- Interac e-Transfer
Interac e-Transfer (previously known as Interac Email Money Transfer) is a funds transfer service between personal and business accounts at participating Canadian financial institutions. The provider of this service is CertaPay, a division of Acxsys Corporation.
Since 2003, personal deposit account holders at one of the Big Five banks in Canada could send Interac e-Transfers:
- Bank of Montreal
- Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce
- Royal Bank of Canada
- Toronto-Dominion Bank
Small business customers who bank online at participating institutions can also send e-Transfer. Any personal account holder in Canada can receive funds.
How it works
An Email Money Transfer resembles an e-check in many respects. The money is not actually transferred by e-mail. Only the instructions to retrieve the funds are.
- The sender opens an online banking session and chooses the recipient, the amount to send, as well as a security question and answer. The funds are debited instantly, usually for a surcharge.
- An e-mail or text message is then sent to the recipient, with instructions on how to retrieve the funds and answer the question, via a secure website.
- If the recipient is subscribed to online banking at one of the participating institutions, the funds are deposited instantly at no extra charge.
- If the recipient's deposit account is not at one of the participating institutions or not subscribed to online banking at all, the funds are deposited within three to five business days, and a surcharge (currently $4.00) is deducted from the amount received.
Benefits and disadvantages
Unlike a cheque, the funds from an e-Transfer are not frozen in the recipient's account. An e-Transfer cannot bounce, as the funds are guaranteed, having been debited from the sender's account immediately upon initiating the transfer. As long as both sender and recipient bank at participating institutions, the funds are sent and received instantly.
However, like any online banking mode of payment, e-Transfers are vulnerable to phishing. Many Canadians in areas where the Big Five banks have little presence or who do not bank online are penalized by a surcharge when receiving e-Transfers. Unlike a real giro, an e-Transfer requires intervention from the recipient for every single transaction. An e-Transfer goes stale much faster than a cheque (after 30 days, the e-Transfer is automatically cancelled and the sender is notified by e-mail to retrieve the funds.) 
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