Our number one priority has always been keeping our platforms, products and services running smoothly for Canadians – especially when they need it most. This has never been more critical than during the uncertain times brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing evolution of today’s New Normal.
Canadians rely on Interac every day to quickly and safely pay for their groceries, rent and other essential needs. Throughout the pandemic and beyond, we’ve been committed to keeping our technology running smoothly so Canadians and Canadian businesses can continue to transact as normal.
Keeping Canadians’ Money Safe
One of the most important things that we do every day – the work that is hidden behind each and every transaction – is fraud and identity theft detection, prevention and monitoring. We work with partners across the payment ecosystem, including financial institutions and law enforcement, to keep Canadians’ money safe and secure from cybersecurity issues like email and phishing scams.
Fraudsters are notoriously opportunistic, and scams have been particularly rampant, since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. From malicious links capitalizing on pandemic-related search terms to donation requests for phony charities and relief efforts, Canadians need to guard their personal and financial information. It’s crucial to be cyber aware at this time, and we’re committed to arming Canadians with the right information. We’re also working with the industry to actively remove phishing sites.
Helping Canadians Transact
We understand that how Canadians transact today is almost as important as where they transact. Contactless spending, for example, hit record highs in mid-March coinciding with COVID-19 bulk buying behaviours. With contactless payments top-of-mind for both consumers and businesses, we’ve increased single card-based transaction limits to $250. As we spend more time at home working in remote and hybrid ways, our shopping habits are migrating online. Online delivery of food and goods enable social distancing. Interac Debit e-Commerce payments through digital wallets while still relatively new, has seen double-digit growth due to demand for merchants that offer in-app food delivery services. We’re also working with merchants and financial institutions to bring Interac Debit payments through digital wallets to more Canadians so they can order in or order ahead using money directly from their bank account.
Helping Canadians Move Funds
Canadians are increasingly looking for digital alternatives in situations where they traditionally use cash or cheques, allowing secure and near real-time access to money while still practicing physical distancing. Our analysis shows Canadians are using Interac e-Transfer in new ways, and many for the first time. Since the onset of rigorous physical distancing regulations associated with COVID-19, the platform saw a 62 per cent increase in first-time Interac e-Transfer users compared to the same time as last year. April 2020 was also the first time the number of Interac e-Transfer transactions passed 60MM sends in a month. And in April 2022, Canadians reached a money movement milestone — with Interac e-Transfer use surpassing more than one billion transactions over a 12-month period.
Another big opportunity for Interac to help during the pandemic (and beyond) has been through Interac e-Transfer Bulk Disbursements. This product allows businesses to send many payments through a single file upload.
Governments were able to use this to distribute emergency aid relief quickly and securely to those who needed funds fast. In 2016, Interac e-Transfer Bulk Disbursements was used by the Canadian Red Cross to rapidly transfer relief funds to those affected by the Fort McMurray wildfires. Conversations are ongoing with the industry on how we can deploy Interac e-Transfer Bulk during this unprecedented time.
Helping Merchants Keep Costs Down
From the gig economy entrepreneur to the small business owner to the large omnichannel retailer, Canadian businesses rely on Interac because our payment and money movement options are low-cost, secure, and based on good funds.
In these uncertain times, we remain committed to maintaining low-cost solutions for Canadian businesses – and staying focused on providing our customers with convenient ways to accept payments or move their money anytime, anywhere.