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E-Mail Cash Transfers - Fast and Easy

anadians love their Debit cards. Although the use of Debit Cards is on the rise with our neighbours to the south, we lead the world in their use with a staggering 42 per cent of Canadians using Interac as their preferred payment method. As we become more comfortable using an electronic payment system with our merchants, why not use it to exchange money with friends and family? Maybe you were not aware of just how easy it is.

A little company called Paypal (now a division of eBay) had a vision that friends could pay each other for anything. The simplicity of their system has lead to a huge success with over 64 million users, but unless you are spending your money using their network it can take five to seven days to receive money into your normal bank account. The solution is Interac email money transfers.

Supported by all of the major financial institutions in Canada, email money transfers are easy for both the sender and the receiver. The recipient of the money needs only an email address and a Canadian bank account. The sender needs to be signed up for online banking with their financial institution. The great thing is that it is not necessary for both parties to bank at the same place.

As an example, let’s say you had a child in University that you wanted to send money to. You would login to your web banking as you would today. Most banks have a section on their site called ‘Transfers’ and within that section you should find ‘Email Money Transfers’ or something similar. At this point you would choose the email address of the recipient, the amount (currently must be between 10 and 1000 dollars), the account you wish the money to come from, and a security question. The security question is something of your own choosing and must be known to the receiver. This is the point of weakest security in this whole process, so make sure you choose a question and answer combination that is not easily guessed by a third party. Once everything is confirmed, your money is sent.

On the other side, an email is sent indicating there is some money. The amount, the sender, and an optional message are all contained in the message as well as a link to retrieve the money. When this link is clicked on, a choice of financial institutions is shown. Clicking on any of the six major banks will then bring you to the normal login screen for web banking at which point you can choose the account you wish to deposit money into. If you have not signed up for online banking yet, the service will allow you to deposit the money into your chequing account directly but it costs $2.50 and takes 3-5 business days. Depositing money with online banking has no fees associated with it and is instantaneous.

So how secure is it? This method of sending money is very secure. In addition to the usual security associated with your online banking you have this additional security challenge that should be known only between the two people conducting the transaction. As a receiver, receiving an email money transfer is actually safer than accepting a cheque or money order. As a sender, the service costs less than most money orders (it appears that most banks are charging a $1.50 network fee). If for some reason the money is not picked up you have the opportunity to cancel it and if not retrieved within thirty days the money will automatically go back into your bank account.

Interac provides a site that answers all of the questions about the service quite thoroughly at https://www.certapay.com/ca/oon/en/help/, and the Royal Bank as an excellent online tutorial. Even if you don’t use that bank, you can view it and it will give you a clearer idea of the process. It can be found at http://rbc.chalktraining.com/oec/olbtutorial/flash/personal/advanced/emt/intro.html.

Email money transfers are fast, secure and easy to use. In our busy lives, this is one of the more welcome conveniences. So when your cousin in Penticton needs a loan, just email it. Hopefully, getting paid back goes as smoothly.

Article Copyright ©2005 by Syd Bolton. Original publication date: 4/16/2005.
Reproduction requires permission, please e-mail for more information.

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