2020 hasn’t been the year we anticipated. Many of us learned how to work remotely for the first time, we celebrated milestones virtually, and found innovative ways to stay connected to friends, family, and colleagues. At Interac, this year also brought a lot of change and new opportunities. We saw tremendous growth across our digital payment solutions, kept fraud levels low, and focused on building a resilient work culture to keep our networks running efficiently for Canadians. See below for some of the major highlights of 2020:
Transitioned All Employees to WFH
At the beginning of March, we transitioned all 450 + of our employees to work from home and put the safety and wellbeing of our staff at the forefront of every business decision to ensure they had the support they needed to keep our networks running smoothly. We took extensive measures to help our team balance their work and home lives, continued to keep them up-to-date on changing policies and procedures, and provided one-time work-from-home allowance to help them upgrade their workspace to promote comfort and workplace efficiency. We also had fun doing it! We hosted more than 10 virtual events including holiday festivities and our second annual Diversity Week benefitting United Way.
Prioritized Diversity & Inclusion
The Interac D&I Program recognizes eight dimensions of demographic and cognitive diversity, which are implemented through various initiatives designed to embrace diversity as a strength, promote fair treatment, equal access to opportunities, and organizational flexibility.
This year, we launched the Equity and Empowerment Initiative (EEI) that seeks to combat racism and other forms of discrimination, both within our walls and outwards in our communities. We hosted open forums for staff members to share their life experiences and launched ten workstreams based on the outcomes of those forums to make Interac a more equitable workplace. Interac also supported five organizations through this initiative including the Black Business and Professional Association, CEE Centre for Young Black Professionals, Pathways to Education, Visions of Science, and Tech Spark – all of which are committed to empowering Black professionals and providing them the resources they need to reach their full potential.
Found new ways to support small business and our community
Since the start of the pandemic in Canada, businesses across the country have shown their resilience by pivoting in response to government restrictions and changing consumer behaviours. To better serve their customers, many quickly shifted to digital payment tools such as Interac e-Transfer. We expanded our digital offerings for small businesses, supported our small business partners, and focused our marketing efforts on encouraging Canadians to shop local.
In addition to expanding our digital offerings and campaigning, we also pivoted our internal efforts to support small businesses throughout the pandemic. We launched a small business catalogue for our Employee Appreciation Week and Holiday celebrations this year, investing more than $65,000 in local small businesses.
Smashed digital transaction records and protected Canadians against fraud
The COVID-19 pandemic had an immediate impact on consumer behaviour in Canada. Bulk buying ensued almost immediately before spending dipped due to the closure of non-essential businesses. Canadians transitioned to digital payment options, such as the Interac e-Transfer service. Since mid-March we’ve seen a 69 per cent increase in Canadians using the Interac e-Transfer platform at least twice a month, up from 42 per cent pre-pandemic. Over 70 million transactions took place in October 2020 alone.
Interac also formed 27 new partnerships with companies such as Dollarama to expand our Interac In-App/In-Browser offerings so more Canadians can choose to pay with their own money. More time at home and in-store shopping restrictions have forced Canadians to change habits almost overnight —more than half of Canadians (53 per cent) report using digital payments such as Interac In-App/In-Browser more frequently during the pandemic, and many said they’ll continue to do so in future.
Even with the enormous growth of digital transactions this year, we’ve worked tirelessly to keep our networks safe and secure for all Canadians. In fact, we had our lowest rates of fraud since 2013.
Recognized as a leader in trust and leadership in 2020
Trust is a key priority for our business, one we hold at the core of everything we do. That’s one of the reasons we’re chosen 18 million times a day to pay and move money. In 2020, Interac Corp. was recognized as one of the most trusted brands in Canada by The Gustavson Brand Trust Index (GBTI), presented by the Peter B. Gustavson School of Business at the University of Victoria. Interac tied for the #1 most trusted financial services brand and this was the sixth consecutive year we topped the list.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, GBTI conducted a follow-up study of Canadian consumers to evaluate whether or not the level of trust they had with brands changed during the pandemic. In the follow-up report, Interac was rated the 7th most trusted brand in Canada.
Debbie Gamble, Chief Officer, Innovation Labs & New Ventures was recognized by the Report on Business Best Executive Awards as an exceptional leader in Canadian technology. Debbie was one of 50 business leaders recognized in this inaugural list.
Focused on the future
The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us a lot about consumer behaviour and the future of digital payments in Canada. Throughout 2020, we saw an accelerated shift to digital payment options and we don’t anticipate this transition slowing down. In 2021, and the years ahead, we’re excited to continue to innovate for the future and find new ways to make it easier for Canadians to move their money safely and securely.
Want to learn more about Canadian consumer trends in 2020? Click here.