONE4.70% to 5.20%1 to 5 years$1,000
eq bank

EQ Bank RRSP GICs

With EQ Bank’s top RRSP GIC rates, you can lock in an excellent, guaranteed return over three months to ten years, including a leading one-year rate of 5.50% and a two-year rate of 5.00%. 

Their online process makes it simple and fast to purchase RRSP GICs once you have an EQ Bank account. 

Key Features

  • Highest RRSP GIC rate offered of 5.50% for a one-year term
  • Terms available from three months to ten years
  • $100,000 maximum per GIC
  • $500,000 maximum total RRSP GIC purchases
  • Non-redeemable before maturity
  • RRSP GIC purchases are CDIC insured
Hubert-Financial

Hubert Happy Savings

Hubert Financial offers a competitive 5.35% interest rate on its one-year RRSP GIC. With only a $1,000 minimum deposit, it’s easy to start earning tax-advantaged interest. 

Hubert RRSP GICs are fully guaranteed and backed by the Deposit Guarantee Corporation of Manitoba. Setup is quick and easy online with no transaction fees. 

Key Features

  • One-year and two-year RRSP GIC rate of 5.35%
  • Terms available from one to five years
  • $1,000 minimum investment for RRSP GICs
  • Interest on one-year terms calculated daily and compounded quarterly
  • Interest on two to five-year terms calculated and compounded annually
  • No transaction fees
  • Easy online account opening and management

WealthONE

WealthONE offers very competitive RRSP GIC rates, including an excellent one-year rate of 5.20% and two-year rate of 5.00%. Their terms range from one to five years, providing flexibility. 

WealthONE makes it convenient to purchase RRSP GICs online once you have an account. Their competitive rates allow you to secure excellent, guaranteed returns on your RRSP investments.

Key Features

  • One-year RRSP GIC rate of 5.20%
  • Two-year RRSP GIC rate of 5.00%
  • Terms available from one to five years
  • $1,000 minimum investment
  • Non-redeemable before maturity
  • RRSP GIC purchases eligible for CDIC insurance

Best RRSP For ETFs

Opening an RRSP at a brokerage provides a pathway to more investments. A common strategy is using your RRSP to invest in ETFs. This is especially ideal for young and middle-aged investors who can handle stock market fluctuations. However, reducing risk exposure is better as you get closer to retirement. 

AccountFeesInvestment OptionsMinimum Investment
Qtrade$8.75 per trade, Free ETFsStocks, ETFs, Mutual FundsNo minimum
Questrade$4.96 to $9.95 per trade, Free ETFsStocks, ETFs, Options, Mutual Funds, Bonds, Precious Metals$1,000
Self-directed Wealthsimple TradeFree stock trading, 1.5% USD conversion fee on equitiesStocks, ETFs, BondsNo minimum
Qtrade

Qtrade RRSP

Qtrade offers an excellent self-directed RRSP account option for building a customized portfolio of ETFs, mutual funds and stocks tailored to your retirement goals. 

With Qtrade’s DIY RRSP, you have full control to select from a wide variety of low-commission assets on major North American exchanges.

Key Features

  • No minimum balance
  • $8.75 per trade, over 50 commission-free ETFs
  • Access to significant Canada/US stock exchanges
  • Advanced trading platform and mobile app
  • Real-time quotes, charting and market data
Questrade - online broker

Questrade

With Questrade’s self-directed RRSP, you get to hand-pick ETFs and stocks to match your investing approach. You can also benefit from a Questwealth portfolio through this institution. This is a managed, low-fee account. Otherwise, you can leverage Questrade’s powerful trading tools. 

Key Features

  • Low commissions starting at $4.96 to $9.95 per trade
  • $1,000 minimum investment
  • Wide selection of ETFs and stocks
  • Sophisticated trading platforms and mobile app
  • Real-time quotes, data and charting
  • Free online transfers from other institutions and will cover up to $150 in fees
wealthsimple crypto

Wealthsimple Trade

With commission-free trading, no account minimums, and a user-friendly mobile app, Wealthsimple Trade makes it easy to manage an RRSP actively. 

You can set up and fund an account in minutes to trade a vast selection of 9,000+ stocks and ETFs from top Canadian and U.S. exchanges. Unique features like Halal investing portfolios, built-in financial research tools, and instant price alerts further empower investors. 

