Interac Email Money Transfer (EMT)
is a funds transfer
service between personal accounts at participating Canadian financial institutions
. The provider of this service is CertaPay, a division of Acxsys
As of August 2006, only personal deposit account
holders at one of the Big Five banks
can send EMTs. However, any personal account holder in Canada can receive funds (see below).
How it works
An Email Money Transfer resembles in many aspects to an e-check
. 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 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 $2.50) is deducted from the amount received.
Benefits and disadvantages
Unlike a cheque
, the funds from an EMT are not frozen. An EMT cannot bounce
, as the funds are guaranteed. As long as both sender and recipient bank at one of the participating institutions, the funds are sent and received instantly.
However, like any online banking mode of payment, EMTs are vulnerable to phishing. Many Canadians in areas where the Big Five banks don't have much presence or who don't bank online are penalized by a surcharge when receiving EMTs. Unlike a real giro, an EMT requires intervention from the recipient for every single transaction. An EMT goes stale much faster than a cheque (after 30 days, the EMT is automatically cancelled and the sender is notified by e-mail to retrieve the funds.).