In times of crisis, the ability of governments to move money quickly and securely is vital to ensuring their citizens get the support they need. In addressing COVID-19, nearly every level of government took steps and provided funding for individuals and businesses. Whether the program under consideration involved employer payroll support, social assistance and unemployment payments, or direct aid to families, two primary methods for disbursing funding tend to be involved: cheque and direct deposit.
Cheques require minimal amount of verification between government and citizen, as an individual typically just needs to provide basic information and an address to receive the benefit. The downside is that cheques are costly, take time to print and send and may create additional work for those involved in handling and processing.
For many years, direct deposit has been the primary method of payment for governments and the primary method of receipt for Canadians. Direct deposits require an upfront registration and identity verification before payments are made directly into individual bank accounts. While generally considered seamless and secure, direct deposit can create challenges when relied on as the only channel for disbursement, especially if there is a significant influx of new individuals or businesses that need to receive payments in a short period of time.
Interac e-Transfer Bulk Disbursements offers a secure way to make thousands of payments through a single file upload, without the need for the recipient’s banking information. Built on the Interac e-Transfer platform, this solution has been utilized by a number of governments to distribute aid securely and quickly during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the Provinces of Alberta and Ontario. Additionally, organizations such as the Canadian Red Cross have also used the service, for example during the Fort McMurray wildfires, where $50 million was distributed through approximately 100,000 Interac e-Transfer transactions in a short period of time.
Interac e-Transfer is one of the safest and fastest ways to transfer money to anyone with an email or mobile phone number and a Canadian bank account. It is a platform already used and trusted across the country. In 2020, 763 million Interac e-Transfer transactions took place, with a value of more than $246 billion. The service is also entirely digital and contactless, in accordance with physical distancing protocols.
Interac and our subsidiary 2Keys Corporation can also bring significant experience in identity management and verification to bear to facilitate quick and effective registration and validation of citizens who are seeking new and expanded benefits.
With a 35-year history of providing Canadians with access to their money, Interac is ready and willing to assist governments across Canada in implementing solutions to identify and distribute entitlements quickly and efficiently both now and in the future.