Key Features

  • $0 commission trading
  • 1.5% USD/CAD conversion fee 
  • Intuitive mobile app
  • No account minimums
  • 9,000+ stocks and ETFs
  • Halal investing portfolios
  • Built-in financial research
  • Real-time price alerts
  • No transfer out fees

What Is An RRSP Savings Account

A Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) is a tax-advantaged savings account that helps Canadians prepare for retirement. Your RRSP contributions are deducted from your taxable income. This puts you in a lower tax bracket and reduces your tax burden. 

Meanwhile, your RRSP holdings grow free of tax until withdrawal. You’ll typically make withdrawals during retirement, which is then taxed as ordinary income.

An RRSP allows you to set aside some of your earnings to save for your retirement goals. The main benefits of an RRSP are the immediate tax savings on contributions and the tax-deferred growth over the long term.

How Does An RRSP Work?

  1. Restrictions: You contribute money to an RRSP account. You must ensure contributions are made before the deadline (60 days after December 31st) and within contribution limits. The CRA sets contribution limits each year based on your previous year’s earned income. If you are not a pension plan member for 2024,  the limit is 18% of earned income up to $31,560 in 2024.
  2. Contributions: Your contributions are deducted from your taxable income for the corresponding tax year, lowering your tax bill. You can claim tax deductions on contributions until the end of the year you turn 71.
  3. Investment Growth: Over time, investments grow tax-free inside the RRSP account. You can sell investments without incurring capital gains tax. Only withdrawals are taxed, meaning it’s a tax-deferred account. 
  4. Withdrawals: Upon retirement, you can either make a bulk withdrawal (not recommended), convert to an RRIF, or use the funds to purchase an annuity. Usually, retirees opt for an RRIF, which taxes annual distributions at your income tax rate. Early withdrawals from your RRSP are subject to penalties. 

Benefits Of Contributing To An RRSP

  • Tax-deductible contributions: You can deduct RRSP contributions from your taxable income, reducing your taxes owed. This immediate tax break incentivizes Canadians to save for retirement rather than spending money on taxes.
  • Tax-deferred growth: Investments in an RRSP grow tax-free. You won’t need to pay annual taxes on your investment gains, which hinders compound growth. 
  • Flexible access: Unlike pensions, you can access RRSP funds at any time. However, early withdrawals are subject to penalties and taxed as income (except for the Home Buyers’ Plan and Lifelong Learning Plan).
  • Variety of investment options: RRSPs can hold stocks, bonds, mutual funds, GICs, and other eligible investments. You can tailor your portfolio to your goals and risk tolerance.
  • Spousal RRSPs: Contributing to a spouse’s RRSP minimizes taxable household income.
  • RRSP rollover on death: Any unused RRSP contribution room can be rolled over to a spouse’s or dependent’s RRSP tax-free upon death.

Types Of RRSPs

Types of RRSP

1. Individual RRSPs

This is the standard RRSP account held in your name. You contribute to your own retirement savings. Individual RRSPs make up the majority of RRSPs in Canada.

2. Spousal RRSPs

With a spousal RRSP account, you contribute to an RRSP in your spouse or common-law partner’s name. This further reduces household taxable income by providing more contribution room for the higher-income partner. Spousal plans need to follow certain rules to get tax benefits.

3. Group RRSPs

These employer-sponsored plans allow you to contribute to an RRSP through payroll deductions. Your employer may match a percentage of your contributions. This makes saving for retirement easier through automated deposits. However, depending on the underlying provider, you could have limited investment options. 

What Do You Need To Open An RRSP

  • Earned income: You need earned income to contribute to an RRSP and get tax deductions. Earned income includes employment, net self-employment, and net rental income.
  • Social Insurance Number: Your SIN is needed to open and contribute to an RRSP account.
  • Personal identification: Institutions need ID such as your driver’s license to open the account.
  • Registered plan provider: You must open the account at a financial institution like a bank, brokerage, or credit union.

How Many RRSPs Can You Have?

You can have as many RRSP accounts as you want, but the total contributions to all plans cannot exceed your annual RRSP limit. 

Having all your RRSPs with one provider makes it easier to manage your retirement portfolio in one place and rebalance holdings across accounts. 

However, some investors open RRSPs at multiple institutions to take advantage of promotional interest rates on GICs or unique investment products. It’s not a taxable event to move funds between RRSP accounts. 

What Can You Hold Inside An RRSP

Investment CategoryExamples
Fixed IncomeGICs, Savings Accounts, Bonds
EquitiesStocks, ETFs, Mutual Funds
Alternative InvestmentsMortgages, precious metals

How To Choose An RRSP

  • Fees: Look for low management fees and no hidden costs. Fees eat into your returns.
  • Minimum Investments: Varying RRSP providers require minimum investments. They range from $0 at some providers to over $1,000 at others.
  • Investment choice: Select a provider offering a wide range of eligible RRSP investment products such as fixed income, equities and alternative investments. Opening an RRSP at an investment brokerage gives you the most options. 
  • Customer service: Find an institution with high-quality customer service to help you manage your account. 
  • Deposit insurance: Asset protection can vary, but most are CDIC insured. Review protection policies before opening an account.
  • Promotions: Take advantage of new account bonuses and temporary higher rates when opening your RRSP.

How To Maximize Your RRSP Contributions

  • Annual Contributions: The earlier you invest, the faster you’ll see returns. Try contributing to your RRSP as soon as possible rather than waiting until the deadline. This proactive approach enhances your investment’s growth potential.
  • Reinvest Tax Refunds: Allocate any tax refunds from RRSP contributions back into your RRSP. This strategy effectively increases your contributions without impacting your disposable income.
  • Lump Sum Contributions: Whenever you have additional funds, consider making lump sum contributions to your RRSP to boost your tax savings further.
  • Leverage Employer Plans: If your employer offers a group RRSP plan, participate and contribute directly from your payroll. This method simplifies the contribution process and may include additional benefits such as employer matching.
  • Spousal RRSPs: You can invest in a spousal RRSP to reduce household taxable income further. 
  • Utilize Carry Forward Room: If you haven’t reached your contribution limit in previous years, you can catch up by using this unused contribution room to increase your savings.
  • Strategic Withdrawals: Should you need to withdraw from your RRSP, plan to do so in years when your income is lower. Aim to re-contribute in future years when your income is higher, thus managing your taxable income more effectively.

The Bottom Line

This guide compares the top RRSP accounts for savings, GICs, and self-directed investing. Leaders like WealthOne, EQ Bank, Hubert, Questrade, and Wealthsimple Trade offer exceptional rates, returns, and low-cost trading. 

Choose an RRSP that fits your goals and maximize contributions for tax deductions now and growth later. Invest regularly in one of these accounts to build your retirement savings.

RRSP FAQs

How much can I invest in my RRSP?

You can contribute up to 18% of your earned income from the previous year. Up to a maximum of $31,560 for the 2024 tax year.

Should I invest in an RRSP or TFSA?

RRSP investments are generally better for those in peak earning years. It reduces your taxable income, and withdrawals will be taxed in retirement when you likely have a lower income.  Otherwise, TFSAs are great for those early in their career. While you can’t avoid income tax in the present, you can make tax-free withdrawals in the future.

When is the RRSP contribution deadline?

The deadline to make an RRSP contribution for the 2023 tax year is February 29, 2024.

When can you withdraw from an RRSP?

You can withdraw from your RRSP anytime, but you must pay tax on your withdrawal amount. This manifests as an immediate withholding penalty.  However, you’ll need to pay more if your marginal tax rate exceeds the withholding rate. Additionally, early withdrawals also prevent tax-deferred compound growth. 

What is the 4% RRSP rule? 

The 4% RRSP rule suggests you shouldn’t withdraw more than 4% of your RRSP savings each year in retirement. This is a guideline to ensure that your savings last for your lifetime.
Lucas Elliott avatar on Loans Canada
Lucas Elliott

Lucas, a Toronto native, holds an Honours BBA (Finance) degree obtained from Wilfrid Laurier University. His career has spanned venture capital and blockchain startups. Aside from writing at Loans Canada, Lucas is a Hardbacon contributor, and content specialist at Croton Content. Additionally, his passion for exploring the world has taken him to an impressive 28 countries across Europe, North America, Asia, and Central America.

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